Favorite Kitchen Gadgets?

zans4cansDecember 1, 2004

'Tis the season...and I'm looking for ideas for great kitchen gadgets. The ones that make you wonder how you ever lived without them. The ones you want to give to everyone you know.

As you can probably tell by my screen name (if you're a Seuss fan), I appreciate a good gadget when I see one (and while I don't have a zans for cans, I know that I should!). So...to get the ball rolling, here are a few of my faves:

- Microplane grater -- anything that sits still for too long on my counter risks being covered in grated Parmesan or nutmeg or zest!

- Zyliss garlic press -- I know it's somewhat flawed, but I still love it. Nice & sturdy & the garlic juice ends up in your dish not on your cutting board.

- Small, scooped silicone (Calphalon?) spatula -- love it & use it for everything. My mom has a skinny one that's flat on one side (no scoop) & has a long handle -- very nice also.

- Cookbook holder from Crate & Barrel -- love love love this thing. It was especially important when I only had 19" of working counter space!

- Suede pot-handle sleeve -- slips right over the handle of my Calphalon skillet. Not sure what will happen when I make my much-anticipated switch to cooking with gas...

- OXO scraper -- it's kind of silly, but I *really* love my scraper. It's the first thing I take out when I start cooking. Something comforting about the way it fits my hand, I guess...

I'm sure there are many others, but as I am without a kitchen right now (and have been for a little while), they are sadly out of sight, and, apparently, out of mind! We've survived using our beloved (esp. now!) Foreman grill (let's hear it for quesadillas filled with leftover [fill-in the blank], kids!), and Braun water kettle (yeah, cous cous....AGAIN...). But I guess that's a discussion for the appliance forum....


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zans/cans, Call me a stick in the mud, but I always pop my old fashioned zester into my pocket when I start to cook. I know the microplanes are the latest must have, but I'll plod along with the zester and a mini grater for nutmeg,lol...Jackie

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 2:38AM
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Jackie -
I think it was the Parmesan and nutmeg that sold me on the microplane (that and a really great sale price *grin*). Still love my old-fashioned zester for some zesting purposes, but a long streak of bad bad bad nutmeg graters & skinned knuckles made me embrace the microplane! I *love* nutmeg and found that I was always reaching for my jar of ground nutmeg even when I had several whole ones -- or reaching for a lame grater and a pack of band-aids - lol!
- Karen

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 9:28AM
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All OXO fat handle tools, including flatware.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 1:15PM
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my olive pitter
orka silicon cooking mitts
silapat cooking mats
and a steel mushroom for smashing garlic cloves- it feels great in the hand

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 9:51AM
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Instant read thermometer.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 11:52AM
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I love my wireless remote thermometer. I can take it with me to another room, where I can read, watch tv, or whatever, all the while keeping track of how fast the meat is cooking.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 1:27PM
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There's not one I couldn't easily live without, although there are several I do like. At one time or another, here are a few I was convinced were crucial...

1) Zyliss garlic press. The original Susi is likely the best in the world. Ours is at least fifteen years old and shows zero signs of wear. But, somewhere along the time-line, I found I liked garlic best when it wasn't completely taking over the dish it was in, which pretty much rules out a garlic press.

2) Instant-read thermometers. Great little gadgets. However, about three months ago I came across a conventional/old-fashioned meat thermometer from at least 25 years ago. Much to my surprise, it registered temps every bit as quickly as an instant-read. I stuck it onto a rib roast, and up went the needle within seconds. If you think about it, all thermometers are essentially instant-read when exposed to something other than ambient, or room, temp.

3) Lemon-reamers. Since I learned to either fork a lemon, or slice it, palm it, and squeeze it upside down, my lemon-reamer hasn't left the gadget drawer.

What really impresses me are micro-plane graters, so BB&B, here I come! We just bought a jar of nutmegs, or is that "nuts-meg?" I think there are like 8 or 9 of them in the jar. Whaddya think? Is that like 20-30 years of nutmeg or not?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 8:42PM
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Maybe not 30 years, sween, but at least 10. LOL! I love fresh nutmeg, haven't used the already ground stuff in 20 years or more.

I love my instant read thermometer too - actually have two of them. But a remote control instant read???? Cool!!!!

Also love my small, stainless cheese cleaver. Such a simple little tool, but does the job going through hunks of cheese.

I always poo-poohed those bamboo toast tongs, but now I could really use a pair. I keep burning myself on my new Cuisinart toaster oven.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 9:24PM
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Speaking of bamboo, how about bamboo steamers? DW just found ours shoved way back in some dark and forgotten cabinet. We were doing a complete re-paint on our cabinets and she said, "Holy Cow, remember these?" Yeah, I do, but for the life of me couldn't say when they were last used.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 2:58PM
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I've got a bamboo steamer in the same closet with the dehydrator. :o\

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 3:52PM
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I had to get in the kitchen and cook before I could add my 2 cents worth!

- foil cutter ("first you put some wine in the cook!")

- wine bottle stopper (priorities, priorities)

- high heat spatula

- y-shaped vegetable peeler

- odd-sized measuring spoons (2T, 1 1/2T, 1 1/2t)

- spans-the-sink mesh strainer (my DH hates this device, but I tell him he doesn't HAVE to wash his paint brushes in the kitchen sink)

- any of my wooden spoons

- and last, but not least, my Australian Shepherd vacuum cleaner!!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 5:27PM
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oxo potato peeler.....

use it to peel spuds, carrots, squash -something- everyday

and it is great to shave carrots into a healthful sandwich. We've even used it to shave potato strips to deepfry for snacks!

I've got most of the above mentioned, and each is useful at what they do, but the oxo gets the most use, hands down.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 7:49PM
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I love my microplane but really love my nutmeg grinder from WSonoma. Also, realy like my Jacquard meat tenderizer which used to be hard to find but now I see them in stores. Does anybody have any of the new basters?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 7:18AM
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My husband. He slices, he dices, he cooks, he cleans...

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 12:33AM
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Can I borrow him, Jessy?

I have lots of favorite gadgets - my newest is the silicone basting brush - its terrific and goes in the dishwasher.

P.S. I also have lots of unfavorite gadgets, that turned out to be totally useless too many to name - however one would be that Oxo potato peeler, how I hate that baby!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 10:32AM
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What's not to like about the oxo potato peeler? It has a Wide, easy to grip handle, the blade angles to almost any cut and it cleans easily! I've given them as gifts to many friends (some of whom are professional chefs working in some famous shops) and have always gotten pleasing feedback, sincere I believe, too.

They're durable, too. Mine is almost 7years old! My sister has muscular dystrophy and due to the wide, flexing handle, she was able to grip and use it without pain.

Que es?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 11:12PM
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I replaced my OXO potato peeler with a Zyliss. Don't like the large soft grips, but then I have small hands. Love my Zyliss.

Zyliss ice cream scoop is the most used gadget by the whole family. Perfect weight and handle for scooping hard ice cream.

My newest favorite is my "chef'n" double-ended spatula. Love it's simplicity of function and cleanability.

Cheapest is my little plastic vacuum breaker for jars that looks like a little bottle openner.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2004 at 6:53PM
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Jhart, I do like the handle, however, I only use the peeler for carrots. It just doesn't work right for me, seems the potato peel gets caught in the blades, or maybe I work too fast and am kind of careless, I don't know. But, my "Y" peeler works great for potatoes and I just love it. Sometimes I think its a persons 'personal touch' or something, can't quite put a name to it, hope you know what I mean!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2004 at 10:04AM
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All OXO products my ceramic knifes & best of all my induction hob , its the best kitchen Gadget ever.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2005 at 8:15AM
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Best gaget I have ever had is hiring an attractive culinary student to come and cook evening meals and clean the kitchen on weekdays:D

    Bookmark   January 20, 2005 at 11:06AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Williams Sonoma carries a lemon press that I love.
I also really like using a corn creamer. For fresh corn it's great.
And, if you've never had true creamed corn, worth a try.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2005 at 3:19PM
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The most-enjoyment-per-penny-spent in my kitchen is a garlic peeler. Don't have a brand name--it's a thin sheet of rubbery stuff maybe 4-5 inches in dia. It's in the shape of a bulb of garlic, but I overlook its cuteseyness because of how well it does its task. Put an unpeeled clove of garlic on it, fold the sheet over the clove taco-style, the rub it briskly--the papery stuff comes off in maybe two seconds.
In the time it took you to read this item, you could've peeled a half dozen or so cloves. If you cook items with lots of garlic, it's worth it.

They say that garlic is the ketchup of intellectuals....

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 7:05PM
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Ditto on the induction hob.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 12:57AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Hmmm, yes, I have heard about tupperware.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 3:56PM
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The Swing-A-Way Jar Opener #711. We had one growing up (and I am 40+), and I couldn't believe it when I came across them still selling today. I bought one, and it is the best jar opener ever. Just read the reviews on Amazon. And it's cheap too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swing-A-Way Jar Opener #711 at Amazon

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 8:49PM
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My latest is:

Magnetic measuring spoons. No ring. I put them on the magnetic knife holder which is another favorite of mine.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 8:17AM
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Oh... Sorry, I couldn't just pick a few. I love and use all my kitchen gadgets! The ones I don't like, they're given away.

But!... I can tell you the latest one though... it's an Ironwood Chopping Block that made a trip from China to San Francisco and flew into my kitchen =). These near endangered Lignum Vitae tree are now protected in China and these high quality chopping blocks are getting harder to find.

Don't get confused with the little blocks glued together with a 1-piece cut chopping board.

Below is a link where you can still order. However, not all sizes that are listed on this site are available. Ask her first.

pros: density and hardness wood. Durable.
cons: heavy wood block. A 13" x 1 1/2" is about 8-10 lbs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Place you can still order...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 3:13PM
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