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Are you a kitchen-gadget person?

mixerI am not a gadget person. I am not a gadget person.

You’ve heard the comments about kitchen-gadget people — comments likening them to hoarders or something just as unsavory. I’ve never thought of myself as a gadget person. Sure, I had a garlic press back in college when I was first channeling my inner Martha Stewart. I also once had a bread machine that made delicious yeast rolls. But, those are long gone.

As I thumb through kitchen catalogs, I have to laugh at all the gadgets: an egg slicer that slices a boiled egg into five pieces with one fell swoop, a “pancake pen” for puddling batter, or what about the meatball grill basket with spaces to hold individual meatballs? Oh, and don’t forget the jalapeño-pepper roaster. Who buys these things? Can’t you just envision the reality show about people who collect the most unusual kitchen gadgets?

Yet, recently, as I opened one of my kitchen cabinets, I did a double-take at the avalanche of non-gadgets that greeted me. Okay, I admit I have a blow-torch for crème brûlée. I have a panini maker, food dehydrator and a sausage stuffer. But, I really use these items. I really use the food processor, stand mixer and sous vide machine — my three favorites.

I once heard someone say that they did not have gadgets, they had tools. I like that.

I am not a gadget person. I prefer to think of myself as a kitchen-appliance person. Much better ring to that.

Are you a gadget person? What are your favorites? What are the most ridiculous items you’ve seen (or have!)?

Jenny-Turknett-Tagline–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

33 comments Add your comment

www.TheFoodList.com

April 12th, 2011
6:14 am

What sausage stuffer would you reccomend? Sous Vide machine? Sealer?

We find the two most essential Tools a cook needs is a good saut

www.TheFoodList.com

April 12th, 2011
6:16 am

…and we were saying… Saute pan, and Chef’s knife. You can prepare almost anything with these two items and standard kitchen appliances and accessories.

Rodney

April 12th, 2011
7:39 am

Top two? A 10 year old pair of tongs and a silicone spatula that I used for d*mn near everything.

A close third would be a hand-held mandoline – I can’t count the different things I slice with it on a weekly basis.

Reds

April 12th, 2011
8:13 am

Hi, I’m Stacey, and I’m a gadget-aholic. It’s true. I love them. But, like Alton Brown, I am not a fan of unitaskers. The Lettuce knife, the avocado slicer, etc I have, but only because my grandmother thinks I NEED them. And I’ll admit, I use them. But it pisses me off to see them in my drawer. -.- When it comes down to it, give me a few good knifes, my cuisiart food processor, a microplane, a good set of bowls and a great cutting board, and I am fine. But… I love gadgets. :)

Maggie

April 12th, 2011
8:20 am

What the heck is a sous vide machine??? My favorites (that I take on vacation to beach or mountains) are – and I think these are definitely tools – the microplane, Mario Batali’s 5 piece measuring prep bowl set, a pizza stone (an accompanying pizza peel), and a small wisk (for getting in those nooks and crannies of pans).

Lizzy

April 12th, 2011
9:07 am

Gadgets, appliances, accessories = space wasters for me. The number one item: 3 cast iron skillets (constantly in use) that stay on the stove top – too heavy to put away and lug them back out! Then, various sized cutting boards and strainers, knives – I have to confess a cheap run of the mill hand mixer to prepare cakes from scratch – yes I’m southern!

Mike

April 12th, 2011
9:39 am

Most kitchen gadgets you see advertised on TV are just as usefull as most exercise equipment you see advertised on the same TV. People who buy them fall in love with all they can do as a result of the infomercial, buy them, use them for a week or 2, and then have to find a place to put them away. A good set of knives and cutting boards are all I need. I use a citrus zester frequently but that’s about it.

M. Johnson

April 12th, 2011
10:37 am

I agree with Lizzy. LOVE my cast-iron skillet. It is the best kitchen tool. I also love the microplane for grating lemon zest or cheese, followed by my kitchen knife.

Most useless gadgets I’ve seen advertised?
1. Those automated peelers. It’s not THAT hard to peel a vegetable.
2. Those stacked devices that — in theory — cook multiple items at once.

SalMonela

April 12th, 2011
1:02 pm

Hanging pot rack. Allowed me to clear out the pots and pans from under the counter – to make room for more appliances!

Now if only they’d market a hanging appliance rack…

[...] post:  Are you a kitchen-gadget person? | Food and More with John Kessler Share & [...]

Jimmyz

April 12th, 2011
2:04 pm

Everything can go except for my cast iron skillet (handed down from my grandma) and my dutch oven. I do, however, like my handy dandy infrared thermometer (twenty bucks at an auto parts store). Best think in the world to know when that skillet really IS hot enough for the steak to start cooking.

Jenny Turknett

April 12th, 2011
2:09 pm

Yes! The cast-iron skillet is something we should all have. Jimmyz, I have my grandmother’s skillets also. What a treasure.

SalMonela, I think I need that hanging appliance rack, too!

Becky ((first one)

April 12th, 2011
2:42 pm

@Lizzy..I have about 10 cast iron skillets and my husband had to reinforce the bottom of my kitchen cabinets to hold them..I have three that I will only cook cornbread in..Yeah, I know..One is bigger for family dinners, one is small for just 2 people and one is square..I don’t really have that many gadgets to speak off, but I do like bowls..Those are my weakness..

Michigander

April 12th, 2011
2:44 pm

I agree with the word “tools.” I have two torches for meringue and creme brulee, two ice cream makers and probably a dozen whisks, because, well, they all do different things. Same thing with Microplanes. One of my favorite tools is a cherry pitter, which I use all throughout July for pies. I can’t live without my Kitchenaid and Cuisinart food processor or my hand-crank pasta roller.

All that other stuff.. choppers, egg slicers and oil separators, what I consider to be pampered chef stuff, don’t make much sense to me.

Kirk

April 12th, 2011
8:49 pm

I’m with Rodney on the Tongs – I don’t understand kitchens without tongs. And I love my Food Processors – I have a full size and 2 minis, and they all get work. But so many people don’t seem to appreciate a good Chef’s knife (I’m partial to Santokus) – I know several people who cook regularly (and are decent cooks) who have horrible knives. Why?!?
A good chefs knife and good knife skills replace many “gadgets.”

Peaches

April 13th, 2011
6:53 am

I have and use cast iron: skillets ranging in size from 6″ to about 18″ in diameter (the big one sees much use outdoors preparing blackened fish/chicken/steak), a couple of hoecake bakers, Dutch oven, and a griddle. Love my cast iron. It is perfectly seasoned and practically non-stick. My overall favorite gadget is a flexible plastic bowl scraper that I’ve used for nearly 30 years.

MaryA

April 13th, 2011
7:15 am

I think a sous vide machine is more useful. I use my SousVide Magic to turn a rice cooker into a sous vide bath. Last week I used it to make yugurt too.

Organizedmomof2

April 13th, 2011
8:58 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE my Pampered Chef apple corer/slicer and sandwich cut-and-seal. When you have kids these make lunches super easy!

Rick

April 13th, 2011
9:59 am

YES! My Lodge cast iron dutch oven and cast iron skillet. The only 2 kitchen items I truly love.

Lori

April 13th, 2011
10:09 am

I have a ton of gadgets/appliances and I don’t use any of them!!! Just about everything in my lower cabinets were gifts from various aunts/uncles. The only thing I do use was the gift from my husband, which is the stand mixer. He bought that for me because he loves cheesecake and it’s a pain to make with a hand mixer. I’m thinking of having a yard sale for all the other crap. Some items I have that I never use are: bread machine, milk shake mixer, ice cream maker, wok, fondue set, rice cooker, pop corn maker, veggie slicer, food processor….and the list goes on. I’ve got them all. I didn’t buy them, I don’t use them, and I don’t want them anymore!!!

Mr. Ed

April 13th, 2011
10:16 am

The photo above of the KitchenAid makes me sigh. During the Christmas Holidays last year, I parked myself on the couch and watched the Food Network. Most of the shows revolved around Holiday baking. I made the naive assumption that with the proper tools, I also could bake these handsome home treats with the same easy breezy effort as my Food Network host illustrate. After a few woeful mishaps, I now own a 40lbs KitchenAid Boat anchor.

Mr. Ed

April 13th, 2011
10:17 am

my bad..illustrated.

Allen

April 13th, 2011
10:44 am

I absolutely love my antique lemon smasher. Next is my chopper and cutting board.

GadgetGeek

April 13th, 2011
10:51 am

My new gadget is a Thermapen thermometer, I’m done with those slow-reading, inaccurate ones. now I have the real deal. Besides that, a real good kitchen knife, several pairs of tongs, a couple board scrapers (to move things from the cutting board to the pan), a timer and I’m set.

Eddie

April 13th, 2011
12:27 pm

Every kitchen should have the following essential items: First, a good, sharp “chefs” knife. After that – a spatula, tongs, a large spoon, a strainer, a microplane, a masher, a vegetable peeler, a can opener, measuring spoons and cups, whisks (different sizes), silicone baking mat, a grater, a bread knife and a kitchen shear. With these, you don’t need anything else. Bon Appetit’.

Eddie

April 13th, 2011
12:35 pm

I have 3 kitchen projects that I am working on. Anyone out there know where I can find someone to make a model for me or an inventor? Thanx.

Melissa

April 13th, 2011
1:21 pm

My pampered chef ground beef thing, not sure what the name actually is. But it’s great! It breaks up ground beef easily, even when not thawed completely. And of course my cast iron skillets collapsible colander.

Melissa

April 13th, 2011
1:26 pm

that should be skillets AND collapsible colander

lwa

April 13th, 2011
1:41 pm

1. Pampered chef round pizza stone. I use it for breads, pizza, french fries, chicken nuggets. I LOVE IT.

2. My kitchen aid mixer. I never thought I would spend that much money on kitchen appliance but it is the best!!!

3. An old knife my mother had. A piece of iron with some almost rotten wood as the handle. Yea, I know the wood isn’t the good part. I dip it in bleach to kill the germs. I would like to get the handle replaced. That knife will cut through anything…….

4. My mother’s REAL cast iron skillets. They dont’ make them like that anymore. Best fried chicken.

Lori

April 13th, 2011
2:04 pm

Oh, and though I don’t use it very often, I do kind of like my 1950’s veg-o-matic for chopping potatoes for french fries. It makes perfect fries and it’s a nice way to vent a little frustration on those poor innocent potatoes!

Edward

April 13th, 2011
2:32 pm

my can’t-do-withouts are: my Kenwood Electronic mixer (more powerful than a Kitchenaid with even more available attachments), my J.A. Henckels Professional S chef and paring knives and knife steel.

Jill

April 13th, 2011
3:16 pm

Where do I begin? I love my gadgets and use them regularly. About the only thing I *don’t* have is a KitchenAide stand mixer. Mr. Ed, is yours for sale?

Rob

April 15th, 2011
12:42 pm

Love the gadgets! My new favorite is the garlic peeler. A simple rubber tube. Put the garlic clove in, press while you roll it, and voila, the clove drops out naked! Use it all the time. Also love the old school cheese slicer (metal wire and a roller). Cuts mozzarella and other soft cheeses beautifully! Then there’s the mallet, the zester, the nut cracker (great for shellfish too!), the cleaver, the kitchen sheers (so versatile), the lobster pick, the drawn butter warmer (great accompaniment to shellfish dinner parties), the baster, the bread knife… you get the picture? The right tool for the right job…