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What odd or especially useful kitchen gadget do you love?   Go to last post Go to last unread
#24 Posted : Sunday, June 26, 2016 10:10:16 AM(UTC)

Nifty!  Did the tool start its life as an avocado lifter, or was it something like a frosting spatula converted by curving the tip?

#25 Posted : Sunday, June 26, 2016 1:00:56 PM(UTC)
It was born to be an avocado lifter 🙂
#26 Posted : Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:28:38 PM(UTC)


I'm back to report on the fan. :)

It worked really well. I just chopped up two really large onions and didn't have a tickle of a tear while I was chopping. I had tried it a couple of days ago with a sweet onion, put that didn't seem like a fair test, so this morning I did it with pungent ones.

Instead of redirecting one of the fans I had ordered for the seedlings I bought a new one just for the kitchen when I saw they had some little USB rechargeable ones. It's great - I charged it up and then was able to position it wherever I wanted on the counter without a cord getting in the way.

One little want to remove the papery peel before you get to the cutting board or the fan will blow those all over the place...ask me how I know. :)

#27 Posted : Thursday, June 30, 2016 2:43:49 PM(UTC)
@anightowl, wonderful! I'm glad it worked for you. Yes, I know what you mean about the papery skin blowing all over the place. I usually take all that off in the sink, then come over to my cutting board with the fan blowing across it. I can't take credit for this idea ... I read about it somewhere years ago.

I used to work as a volunteer at one of the local cooking schools here in San Antonio and could not work the "knife skills" classes because of all the onions being used for demo/practice! I ran from the room more than once with tears streaming down my face. LoL!
#28 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 11:14:50 AM(UTC)
I don't know how old you are, Foodycat (I'm 69 going on 70), but I don't know where I'd be without my jar openers. I have 4 different varieties. My mother and I both started needing them in our mid-30's, the same age that I developed writer's cramp. Until my father died, he was my mother's jar opener. Don't know what she used as a widow.

For this reason I'm slightly miffed when I hear a jar opener described as an old folks' tool.
#29 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 1:13:02 PM(UTC)

I'm with you bittrette on the jar openers. I had to start using one in my late 30s - I have neck problems stemming from a long ago car accident and some days if the nerves are pinched just so, I can't even hold a spoon in my right hand, much less open a jar. I once had a "friend" openly mock me for using an electric jar opener at a party at my house, she almost fell over laughing, then of course shared the "joke" far and wide. I'm not sure why they are so derided, but I love my jar openers. I have a silicone grabby strip that usually works,  but my never fail is one I bought a few years ago - an old timey toothed "V" type screwed to the underside of a cupboard - that sucker will open anything from stubborn nail polish bottles to huge warehouse store jars. :) Once I got that one I was able to get rid of almost all of my various jar openers, just keeping the strips because they are a multitasker and two together can be used as a trivet, or to put under a cutting board to keep it from sliding about.

#30 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 7:01:18 PM(UTC)
Several years ago I picked up an inexpensive set of tools at a discount tool store that were meant to be used for tightening oil filters but those little buggers are the perfect jar openers in the kitchen too. They have a rubber strip that you pull tight around the jar lid and a nice handle that you grab and pull to open the lid. My set came with three sizes. I gave the big industrial size to my husband for the garage and I kept the smaller ones for the kitchen.
#31 Posted : Saturday, November 11, 2017 7:48:30 PM(UTC)

Was the joke because it was an electric tool, or because it was simply a tool other than your hands? Electric jar openers seem to me like an unnecessary complication, like electric can openers - why use a 'lectric when there are so many good manual ones? But if you have a pinched nerve, then anything that opens the jar without inflicting pain will do. I have four types of manual jar openers: one shaped like a truncated cone, one a porous "sheet" of silicone, one that has two long handles that you squeeze together, and the JarKey that you use to pry up the lid and break the airtight seal. No one variety does all the jobs but every jar will open with at least one. It's the same with manual can openers. One non-culinary implement I use as kitchen tool is for leveling dry measurements. Some sets of measuring spoons come with a leveler; most don't. Food writers usually advise to use the back of a table knife as a leveler, but those who design flatware design for looks, not usefulness as a straightedge. I use a 6" or 7" ruler.

#32 Posted : Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:29:01 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: bittrette Go to Quoted Post
Was the joke because it was an electric tool, or because it was simply a tool other than your hands?

It was that I needed any kind of a tool to open a jar - basically she thought I was a wuss because I couldn't manhandle a jar open barehanded - I was giving in to the "weak female" stereotype.   ;-p pffft!

If you have hand strength or pain issues things like opening jars and using a can opener can really be a challenge, so electric versions definitely have their place. It took up counter space, but for me, at that time, it was either that, or wait for my husband to get home from work, or not use anything in jars. It really made a difference for me, and many meals would have been late or undone without that helper. Thankfully things have improved and I can use less space hogging options but back then I may have said that was my most useful gadget. :)

I use my bench scraper for leveling dry ingredients. Now, that's a useful multi-purpose gadget! It can clean up the counter after a dough session, cut dough, cut brownies in the pan, level, lift, scoop, trim, frost...

#33 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 11:57:49 AM(UTC)
Somehow the term "bench scraper" had never registered in my mind, so I had to look it up. The images in the list of results looked like quite a few I'd seen on Amazon so now I wonder why it's called a bench scraper. (I use my Amazon wish lists as general desiderata lists, whether I buy from Amazon or not.)

What I also found were a lot of lists on cooking sites of must-have kitchen utensils - one listed 71 of them! But a bench scraper must be on a lot of such lists, so thanks to alerting me about the versatility of this oddly-named utensil. What kind of bench was a bench scraper intended to scrape? Something outside the kitchen?
#34 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 1:13:17 PM(UTC)

Funny how our life experiences influence how we think of things. For as far back as my memory goes my dad has always had a "bench" in the garage. It's his primary work surface, so when I hear bench I first think work surface (most people probably first think of a place to park their tushy), so a kitchen bench scraper made perfect sense in my mind. I have occasionally seen the term bench or workbench show up referring to food prep areas in a kitchen, most frequently it seems to apply to stand alone work tables or islands.

The place where it really excels, and the reason I originally bought mine, is scraping off the bits on a smooth counter or work surface left after working with bread or pastry dough. It used to take me forever to get my granite counter cleaned up after working with yeast dough. If I use the scraper first it makes cleanup a lot faster. 

#35 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 2:11:34 PM(UTC)

I have also found a bench scraper very useful -- I always cut scone dough into wedges with mine -- among other things!

#36 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 2:17:03 PM(UTC)
Isn't "bench" the UK equivalent to US "counter"?

Scrapers are handy for moving quantities of chopped ingredients from cutting board to pan or prep bowls, among other uses.
#12 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 6:55:39 PM(UTC)
Originally Posted by: Rinshin Go to Quoted Post
<p>Very close.&nbsp; It's to make tokoroten "noodle" which is made from agar agar.&nbsp; Agar agar does not require refrigeration to set unlike jello.&nbsp; But this is served chilled and in summer with either vinegar sauce or ponzu sauce with nori and smidgen of hot Japanese style mustard.&nbsp; You can use to this make other types of "noodles" using jello or agar agar.&nbsp;</p>

I’d love to have one if those! These agar agar noodles sound fantastic!
#38 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 7:04:08 PM(UTC)

I’m a utensils addict so it’s a hard question! I have things like strawberry spoons, gherkin tongs, a Dutch pancake maker, a salt slab for cutting meat, and many many funny stuff which make me happy :) But my favourite is a French jam funnel. It’s a large mouthed funnel which turns your jam making, pickling, preserving or just dumping stuff in a jar a really clean affair. Super simple. Life changing :)

#39 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 12:31:15 PM(UTC)
Originally Posted by: TheFloShow Go to Quoted Post
<p>I&rsquo;m a utensils addict so it&rsquo;s a hard question! I have things like strawberry spoons, gherkin tongs, a Dutch pancake maker, a salt slab for cutting meat, and many many funny stuff which make me happy :) But my favourite is a French jam funnel. It&rsquo;s a large mouthed funnel which turns your jam making, pickling, preserving or just dumping stuff in a jar a really clean affair. Super simple. Life changing :)</p>

All those you mentioned are new to me except the jam funnel. Since i like gherkins i would love to have that.

What i seem to have collected in numbers are different styles of graters and slicers. In japanese cooking, these are used often.
#40 Posted : Tuesday, November 21, 2017 2:16:26 AM(UTC)

I would say my push on garlic press, my small zester, my rotary grater and my "econome" knife

#41 Posted : Friday, November 24, 2017 4:53:25 PM(UTC)
I can't think of all of my favorites offhand, but one gadget I love is my Leifheit egg and mushroom slicer. It has blades instead of wires, so it's good for slicing mushrooms, which can be very tough.
#42 Posted : Sunday, November 26, 2017 12:31:09 PM(UTC)
Actually it sounds weird but my clementine juicer is really great. I barely ever use it (rarely need to juice clementines)... but when I do it just does the job!

The real ones I like however are still my econome knife and rotary cheese grater. Largely, I could not cook without them.
#43 Posted : Friday, December 15, 2017 10:47:36 PM(UTC)
I also have some cheapie metal condiment bowls. I used to think they were stainless steel until they failed the magnet test. They're very flimsy, and one was knocked out of shape, but I don't care because I don't use them as tableware. I use them for cracking eggs into, and if an egg is spoiled, nothing else is harmed.
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