The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets

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Grampy
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2003/12/09 09:57:49 (permalink)

The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets

With the holiday cheer upon us -- and unscrupulous manufacturers foisting the latest "can't-live-without" gadgets upon us -- we are all bound to get novel food-related products. From mushroom brushes to howitzer-sized corkscrews, some of these may grace our kitchen counters for a while, but most will end in the attic or the tag-sale table. First on my list this year is the "tall, thin spaghetti" pot that looks like an asparagus cooker. Sure, spaghetti is tall and thin, but not after about 30 seconds in boiling water. Was the designer ever near a kitchen?

On a positive note, if I were to have one modern gadget in my kitchen, it would be a rice cooker.

Since I am fairly new to the site, this topic may well have been covered before. If not, I would love to hear your thoughts. I'd give my magic peeling wand to the best -- if I hadn't trampled it.
#1

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    Cakes
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 10:55:21 (permalink)
    Grampy,

    We had a steamer that we used to make rice and it died. We tried several of the inexpensive dedicated rice makers and did not like any of them. The clue is that they tell you it is normal if the rice browns (burns is more like it) on the bottom. Wrong! This imparts a noticeable bad taste.

    What we have now is another steamer that does rice perfectly. It can also be used to steam other foods.

    It is an Oster Instant Steam model 4711. My wife had a little trouble finding it, but it is worth looking for. It just works.

    Cakes
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:14:12 (permalink)
    Gadgets have been covered in one or two other threads, but the Search feature still isn't working, so we'll just pretend it never happened.

    One that I'll add that I didn't before is a digital readout oven thermometer. A member named "Stogie" recommended these on a few threads for use in BBQing meats. However, I've found them to be awesome in the kitchen, also.

    It's a digital readout unit with a 3 foot cord between the probe and the unit. On the smoker outside, I just lay the probe by the meat, and you can tell what the temp is at the meat level, which gives great results. In the oven, you can stick the probe in the meat and know exactly when the proper temp has been achieved. You never have to open the oven door or take the top off your smoker!

    You can even buy another probe on many models, and use one for internal meat temp and the other for surface temp, both attached to one digital unit!

    As you can tell, I think these things are great. It has "revolutionized" my own cooking.
    #3
    dendan
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:15:03 (permalink)
    A simple one we want to add to our place is the twine container. Looking for a source to purchase a unique one. Have seen one that is a cat's head, the twine come out of its mouth and a small sissors hang on an ear. Any ideas?
    #4
    Grampy
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:19:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Cakes

    Grampy,

    We had a steamer that we used to make rice and it died. We tried several of the inexpensive dedicated rice makers and did not like any of them. The clue is that they tell you it is normal if the rice browns (burns is more like it) on the bottom. Wrong! This imparts a noticeable bad taste.

    What we have now is another steamer that does rice perfectly. It can also be used to steam other foods.

    It is an Oster Instant Steam model 4711. My wife had a little trouble finding it, but it is worth looking for. It just works.

    Cakes


    I have had the Zojirushi NHS-10HX 6-Cup Rice Cooker/Steamer for two years, with nary a single overcooked grain. Having had three other models prior to it, all I can say is it's phenomenal.
    #5
    i95
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:21:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie

    Gadgets have been covered in one or two other threads, but the Search feature still isn't working, so we'll just pretend it never happened.

    One that I'll add that I didn't before is a digital readout oven thermometer. A member named "Stogie" recommended these on a few threads for use in BBQing meats. However, I've found them to be awesome in the kitchen, also.

    It's a digital readout unit with a 3 foot cord between the probe and the unit. On the smoker outside, I just lay the probe by the meat, and you can tell what the temp is at the meat level, which gives great results. In the oven, you can stick the probe in the meat and know exactly when the proper temp has been achieved. You never have to open the oven door or take the top off your smoker!

    You can even buy another probe on many models, and use one for internal meat temp and the other for surface temp, both attached to one digital unit!

    As you can tell, I think these things are great. It has "revolutionized" my own cooking.


    Bushie:

    I agree 1,000% on that recommendation !! I have such a gadget and use it most frequently on my Holland Grill ("if you're looking, you're not cooking") thereby allowing me to keep the lid closed all the way until whatever is being grilled, smoked or steamed reaches its finished temperature (notified by an audible alarm on the thermometer reader itself).

    Although I just saw one that comes in TWO pieces: one piece is the thermometer itself (similar, it sounds, to the one you and I both have); and the other is a belt-clipped, pager-like device that signals you when your cooking is done -- thereby allowing you to do something else in your house and not have to keep checking on the thermometer.

    Gadgets. Gotta love 'em !!!


    #6
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:28:53 (permalink)
    There are a few things I would not like to cook without. One of them is a set of tongs. Until I got my first ones many years ago, I never knew how much I needed them, and I don't know how I ever got along without them. Another thing is an instant-read thermometer. My hand-crank pasta machine takes most of the work out of pasta making.

    Then there's the bread machine one of my daughters got me for Christmas. Without that bread machine I wouldn't have any place to drop my mail before opening it.
    #7
    Grampy
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:35:28 (permalink)
    Also invaluable to me is a slotted fish spatula. It is slightly curved, flexible,, and very thin, and it is basically the only indoor spatula I use.
    #8
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:37:34 (permalink)
    I want one of those nifty avocado slicers. You hold a half of an avocado in one hand and in one motion the device scoops and slices into picture perfect slices, completely bypassing the seed.
    #9
    dendan
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:38:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    I want one of those nifty avocado slicers. You hold a half of an avocado in one hand and in one motion the device scoops and slices into picture perfect slices, completely bypassing the seed.


    WOW - sign me up for one of those..." />
    #10
    yumbo
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:46:03 (permalink)
    I'd have to say the Octodog is just about the most useless food invention yet: http://www.octodog.net.

    -Yumbo

    ps - I learned this from Dave Barry's XMas Gift Guide.
    #11
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 11:59:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by yumbo

    I'd have to say the Octodog is just about the most useless food invention yet: http://www.octodog.net.

    -Yumbo

    ps - I learned this from Dave Barry's XMas Gift Guide.

    Yes, but without one of these you could not make the Frankfurter Spectacular!!
    #12
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:08:35 (permalink)
    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!
    #13
    Grampy
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:12:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    Do you sharpen your blade or simply buy a new one? I find myself using my German V slicer more than my mandoline for large batches of basic slicing.
    #14
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:18:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Grampy

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    Do you sharpen your blade or simply buy a new one? I find myself using my German V slicer more than my mandoline for large batches of basic slicing.

    I've only taken it apart once in nearly 25 years and that was to sharpen it on my diamond stone. It's incredibly sharp and I usually end up with a "bar code" on the palm of my hand after cutting shoestring potatoes like last Sunday! Gotta get that last little piece of potato thru there........struggling.........rip right into the hand. Worth the sacrifice for a perfect pommes darphin!
    #15
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:20:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    There are a few things I would not like to cook without. One of them is a set of tongs. Until I got my first ones many years ago, I never knew how much I needed them, and I don't know how I ever got along without them. Another thing is an instant-read thermometer. My hand-crank pasta machine takes most of the work out of pasta making.

    Then there's the bread machine one of my daughters got me for Christmas. Without that bread machine I wouldn't have any place to drop my mail before opening it.


    #16
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:21:37 (permalink)
    dendan - I saw it a Sur la Table
    #17
    i95
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:24:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    HIGH-BROW ALERT !! HIGH-BROW ALERT !! PLEASE EXIT THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY !!

    #18
    Grampy
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:26:32 (permalink)
    Speaking of slicing, since I don't like other family members using my venerable knives, I purchased a Wusthof deli knife specifically for them. The love it. The seration is rounded rather than scalloped, so it's perfect for everything from bread to deli meats. It's indirectly a gift of sanity to yourself.
    #19
    dendan
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:26:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    dendan - I saw it a Sur la Table


    Thanks I see a nice olive wood one there. Appreciate the lead! More will be appreciated,,,as well!
    #20
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:30:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    HIGH-BROW ALERT !! HIGH-BROW ALERT !! PLEASE EXIT THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY !!




    OH STOP IT!
    #21
    i95
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:46:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    HIGH-BROW ALERT !! HIGH-BROW ALERT !! PLEASE EXIT THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY !!




    OH STOP IT!


    ANGRY WOMAN WITH SHARP KITCHEN IMPLEMENTS ALERT !!
    ANGRY WOMAN WITH SHARP KITCHEN IMPLEMENTS ALERT !!


    #22
    Grampy
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:52:08 (permalink)
    By the way, apologies for posting this under hamburgers. Too many Stalinis -- or worse yet, a truly worthless gadget -- my brain.
    #23
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 12:57:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    Originally posted by lleechef

    My favorite gadget has to be the mandoline. I've had it since 1979, bought it directly from the factory in France, paid $30........here, today, they go for around $250. I just used it Sunday to make a pommes darphin and will use it tomorrow night for the vegetables for shrimp stir-fry. I use it for french fries, shoestring fries, waffle fries, potato (or vegetable) chips, julienne vegetables, paper-thin slices of veggies for brunoise.........I love my mandoline!


    HIGH-BROW ALERT !! HIGH-BROW ALERT !! PLEASE EXIT THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY !!




    OH STOP IT!


    ANGRY WOMAN WITH SHARP KITCHEN IMPLEMENTS ALERT !!
    ANGRY WOMAN WITH SHARP KITCHEN IMPLEMENTS ALERT !!



    [/quote
    Aw, shucks, you're just not gonna be invited tonight to the Boeuf Bourguignon dinner if you keep this up.
    #24
    i95
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 13:06:03 (permalink)
    I'm done.
    #25
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 13:24:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    I'm done.

    OK, you're still invited, but I'm warnin' ya, no comments when I break out the MANDOLINE!
    #26
    i95
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 13:46:38 (permalink)
    Promise. However, break-out the madolin and all bets are off.
    #27
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 13:54:32 (permalink)
    #28
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 14:03:07 (permalink)
    Will there be some bluegrass or mountain folk music played with the mandoline for entertainment?


    I didn't get an invitation to the dinner, and I am truly wounded.
    #29
    lleechef
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    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets 2003/12/09 14:08:31 (permalink)
    WELL, shucks, Lone Star I thought you would be out spending your $35 tonight, whooping it up on Stalinis with the Three Wise Men and wearing NOTHING but that crazy tie clothier is going to send you!!! We were thinking bluegrass would be nice tonight......the Boeuf Bourguignon will be ready around 7-ish. We'll mix martinis at 6. Consider yourself invited and please........just wear the tie. SO will be happy.
    #30
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