There are gadgets to help you get the most from your kitchen. Then there are these gadgets, that jump on the the cooking bandwagon hard enough to break its axles.
Just The Facts
- Home entertaining is on the increase, due to the poor state of the economy and lack of disposable income.
- Manufacturers want your cash now more than ever
- No one, not even your worst enemy, should have to watch infomercials for research.
Why Buy Gadgets?
As Giada de Laurentiis has shown, food and sex are two sides of the same coin and, for better or for worse, competence in the kitchen is related to competence in the bedroom. And, like the little blue pills and the various toys for the bedroom, gadgets help you get the most from your kitchen time.
And may help you get laid ...
The conmanest way to make a stupid kitchen gadget is to apply the miracle of electronics to items that do not really need it. Then charge a fortune for the privlege of owning yet another dust gatherer.
Marinaded meat tastes great. But the traditional technique, using a mixing bowl (free) or a ziploc bag (4 cents), leaves insufficient scope for profit. For only $179.95, you can tumble your meat in the spice mix, and apply a nice bit of vacuum to dry and toughen the meat fibers to the point of inedibility.
A kitchen essential for folk who demand a mini assembly line of donuts in the privacy of their own home. Simply load it with batter and switch on for a steady stream of mini doughnuts. At $130 each, these are obviously much more sensible than a pan and doughnut mould ($15 - total). Sadly, the model shown does not include the mini conveyor to deliver the finished doughnuts straight to your waiting mouth.
Although not hugely expensive, at $19.99, the concept of a multi egg steamer fails when compared to the alternative - a pan of boiling water and a watch. Are we the only ones who's tat meter start twitching at the phrase "As seen on TV" ?
Ergonomically designed for the truly goldfish-brained, this $59.95 state of the art hunk of electronics will let you know when your meat is ready. As if all the men at a barbecue are not already standing around the coals swilling beer and poking the steaks.
This $59.99 piece of complete tat is designed for those cooks with poor hand / eye co-ordination. Wave at it, you get a sheet of paper towel. Wave again, you get another. For Christ's sake - don't burn yourself in range of this!
Concept gadgets are tools for a specific purpose, that you may actually use once before they act as drawer padding. Although some of them are sensible, like lobster picks, many of them are just plain farcical replacements for the use of basic kitchen implements.
The Pizza Boss
No electrons? Not cool!
Sad indeed is the man whole wants one of these. A miniature, hand powered circular saw for cutting pizza. At a mere 9.99 GBP, you can act out your fantasies of being competent at something and insult your wife's cooking!
$13.00 for a piece of plastic with two bits of steel. That removes the pit from a fruit you peel and cut up anyway? Sounds like a bargain, but do not try using the hole for anything else - if you know what we mean.
We were going to include the egg slicer in here, but as gadgets go that is stupid but fairly harmless. And identical to this mozzarella slicer. Except this is $25.
You know, so you don't accidentally stab anybody.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? It's like they want us to cook, but are scared of us actually hurting ourselves! Seriously though - this is an attempt to cash in on the British Government's obsession with juvenile knife crime. We figure maybe checking the age of the buyer might be better.
It chops garlic. By being rolled around on the counter. "Great!" you cry, "no more garlic smelling fingers!" Unfortunately, you still need to peel the garlic cloves first. $14.95 for another completely useless bit of kitchenalia! (We want one - they look like fun)
This is sold, for $15.00, as an ideal fitting for the home bar. With respect, we would say that if you need an entire lemon wedged for an evening's drinking, this item, by keeping you away from knives, is more of a public service than a stupid gadget.
Combining the utility of a food processor with all the joyous associations of a lawnmower that will not start, this pathetic $29.95 tool fails on two levels. It fails in its intent to make life easier - use the damned kitchen knife, the time you lose in chopping you gain again in cleaning. It fails in it's attempt to be green - it may be a processor that uses no electricity, but it is made of fossil fuels and requires a shitload of soap to clean. As you may be able to tell - this one is a personal grudge!
Gadgets That Actually Work
There are gadgets which may initially appear foolish, but, on first use, become indispensable in the kitchen.
You make a roast. The gunge in the pan is supposed to become gravy, but the joint you bought was a little on the fatty side. The grease separator is a worthwhile tool for getting the flavor of the roast without the fat. To make it even more effective, wash out the roasting tin with ice cold wine or water. $14.95 or less for a low fat meat diet!
Absolutely indispensible for grinding spices and making garam masala. Marble is expensive, yes, but it does not hold the flavor of the previous spices, and will last for a couple of generations. Clean-up is a snap - rinse under running warm water, with no soap.
Called a "mouli" in France, these are superb for any cooked (or roasted) tomato based dish, as they puree and strain at the same time. While we would not recommend the $119.95 this particular model costs, you can pick up a plastic and metal version for about $10.
Pretty much every foodie has a go at making pasta. And fails miserably if they attempt the rolling pin method. A pasta machine compresses the pasta far more than is possible with a rolling pin - meaning your pasta will not melt in the boiling water. Again - shop around, especially at flea markets - you'll find one dirt cheap.