Harmonious Homestead
Connecting Farms & Families In Central Ohio

Stories

connecting food and families in Columbus Ohio

Kitchen Tools You Do NOT Need {Friday Five}

Can I ask a favor? I am a finalist in a food photography contest on Feastie. If you have a second (no registration necessary) can you vote for 'Beach Food in the Bahamas'? I would really appreciate it! organized kitchen

Wanting a distraction from client work and house work, I sat down last night to spend a gift card at Williams Sonoma earned for participating in the Foodie100.

Very quickly I was ranting to Alex about unnecessary kitchen gadgetry. The proliferation of tools that are single use, duplicate a function a simpler tool can perform, or plain don't work is exasperating and not at all limited to Williams Sonoma. It's no wonder people think cooking is difficult when stores sell so many confusing kitchen tools.

That is not to say that our kitchen isn't full of utensils. We own at least a half dozen spatulas for different uses. Our drawers contain several duplicates of tools we use most often. And yes, in the dark bottoms of cabinets you can find a few cutesy or single use tools languishing until I get a chance to donate them to someone who might want them more.

At any rate, here are five of the non-essential tools that caught my wrath:

Vertical chicken rack, i.e. beer can chicken holder - Pssstttt...the beer can will hold the chicken upright just fine! Don't spent $30 (or $175! for a Staub version) on a piece of metal that will just get grossed up with chicken juices!

Flexible silicone spatula in the shape of anything - Star Wars, Cars, Snow White and other characters were not created to be smooshed flat, cut out of silicone and slid under pancakes. You know what they do in protest? Ruin your breakfast.

Mustard scoop - Who has no thumbs and doesn't do a useful thing except clutter up the utensil drawer? <---that guy

Waffle tongs - See above. Who creates these things?!

Measuring spoon that says 'pinch' - Look how cute it is? It says pinch or dash or smidge! Seriously, if a baker can't pinch two fingers together to hold a smidge of this or that, they need help beyond what a set of measuring spoons can offer.

Avocado/watermelon/egg/banana/potato/tomato/jalapeno slicer/knife/cutter - If it is designed to cut one vegetable or fruit in one precise way, great. How many varieties of produce do you buy in a year? How big is your knife block? My guess is those two numbers don't match and a single sharp pairing knife can do the job of all these tools.

I must say that the Williams Sonoma catalog actually made me search a good long while to find all these unnecessary utensils. I enjoy how the site populates recipes that search terms. The list of tools I want to buy (big wire strainer, vegetable/nut hand chopper, le creuset terrine, oversize mortar and pestle, fluted bundt pan, all clad anything, le creuset anything, etc.) is much bigger than the goofy tools.

It's possible that some of you own and use what I consider non-essential. If it works for you - enjoy. But in the interest of simplicity and functionality, I try to fill my drawers with select highly-useful tools and I encourage you to do the same.

What odd tools do you love and use often? What have you seen or been given that are a complete waste of time?