Thanks for all those great comments on using or not using scales.  It’s a hopeful trend.  It got me thinking about useful kitchen tools, just as Ed Charles, Australian journalist and blogger, has been inspired by The Elements of Cooking to consider his own kitchen and not what is useful but what isn’t and asks people to name their least useful kitchen tool.Piemakerwpm118_2

I’m not the first to suggest that a tool that has only a single use is just as useful in the garbage as it is in your drawer.  A mango slicer, please.  An egg separater—Jesus, an egg separator!  We are born with the perfect egg separators, right at the end of our arms!  Why would anyone be moved to invent one? Sarah on Ed’s blog said her “pie maker” was the most useless thing in her kitchen.  Another commented that they love their pie maker.  What is a pie maker?!  I’ve never heard of a pie maker.  I use my egg separators to make pies! (Google search: sunbeam pie maker, at right.)

I was sure I had some useless crap stored in a box in the basement but no—I don’t have a single useless gadget any more.  I even threw out those ridiculous corn cob shaped corn holders my mother puts in my Christmas stocking every year.  I only have practical gadgets, so I took a picture of them.  Were I forbidden to use any one of them, I would be cranky indeed.  Were I to go stage in a kitchen, I’d feel pretty confident that if I had these items, I could get just about anything I needed done.


                                                                                                                        Photo NOT by Donna
My favorite kitchen gadgets:
From right to left, big knife and little knife, rubber spatula, wood spoon with flat edge, fish spatula, microplane, instant read thermometer, Sharpie, sauce whip, string, fine mesh strainer, two spoons, measuring spoons, peeler, heavy side towel for grabbing hot things, and, the most important tool in the kitchen, kosher salt.

Comments welcome: be brief: single most valuable and single least valuable kitchen gadget.

post script 4/30: many people have noted their affection for tongs and wondered how this tool could not be pictured here. I have one good sturdy set of tongs that hang from the bar to the left of the hood and i use them all the time. But i don’t think they should be considered an essential kitchen tool. I know most cooks will disagree and I understand why.


208 Wonderful responses to “My Favorite Kitchen “Gadgets””

  • RosieHawthorne

    Most useful –
    1) My chef’s knife
    2) My pastry scraper blades, which I use for much more than pastry.
    3) My tiny, thin metal spatulas for getting cookies off my baking sheets.
    4) My offset knife, for icing and whatever.
    5) My mini-whisks – for mini-jobs.
    6) My knife sharpener. V-sharp Warthog.
    See the video here:
    Just wish they could have gotten someone less hirsute to demonstrate.
    7) My numerous, multiple-sized wooden chopping boards.
    8) Good quality baking pans.

    1) Salad shooters. I was all angsty during the Christmas season when this item was the rage in advertising.
    2) Stainless steel garlic odor remover. Just why? I have soap. I have lemon juice. I actually have stainless steel.
    3) Wine bottle thingies that vacuum the air out. Who the hell has leftover wine?
    4) Ditto on the egg separators. I have hands.
    5) Hamburger pattie-ers. I still have hands.
    6) I’m sure I can think of something else.

  • Kathy McCaughna

    Does anyone make a timer small and flat enough to be slipped in a pocket? If I leave the kitchen I take the timer with me, but then I leave that room and sometimes go in the yard, completely forgetting there’s something in the oven. A pocket timer would help a lot.

  • kitchens

    my least valualbe would be garlic press and the cylicon cylinder.. and most valuable.. well, the list would go very big.! there are a lot of gadgets

  • Mary Bowman

    Here is a free “gadget” that can make out of season strawberries pretty decent. Take a drink straw and poke the tastless white core from the center of each strawberry, from the bottom. Whole core and stem pop out. Slice and sugar very lightly, little lemon juice and it’s great.

  • Copper Sinks

    I saw a demo once in a supermarket and thought it was hysterical — a plastic thing that you stick in the cheese so you don’t get finger prints on it when you slice it. I had to have it. It was too goofy not to. My most recent acquisition in this ilk was a free Black and Tan beer pourer thingie that I got for free from Bass Ale’s website.

  • Ana

    Most useless: A sandwich press and a hulking bread machine. Both my bf’s, neither of which see any use. I don’t really understand the appeal of bread machines.

    Most useful: A rice cooker. No, I don’t need one to make good rice, but it does greatly speed up the process. And if you love Asian food as much as I do, it’s near-indispensable. I make LOTS of rice.