Friday, May 24, 2013

Kitchen Gadgets

This gadget is a keeper!

I am always suspicious of kitchen gadgets. Many are not worth the space they take up. Others work wonderfully, like this strawberry huller, and I am delighted to have them.

The perfect gadget is never a one-size-fits all. A tool may be very useful to one person, but not to another. An egg separator is the perfect example of this. I grew up separating eggs by cracking them in half, and pouring the yolk back and forth from one half shell to the other, letting the white drip into a bowl below.  Sometimes I just pour the egg into my well-washed hand and let the white drip out through my fingers. Both of these methods work well for me.

Then someone gave me an egg separator. It works a bit like the second method I mentioned earlier; this gadget is a plastic bowl-shaped object with open slits around a center receptacle. In theory, the yolk fits neatly into the receptacle, and the whites drip out the slits. However, if the yolk is large or double, it gets torn open. Also, you have an extra tool to wash. And it's a pain to use.

Other not-so-great gadgets include an egg piercer, which insisted on piercing my finger; a garlic press that was almost impossible to clean; a grapefruit knife that was designed only for right-handed people; a cake tester made of wire (what's wrong with a broom straw?); and a lettuce crisper, which took up a huge amount of refrigerator space and was no improvement over my usual method, which is to wash the lettuce, wrap it in a clean towel, swing it around a few times to get rid of the excess moisture, and then chill it for an hour or so.

Good gadgets, though, make food preparation easier. I'm going to list a few that I like. Your list will be different:

  • the above mentioned strawberry huller works beautifully, removing the entire hull neatly and cleanly, which is a real help is you are cleaning and chopping a large number of berries
  • a shrimp deveining knife makes removing the shells and dark vein simple
  • a hand juicer that fits on top of a measuring cup, for measuring small amounts of citrus juice juice
  • a good garlic press that can be cleaned
  • a garlic peeler, which is simply a sticky tube that removes the papery outer shell and is very useful when I'm peeling lots of garlic
  • a micro plane, which can be used for cheese, chocolate, or fruit zest
  • silicone egg poachers, which float in the water and keep the eggs tidy and dry
  • a salad spinner, which does dual duty; you can use the bowl to wash the lettuce; then it quickly removes excess water from the leaves. (Also, it doesn't need washing; only rinsing.)
What are your favorite and least-favorite gadgets?

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