Good Gadget, Bad Gadget Pt. IV

Summer is on the horizon. Which means it’s time for a new onslaught of absurd kitchen gadgets. (Next winter’s clearance items.) Kudos to kitchen gadget inventors everywhere for their continued creativity in coming up with an infinite procession of products we didn’t even know we needed. (And, if you’re like me, you’re just clamoring for new gadgets to fill up all that empty cabinet space in your kitchen.)

As usual, when I’m finished exploring the world of the ridiculous, I will delve briefly into the truly useful — which is, sadly, a much smaller category. But first, the Hall of Shame:

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This may be the worst kitchen gadget ever invented. Thank you, Suzanna, for passing this one along:

Tuna press — to press the oil out of the tuna can... I kid you not.

And just in time for summer, these handy new grilling items (Remember, folks… these items didn’t exist just a year ago! How mankind has done without them all these millennia I’ll never know. But you can be among the first to own them!) :

A "skewer station" — makes it easier to get your food off the skewer, I guess

A meatball grilling basket. Because how many times have you gone to grill meatballs only to have them roll all around on the BBQ?

A "grill pocket"press. Did you even know there was such a thing as a grill pocket??

And just to prove that pointless kitchen gadgets are nothing new, here’s an oldie but a goodie I discovered at a garage sale last weekend. (I took a picture, but did not purchase.)

English muffin separater

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And now, the useful! For this post, I’ve chosen items from the “obscure niche” category. If you’re not a fan of German food or don’t grate your own roots but enjoy grilling meatballs, you might think I’d inverted the lists by accident.

This extraordinary item was given to me by my Austrian friend, Angelika. It’s a spätzle maker. If you never make spätzle — a German egg pasta drizzled into boiling water — never mind. But if you do, as I sometimes do — especially when wild chanterelles are popping up around my neighborhood — it’s indispensable:

Spätzle maker (not a cheese grater)

More a souvenir from the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. But being something of a raw fish connoisseur, I do use it often (You might have more difficulty locating the fresh wasabi root):

Sharkskin wasabi grater

Finally, a recent birthday gift from my wife. Instant wine aerator. Check out our informal test and draw your own conclusions:

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Greggie
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 03:37:06

    One of my favorite why-do-we-need this gadget is the Tuna Turner which of course Dave Letterman had Tina Turner demonstrate on his show back in the early 90s. Here’s the YouTube link:


  2. g
    Apr 16, 2011 @ 02:41:07

    The tuna drainer is ridiculous! What’s wrong with a perfectly good can-lid?

    As for the wine aerator – Chris brought one back from a trip he and Max made to Santa Ynez Valley. It’s very useful if you decide you want to open a red wine at the last minute – you don’t need to let it breathe, the aerator will do it for you.

    I’m not sure why, but Chris calls it the “Gurgle-ator.” I, ineptly, call it the “Google-ator.”

    We’ve started imitating the sound it makes, though, with much mutual hilarity. You should come on over with your Google-ator. I wonder what a duet sounds like?


  3. paul
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 16:20:25

    The Sharkskin wasabi grater looks like it belongs in a fraternity house at a Culinary Institute.
    “You pledges will understand the multi-task purposes of this ingenious item in time,” the Chairman for new members of Sigma Phi Nothing said with a rough, grating chuckle.


    • scolgin
      Apr 18, 2011 @ 16:23:55

      LOL, indeed! Except that the photo is a bit misleading — I should’ve included a dime in the pic for size reference. It could be used, perhaps, for said purpose in a fraternity house at the Baking Institute of the Keebler elves.


      • paul
        Apr 18, 2011 @ 19:55:26

        Lookout you little cookie baking elves . . .
        I figured it was a small tool given it is for wasabi roots but it still looked like the foil for a little humor . . . hope all is well Seamus. Big love to you and familia from L&P

  4. Suzanna
    Apr 29, 2011 @ 04:56:56

    Hooray! I knew that tuna press was the baddest!


  5. Benjamin Thompson
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 18:09:23


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