Kitchen Gadgets

There are millions of gadgets available out there that claim to make prepping and cooking easier. Some are very useful while others are just a waste of money and storage space. When I first became interested in cooking, I had an affinity for utensil gadgets. My kitchen drawers were overflowing!

Once I went to culinary school and learned more about prep work, I realized many gadgets I owned were not needed. I purged my drawers of all the extras and am enjoying the extra space. As a fan of Food Network’s Alton Brown, I enjoyed his take on the need for kitchen gadgets and thought I would share it here.

I think Alton Brown brings common sense to this subject. He believes if a gadget only has one use then it’s a waste of money. He has very strong (often hilarious) opinions on this subject and I tend to agree with most of them. Here is a couple of my favorites taken from an article on the website Gizmodo entitled, “Alton Brown: Kitchen Gadget Judgement Calls – Yea or Nay”.

Garlic Press
• There is absolutely no reason for a garlic press to exist. It is utterly completely magnificently useless. Nay

Stick Blender
• Absolutely. Whoever invented that deserves a Nobel Prize. It’s so great for sauces, fast emulsions. I still make salad dressings in a cocktail shaker, but I would definitely reach for a stick blender otherwise. Most of them are much too ornate, though. You don’t need multiple speeds. You need on and off. If you need that much control, get a blender. Yea

Margarita Machine
• What’s that? Oh, you mean blenders with stickers on them? I believe in having a really good blender. I have a Vitamix blender, which I believe to be the finest on the planet. I suspect people who would buy a “margarita machine” have already been drinking heavily. Nay

Rice Cooker
• Rice cookers are good. I like them and use them. If a tool is used almost ubiquitously by a culture—such as the rice cooker in Japan and parts of China—there’s going to be a good reason for it. It’s extraordinarily good at doing, yes, one thing but one thing you need to do right. I especially like the fuzzy-logic models which gauge when it’s ready and switch to warming. Rice isn’t easy.

But I wouldn’t call that a unitasker. You can use a rice cooker to make steamed puddings and custards, make oatmeal in them over night. You have to ask, “What else cooks like rice?” Odds are, you can cook that in a rice cooker. Yea

My list of favorite gadgets come from the items I actually own and use in my kitchen. Please note that if I owned a Kitchen Aid mixer, it would be #1 on this list. At the moment, it stands as #1 on my wish list! 

1.Racheal Ray Cookware

​I have been through some very expensive cookware sets trying to find the ones that are right for me and the amount of cooking I do on a weekly basis. When I’m cooking for large crowds, I do not want to cook three pots of soup to make enough for everyone. I want one big stockpot to make the soup. I’ve battled with myself about nonstick vs. stainless steel for years.

My dear husband worked about 30 hours of overtime one week and used that money to buy me an Emeril Lagasse stainless steel cookware set that I had been wanting. He was so proud of himself for surprising me and I felt so loved. I used one pan only once and realized this is not the cookware for me. Stainless steel is not forgiving when things get too hot and I don’t want to spend my life scraping pans. My wonderful husband returned the cookware set and held no grudges that I ended up ruining his big surprise!

A few years later my Mom purchased the Paula Deen cookware set for me. I loved the robin’s egg blue color and the nonstick coating of these pans. I used them for a couple years but never had enough pan space for cooking and these were not made for the dishwasher. I am a busy mom, wife, teacher and caterer with lots of dirty dishes and do not have the time or desire to do them by hand.

Which brings us to the Rachael Ray hard anodized nonstick cookware…the best I’ve found thus far. Messy foods wipe right off these pans. They are dishwasher safe. The regular set of cookware is good for the average cook and I use it on a daily basis. However, Rachael also offers larger pans that match the set and are great for cooking for crowds. I love, love, love these pans!

2. Mini-Serving Spatulas

I have been a huge fan of Pampered Chef products for many years. Most of my overflowing gadget drawers were due to all the parties I attended or hosted over the last 10 years. I have now come to realize that some of those gadgets are just not needed in my kitchen but this one will always be a necessity. Pampered Chef’s mini serving spatula is the goddess of easy food service! I use them for everything from serving cake to lasagna to chicken nuggets. I’ve stocked my kitchen and my church’s kitchen with them several times over. Just a few years ago, Pampered Chef started offering a nylon version for nonstick pans. I use both types depending on what pans I’m using.

 

3. Immersion Blender

immersion.blenderThis type of blender always intrigued me when I seen them used on food television shows. The moment I started making a copycat recipe of Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar soup, I just had to have one of these. I actually have the orange one pictured here and was able to snag it for a great price at Kohl’s around Christmas time. It is great for soups, smoothies and sauces. The metal end comes off easily and can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, and the blender’s shape makes it easier to store than a regular blender.

4. Batter Pro Bowl

batter.bowlI found this batter bowl in my Mom’s basement and thought this thing is too big and bulky to store. I had it in the donate pile and then decided to do a little research on the product. Low and behold this thing can batter fish, shrimp, chicken, etc without making a big mess. I also found only one place selling them for around $10 online. The other sites I found was asking $20-$40. It is a highly sought after item but not readily available anymore so I decided to give it a try. I shared a Southern Catfish recipe with you all the other day and I’m happy to say I used this batter bowl and it worked perfectly. While it is big & bulky, I will be finding a place to store it!
If you would like to buy one for your favorite fisherman, you can purchase them online from Academy Sports+Outdoors for $9.99 plus shipping.

 

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