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Expendable appliances/gadgets?

Rebecca's picture

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We have several topics going here that are about gadgets and small & large appliances.

Do you own one that you wish you never bought - a waste of money?

One of ours is the pasta attachment for the Kitchen-Aid mixer. Makes great dumpling-like stuff ( which we never eat) however, not Italian or Asian-style noodles.
My mother gave us an Atlas bought at a garage sale which is good & Mongo uses it once in a while (its FUN for him !?!) & works fine. For me, I buy dried (& fresh stuffed pastas- we have good-enough local source).

What else should be shunned (I'm assuming the hamburger press is a given)...

Rebecca

mica's picture

(post #60103, reply #1 of 32)

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Well, for me it'd be the crockpot I got for a wedding present... it's good for keeping mulled cider warm, but the rest of the time it lives in the basement.

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #2 of 32)

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I guess my unnecessary gadget was an immersion blendor someone gave me. I make sauces, etc. but found I was not reaching for it, instead, depending on a whisk or other tried and true methods.

Another thing someone gave me (which I couldn't get rid of fast enough) was this rolling chopper. My chef's knife worked better, faster and less messy. I gave away a Drinkmaster malted maker - and someone gave me an ice cream machine years ago that was less than efficient and I dumped that too.

Every so often, I go through drawers and dump spatulas, and other small gadgets (can you say, "Tupperware party?") that I no longer use to streamline my space and simplify my life.

Jean_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #3 of 32)

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Can you believe that I actually use my crock pot a couple of times every year? (Blush). Every time my DH cleans the basement we wonder why we bought that wonderful bargain juicer! It takes up all that valuable shelf space and we still have all our teeth.........!!

Gerard's picture

(post #60103, reply #4 of 32)

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Rebecca,

the pasta attachment should work , it probably just needs the dough to be adjusted rather than the machine, kitchenaid is good stuff(usually).

The immersion blenders are copied from commercial units and look too dinky to work except for a milk shake, it needs something more like an elec drill with attachments. I have a commercial model and it'll blast through 20 gallons of purred soup in seconds, too bad the consumer model is wimpy 'cos the idea is good.

I'm kinda banned from my home kitchen, everything smashes when I try to use it. Stupid rubber spatulas with wooden handles instead of hard nylon.

The best deals in equipment has to be commercial refrigerators, huge double door stainless steel for less than home versions with their silly plastic interiors, how am I supposed to know that little door over the butter compartment isn't meant to be taken off?

Bread making machines anyone, some swear by them.
Most people who develop a keen interest in breads seem to outgrow the units and go freehand.

Other than that I have no opinion at all.!!

Cheers, Gerard ; )

Cheers, Gerard

dixie_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #5 of 32)

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My choice - An electric, counter-top, vertical rotisserie.

Sandy's picture

(post #60103, reply #6 of 32)

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Electric drill with attachments...sounds familiar.

When my last mixer packed it in, I used a Makita with a single beater. Great for making whipped cream, anyway. However, the sight so disconcerted my family at Thanksgiving that there was a new Braun mixer under the tree by Christmas.

So, should I use a good cordless drill with attachments from the Braun, or save up for a good commercial unit? :)

Other gadgets I never use ... a "bagel width toaster" (I prefer my old one-sided toaster, which does bagels and bread properly, even if it does need to be monitored), the ubiquitous crock pot, several useless icing bag sets (they look cute, but anything less than industrial strength is useless).

I try to keep my kitchen gadget-free. But I often break down in Chinese grocery stores when faced with fascinating utensils. Then they lurk in the drawer until I figure out what to do with them. Turns out I had a Vietnamese coffee maker for years before I knew how to use it...

Jean_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #7 of 32)

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Sandy, funny you should mention a cordless drill--I got a cordless screw driver for Christmas!!

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #60103, reply #8 of 32)

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Crockpots, rice cookers, microwaves, pasta makers,and those fry pans with the stupid ridges.
I'm sure there are plenty more.

nihon_no_cook's picture

(post #60103, reply #9 of 32)

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I have to come to the defense of the humble crock-pot. Sure, the food that comes out of it will never be confused with gourmet cuisine, but there are days when nothing is more comforting on the drive home from work than to know that dinner is ready and waiting for you at home. Food out of a crock-pot beats McDonalds any day!

As far as useless gadgets go, I have an electric pasta maker that has now been useless for two generations. My mother received it for some forgotten holiday at least a decade ago and never used it; in a fit of pasta-making enthusiasm I volunteered to take it to free up some closet space for her. That was over a year ago, and we're still electrically-made-pasta-free.

While I'm at it, I'll put in my vote for my mother's most useless gadget, too - she's got a marble candymaking slab stashed in a closet. She's been "meaning" to install it somewhere in her kitchen for close to 15 years . . . only problem is, there is absolutely no way that she can fit it into her counters and still have room to cook. That, combined with the fact that I have never known my mother to make candy of any type, much less a type that would require a big slab of rock to prepare, makes this sucker pretty much useless. When we move back to the US and build our own kitchen, maybe I can find a place for it and she can have visitation rights! Not that I'm into making candy, either, but the "oooooh" factor is pretty high on this baby.

Jean_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #10 of 32)

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I'm with you on that one Nihon NC, and please don't let Mean Chef take away my microwave. When DH warms up a bowl of soup for himself, at least there's not a pan to clean, too.

Samantha_Zistatsis's picture

(post #60103, reply #11 of 32)

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A garlic press that requires the cloves to be peeled is useless. However, the Zyliss press works great! To me, the rice cooker is invaluable and I use the crock pot occasionally - really helps for those days I know I'll be too tired at the end. I never know what to do with the meat cleaver. I just got one of those new can-openers that break the seal instead of cutting....that is fabulous! (especially when you have a toddler)

Samantha_Zistatsis's picture

(post #60103, reply #12 of 32)

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Pasta maker....I got a manual one with the intention of making whole wheat pasta since it is significantly more expensive. Unfortunately, I'm not happy with even the white stuff I make, not to mention that I can't find whole durum semolina. Anyone have any hints on this? The only recipie I have uses eggs...is this OK to store long term? Does anyone have a recipie w/o eggs? Am I on a dead-end street?
Befudled...

Gerard's picture

(post #60103, reply #13 of 32)

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oooh a marble top, I used mine often til I got a tempering machine, they make great coffee tables.
A customer told me its worth $1000 (it was in the window) so don't toss it out.

No reason why a crockpot shouldn't work, maybe not all day long but cassolet is great after its been slow baked a few hrs. Even better the next day.

KEN's picture

(post #60103, reply #14 of 32)

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I strive real hard to make my kitchen a Luddite's dream. (Hard to avoid electro-mechanical mixers though, yea! KitchenAid!) Although not technically used in the direct preparation of food, I've always thought that the electric can opener is the epitome of gadgetry.

Jean_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #15 of 32)

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I loved mine too. Notice the past tense--they are going to have to make them stronger for me to buy another!

Sandra_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #16 of 32)

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A yogurt maker. Someone gave me one for Christmas many years ago.I used it once, it now has an inch of dust on it, and I couldn't even give it away at a garage sale. Same goes for a copper Turkish coffee maker, and a gadget for making some kind of elaborate waffles.(Swedish, I think...) Too bad we can't set up a gadget exchange. I'd love a marble slab. Will trade one barely-used yogurt maker (that, oh yeah, also turns butter and milk into cream...provided you have three free hours to crank the damned handle!)

Carolina's picture

(post #60103, reply #17 of 32)

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The two most useless gadgets I have are:

1. a rolling, multi-wheeled, herd minced

2. a multi-tined tomato slicer

I am embarassed to say that in a fit a supidity, I bought them both myself.

Mary_Sarber's picture

(post #60103, reply #18 of 32)

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Since I have the food processor I NEVER use the blender.....I think I have 2 or three of them. Everytime one of my kids moves out I try to give them away. They always come back...the kids and the blenders......Kat

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #60103, reply #19 of 32)

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Try to remember: food processor for solids, blender for liquids.

kai_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #20 of 32)

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This is an interesting thread, as I tend to gravitate toward the gadget area in cooking aisles and departments...I haven't found one (gadget) worth its salt unless it is tried and true for professionals, and, therefore, well-built.

Since, thankfully, I refrain from buying on impulse and from infomercials, I don't have many useless things in my kitchen, but that "screw-it-in-the-top-of-a-lemon and squeeze out the juice piece of plastic" has never worked for me. (I don't recall buying it, either, and I think it came with other useless things, like a plastic zester that broke at first use.)

One thing I really love but always disappoints is the wooden pasta "forks"? (with their prongs NOT GLUED IN well enough--or the heat diffuses the glue's strength).

Oh, here's an embarassment. I bought a container that is supposed to make heart-shaped ice cubes. You have to fill it so far, tip it, whatever, I don't recall. When I actually got to reading the instructions, I determined it wouldn't work--I think the flaw was something on the order of: you wouldn't be able to extract the cubes! ($1.99 down the tubes--but, I bet it's still here somewhere lol)

Thanks (Mean Chef? sorry, I forget who posted) for the reminder that food processors are for solids, and blenders for liquids--although I have made THE BEST gazpacho (using some solids--cukes, onions, and the semi-solid tomato) in my blender.

Well, I'm totally distracted due to IM's, so I have forgotten everything else I was going to say (applause). Oh, I take that back, but I think I'll try to be brave and "post" a topic!

Thanks to all!

Rebecca's picture

(post #60103, reply #21 of 32)

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My wedding-present crock pot sat unused for 10 years. Now, I almost always cook my dried beans in it - I used to use my oven for this & now I use less electircity & the beans come out great. My kids love bean soups, refried beans, etc. Start the beans in the morning & finish up the dish later in the afternoon...easy.

Also, the immersion blender is good for partially pureeing stuff like bean soups (I agree w/others in that it certainly doesn't smooth out the food all the way).

Rebecca's picture

(post #60103, reply #22 of 32)

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Can you insert the marble in your future countertop?

Rebecca's picture

(post #60103, reply #23 of 32)

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This thread made me realize I do like my gadgets more than I thought!

My bread machine is indispensible to my happiness. I use it about 10 to 14 times a week. I make sandwich bread for the kids & dough for country-style loaves & rolls (mostly with starters) that get baked in the oven. I'm know my breads could be better if made entirely freehand, just not my hand. They are at least better than the bakery's (expensive & not close-by) & we get to have them ALL the time. I do feel a little like I "sold-out" by getting the machine, however, it really does knead the dough better than I or my Kitchen-Aid ever could.

I wish I had a commercial fridge...

Carolina's picture

(post #60103, reply #24 of 32)

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>Crockpots, rice cookers, microwaves, pasta makers,and those fry pans with the
stupid ridges. I'm sure there are plenty more.

MC: I agree on rice cookers and those stupid ridged pans, but my microwave and my pasta making are absolute necessities. Without a pasta machine, I could never get the dough rolled to an even thickness. Without my microwave,... well, I can't imagine life without one.

The one thing I thought surely you would trash was the bread machine. I know some people swear by them, but I think they are totally useless. Why would anybody want one, when all you need to make bread is a KitchenAid mixer. At least the mixer can be used for a million other purposes. The bread machine, IMNSHO, is just a hulking piece junk that does only one thing and does that poorly.

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #25 of 32)

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Jean, if you know anyone who sells "Pampered Chef" implements, get one of theirs...Indestructable.

Samantha_Zistatsis's picture

(post #60103, reply #26 of 32)

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So Kai, can you tell me what you mean by "IM" and "lol"?

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #60103, reply #27 of 32)

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And here I thought you were making progress.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #60103, reply #28 of 32)

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I forgot bread machines and yogurt makers. Making pasta for me is just too messy and way, way too much trouble. That reminds me, I don't use my juice machine (Atlas) very often. I admit to loving the concoctions (I always started with carrot and apple, then added other stuff.) and I think they made me feel great as well. That said, it's messy, time consuming and damn expensive. Incredible how many carrots it takes to fill a glass. So, mine just sits waiting.

Adele_'s picture

(post #60103, reply #29 of 32)

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IM is Instant Message. ROFL is Rolling on Floor Laughing. LOL I Think, is Lots of Luck??????

Nice_Chef's picture

(post #60103, reply #30 of 32)

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At home, the thing that seperates the yolk from the white of the egg. All it does is catch other things in the drawer.

At work, probably the dishwasher who can't tell a hotel pan from a sheet pan.