A Tale of Two Gadgets

I’ve written so much about kitchen gadgets that I always find myself surprised when I find new ones to talk about, or new things to say about them.

In the past, I’ve mostly compared the virtues of good gadgets with the folly of the bad. For Christmas this year, I received two gadgets both of which, I think, fall into the general realm of the latter.

The first arrived in my Christmas stocking, and I was immediately fond of it — not so much because I imagined ever using it, but because a.) it came from Santa, b.) it had French writing on it, and c.) it had a cute little egg with a face on it.


This is the kind of gadget children love — like heart-shaped cookie cutters or the circus animal waffle press I got my one of my kids for Christmas last year.

“Oh dad!” son Flynn said the minute he saw it, “Can we make eggs!?”

I have not yet used the sandwich-shaped egg mold for several reasons. First, I don’t typically eat egg sandwiches, although I suppose I could figure out some kind of creative breakfast sandwich with eggs. Second, it looks too big to work with a single egg. So would you make a several-egg sandwich? And who would be able to eat that? Finally, it’s made out of a sort of soft rubber that doesn’t seem like it would contain an egg in a hot pan. At some point, though, curiosity will get the best of me and I’ll give it a shot. I can’t say no to that little egg face forever…

*   *   *

The second came in a deceptively nice looking bag as a gift from my friend, Jon. Now Jon has a rather curious and overactive sense of humor, so I wasn’t sure it the gift was serious or a joke — especially since he left on the $2.50 price tag from Big Lots!


“You ever seen anything like that!?” Jon said as I lifted the item from the bag. Well yes, actually, I had — the previous Christmas when my friend Justin brought me — as a joke — a similar corn butterer that his mother had given him.

This is one of those gadgets that trades on the premise that the function it performs was somehow previously so unwieldy that it required a new solution. Like tongs for lifting pasta from hot water, or a corn butterer for, ahem, buttering corn. Now besides the fact that I butter corn about as often as I buy a new pair of hiking boots, I’ve never found myself particularly frustrated at the complexity of the task. The stick of butter comes in a handy paper wrapping that makes rubbing it against corn a breeze. If that doesn’t work for you, there’s that old standby, the butter knife, that nicely grips a pat of butter whilst you brush it against the warm cob of corn. The thing that seemed like it would require the most work would be cleaning the corn butterer after you used it.

I noticed that it also said it “easily glides over pancakes,” a claim I found dubious based on the corn-shaped curvature of the opening. And yet again, have you found buttering your pancakes to be an especially challenging activity?

Fortunately, Jon redeemed himself by also bringing a rather tasty frozen chicken pie. Jon, while traveling in New Zealand, discovered the Kiwi meat pies that are served at roadside gas stations and convenience stores across the islands. Convinced this model represented a vast untapped business opportunity here, he has been nagging me for years to join him as chief culinary officer (i.e. he wants me to come up with the pies) in his entrepreneurial adventure.

Beyond whether or not New Zealand-style meat pies in heater boxes at your local Chevron was actually a feasible business idea or not, I imagined myself in a large Kubrick-esque industrial kitchen, staring down several thousand tiny empty pie tins.

Now there must be a gadget out there for making pies more quickly and efficiently…

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steve
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 17:19:40

    Watch Chicken Run and take careful notes—pie making did not work out well for the Tweedy’s.


    • scolgin
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 00:20:37

      We watched it recently (Because we’ll have to see every movie several dozen times, our kids’ movie-viewing options are limited to things we really like ourselves). I’m feeling a bit like Mr. Tweedy myself, watching our flock eying the Great Beyond outside the fence of our yard… And that’s before we even get to the pies…


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