In a Gadget World


Post by community member:

As I was cutting cucumbers for yet more pickles, my mind went to kitchen gadgets and salesmanship. I reflected on such things as Ginsu knives, juicers, fryers, flippers, egg cookers, microwave specialty cooking items, special frying pans, vegetable and fruit peelers, new tabs on the baking soda, perfect pasta drainers, special cloths for wiping up after cleaning, and even deals on the recipes themselves and joining an eternal recipe commitment. Oh, I almost forgot the special gadgets to hold/store the recipes. Of course this is only a small sample, but I really got to thinking.

Is there really such a thing, for example, as the perfect knife? I’m cutting cucumbers and cleaning up tomatoes. My knife works, didn’t cost me too much, and I don’t have to worry about some special care for it. Hmmmm. According to door-to-door salesmen, there are perfect knives, but they cost about ten times what my on-sale deal cost.

Would these knives really make my life feel better and cooking/baking more enjoyable?

Perhaps a few of my brain cells are wasting their time on this, but I seriously am thinking of this. I know through forums and lists lots of people that are frugal and cook and bake, and they enjoy it! Gadgets fill my commercials when I watch TV. Wow, how full my house would be if I actually purchased some of those items. How much of my time is filled with someone trying to sell me that perfect item for my kitchen? It’s in magazines, on websites, television, at my door….

If only they’d come to my door and try to sell me the items we canners and cooks share with each other as truly needed products: pressure canners, steam juicers, big mixers (I have Kitchen Aid), attachments for the mixers, proper fruit pitters and strainers…. Now, that would be a different world all together. We’d be happy to see them up close and personal and even have them demonstrated in our kitchen–like they do with vacuums!!

I know there are many at CITR that have great instruments that they have found priceless in their kitchens. This is a great/excellent time to post them and those of us who do blogs could help pass on needed information! Wouldn’t that be awesome? We have talked of pressure canner fears, antiques special to one, antique/priceless old recipes, steam juicers…. Time to ask away and see if there is something you’d love to see in more detail. We are all here to share. And most cooks and canners are mighty frugal. That’s part of why we are cooks and canners!

As to TV gadgets, I haven’t actually seen even one that tempted me yet. What my friends have shared with me as “needed” and “gotta haves” have made my life better–and that’s friendship.

You can also find Moopsee at Yahoo’s Canning2.

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  1. glenda says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic.

    Here is a list of kitchen tools I wouldn’t be without: Large mixer (KA), Food processor(if you have this you don’t need a blender), large electric skillet (I cook entire meals in this).

    My latest most favorite gadget is a spider. I think I paid under $10 for it and use it almost daily. How did I get this old and not have one of these?

    I have been seriously considering some sizable purchases for preserving food. They will cost a lot so I have begun wondering if I really, really need them.

    A food dehydrator
    Nutrimill Grain Mill (am considering grinding my own flour; I have raised a plot of dent corn this year (cornmeal corn). I have a local source for wheat berries.
    and then Susan just had to show us her juicer so now I am adding it to the list.
    I would love to hear from any who have these two “gadgets”.

  2. CindyP says:

    I LOVE kitchen gadgets! I have A LOT of kitchen gadgets, most of them have been given to me. But I don’t use a majority of them.

    My favorite knife is a cheapy paring knife from the hardware store, you know the ones with a plastic handle. I can whittle anything with that! And it sharpens, too! Anything of large quantity that needs to be sliced or chopped goes through the Oster!

    I have an Oster Kitchen Center (mini version of a kitchen aid) with quite a few attachments — ricer (juicer), grinder, shredder, chopper, blender, food processor, slicer. These attachments take the place of quite a few of my other gadgets. I’m hoping my attachments will fit a KA, the motor is starting to fail.

    I also have a pair of large heatproof, waterproof gloves that go up to my elbows. They came with my rotisserie. I use these for getting things out of the PC or BWB.

    Other gadgets that I can’t live without (but never knew that before CITR) are:

    Excalibur Food Dehydrator – 9 trays with temp control and timer!

    Steam Juicer — go to the forum topic and you’ll know why!

    Pressure Canner — 23 qt, so I can use it as a BWB, too. No need for an extra pot.

    After making that list, I think I have some purging to do!!!

  3. NorthCountryGirl says:

    I’m like CindyP. I love kitchen gadgets, too. My absolute favorite; the one I cannot live without is my Santuko (hope that’s spelled right) knife. It is balanced and cuts like a dream. Which also brings up my steel. I use the steel to sharpen my Santuko knife…couple of swipes and I’m good to go.

    Next favorites are my 99 cent cheapy paring knives that surprisingly out perform the more expensive ones. This would be followed by my silicone spatulas and cutting mats. My KitchenAid mixer is next as I love this thing. It mixes, kneads, and has attachments for shredding, slicing, stuffing, making pasta, and grinding. My Kitchenaid cookware would be next in line. Lastly would be the special gadgets: pizza cutter, lemon nozzle, pizza stone; and my wisks.

    I’m not a shopper, but when I do shop I always end up in the kitchen gadget section. This is like a “Culinary Disney World” as I browse and browse. After all, they may have something I don’t have. I’m addicted to these things. I have gadgets hanging all over, stuffed in drawers and cupboards. I have very few things I splurge on but I love Kitchen Gadgets!

  4. trinav says:

    I don’t have any big gadgets, but i would love a kitchen aid mixer. but the ones I tend to use everyday are my pampered chef goodies.
    My stainless steel pans I bought from them are just amazing, not to mention I would be lost with out my microplane, my veggie scraper, it does it all, cores tomatoes, strawberries, scraps seeds out of cucumbers and hubby uses it the most to deseed his jalapeƱos before he stuffs them for the grill.
    but I would have to say my absolute favorite is my Mouli, found at an estate sale still in the original box with instructions. It’s a little rough but it still dices , slices and shreds.There are many more gadgets I lust over but don’t really need.

  5. rileysmom says:

    An excellent subject! I think my favorite kitchen item is my Santoku knife; it’s used many times a day. Then a set of All-Clad cookware.
    I don’t go for one-function items; I prefer everything to multi-task. I do have a KitchenAid that I used frequently and a bread machine that I never bake in. Though the bread machine mixes up dough; it’s a timesaver for me.
    I don’t have a ton of gadgets; a bench scraper and microplaner and wooden spoons, spatulas and a few whisks. Even though the kitchen is my favorite place to be, I’m a bit of a minimalist.

  6. Vicki says:

    Glenda, I have an excaliber dehydrator and a grain mill (not a Nutrimill, but does the same job). They are both very important parts of my kitchen. With the dehydrator I preserve all those bits of fruits and veggies that might otherwise go to waste, plus make things like fruit leather and homemade raisins. My dehydrator pays for itself. With my grain mill, I am able to make 100% whole wheat bread for just pennies, and it tastes better than anything I can buy. It has also paid for itself many times over, and I eat much healthier because of it. I highly recommend both.

  7. judydee says:

    I agree with all about the Kitchen Aid mixer. The one I use is about 20 years old, and still going strong. But I found a really good deal (I mean a REALLY good deal) on one a couple of years ago, and bought it for when this one is no more. I also love my teflon oven liner as I have an older stove with no “self-cleaning” feature. The kitchen item I have recently been appreciating the most however, is the 16 quart pot my husband bought before we married. It is a stainless steel pot with an aluminum core in the bottom so it heats evenly and holds the heat well. No hot spots. At the time he paid $80 for it, and I was in shock for days. It has really proved to be a good investment tho, as I use it for cooking jelly and preserves without worrying about sticking. Also for stews and even very large quantities of rice which comes out perfectly “every time”.

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