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 The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets

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Grampy

  • Total Posts: 1559
  • Joined: 10/14/2002
  • Location: Greenfield, MA
The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 9:57 AM (permalink)
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
    Cakes

    • Total Posts: 562
    • Joined: 9/11/2003
    • Location: Sarasota, FL
    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 10:55 AM (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

      • Total Posts: 2902
      • Joined: 4/21/2001
      • Location: Round Rock, TX
      RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:14 AM (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

        • Total Posts: 479
        • Joined: 10/30/2003
        • Location: Hickory, NC
        RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:15 AM (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

          • Total Posts: 1559
          • Joined: 10/14/2002
          • Location: Greenfield, MA
          RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:19 AM (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

            • Total Posts: 2500
            • Joined: 7/14/2003
            • Location: Sin City, VA
            RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:21 AM (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

              • Total Posts: 17801
              • Joined: 7/1/2000
              • Location: Gahanna, OH
              RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:28 AM (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

                • Total Posts: 1559
                • Joined: 10/14/2002
                • Location: Greenfield, MA
                RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:35 AM (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

                  • Total Posts: 1730
                  • Joined: 5/22/2003
                  • Location: Houston, TX
                  RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:37 AM (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

                    • Total Posts: 479
                    • Joined: 10/30/2003
                    • Location: Hickory, NC
                    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:38 AM (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

                      • Total Posts: 330
                      • Joined: 6/4/2001
                      • Location: Milwaukee, WI
                      RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:46 AM (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

                        • Total Posts: 6205
                        • Joined: 3/22/2003
                        • Location: Gahanna, OH
                        RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 11:59 AM (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

                          • Total Posts: 6205
                          • Joined: 3/22/2003
                          • Location: Gahanna, OH
                          RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:08 PM (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

                            • Total Posts: 1559
                            • Joined: 10/14/2002
                            • Location: Greenfield, MA
                            RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:12 PM (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

                              • Total Posts: 6205
                              • Joined: 3/22/2003
                              • Location: Gahanna, OH
                              RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:18 PM (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

                                • Total Posts: 1730
                                • Joined: 5/22/2003
                                • Location: Houston, TX
                                RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:20 PM (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

                                  • Total Posts: 1730
                                  • Joined: 5/22/2003
                                  • Location: Houston, TX
                                  RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:21 PM (permalink)
                                  dendan - I saw it a Sur la Table
                                   
                                  #17
                                    i95

                                    • Total Posts: 2500
                                    • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                    • Location: Sin City, VA
                                    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:24 PM (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

                                      • Total Posts: 1559
                                      • Joined: 10/14/2002
                                      • Location: Greenfield, MA
                                      RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:26 PM (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

                                        • Total Posts: 479
                                        • Joined: 10/30/2003
                                        • Location: Hickory, NC
                                        RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:26 PM (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

                                          • Total Posts: 6205
                                          • Joined: 3/22/2003
                                          • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                          RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:30 PM (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

                                            • Total Posts: 2500
                                            • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                            • Location: Sin City, VA
                                            RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:46 PM (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

                                              • Total Posts: 1559
                                              • Joined: 10/14/2002
                                              • Location: Greenfield, MA
                                              RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:52 PM (permalink)
                                              By the way, apologies for posting this under hamburgers. Too many Stalinis -- or worse yet, a truly worthless gadget -- my brain.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                lleechef

                                                • Total Posts: 6205
                                                • Joined: 3/22/2003
                                                • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                                RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 12:57 PM (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

                                                  • Total Posts: 2500
                                                  • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                                  • Location: Sin City, VA
                                                  RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 1:06 PM (permalink)
                                                  I'm done.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    lleechef

                                                    • Total Posts: 6205
                                                    • Joined: 3/22/2003
                                                    • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                                    RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 1:24 PM (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

                                                      • Total Posts: 2500
                                                      • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                                      • Location: Sin City, VA
                                                      RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 1:46 PM (permalink)
                                                      Promise. However, break-out the madolin and all bets are off.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        lleechef

                                                        • Total Posts: 6205
                                                        • Joined: 3/22/2003
                                                        • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                                        RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 1:54 PM (permalink)
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Lone Star

                                                          • Total Posts: 1730
                                                          • Joined: 5/22/2003
                                                          • Location: Houston, TX
                                                          RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 2:03 PM (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

                                                            • Total Posts: 6205
                                                            • Joined: 3/22/2003
                                                            • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                                            RE: The Most Worthless/Useful Gadgets Tue, 12/9/03 2:08 PM (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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