Good Gadget, Bad Gadget — The Annual Summer Post, 2014 Edition

Around about this time each year, I get emails from the likes of Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table touting their wonderful selection of summer grilling “must haves” at up to 50% off. Last year an email from Sur la Table even included the recommendations of “Jenn the Gadget Girl,” whom I tried in vain to prove or disprove the actual existence of.

The emails always seem to arrive when I’m scratching my head about what to blog about, and in that way are like a gift. And this year, they did not disappoint.

Adding to my already formidable collection of “Good Gadget, Bad Gadget” posts is this summer’s grill edition, which as usual is heavy on the “bad gadget” side… It’s hard to believe that in a product lab somewhere on earth, people are actually dreaming these things up.

*    *    *

Our first item is a zinger. Grill baskets for your skewer kabobs! That’s like having a bottle to put your beer can in:



I thought the point of the kabob was that it was ready to go right on the grill!

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Here’s another good one, related to the last:



This is the de-kabober, it helps you get the stuff off the kabob. I always found a fork or tongs worked well for this task, but I’m not the gadget inventor, am I…

*    *    *

I’ve been sort of curious in the past about this next item, the Himalayan salt block, which seemed like it could an interesting way to grill a fish or something…

(Note salt block being used to grill previously discussed kabobs)

(Note salt block being used to grill previously discussed kabobs)

But I guess it doesn’t make sense to have a Himalayan salt block without a Himalayan salt block holder:


(At least it doesn’t make sense to the gadget inventors running out of ideas.)

*    *    *

This handy item will help keep your potatoes from rolling around on the grill:


*Amazing how all the grills in these photos look so clean and beautiful. They’ve clearly never been used to actually cook anything.

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And now, my vote for the worst gadget of the summer. Time and again, in “How to Make a Better Burger” tutorials from print magazines to food blogs, you will read the #1 cardinal sin of cooking burgers on the grill: “DO NOT PUSH DOWN ON THE BURGER!!!” All the wonderful juices will escape and your burger will cook unevenly.

And yet, here it is — the burger smasher:


If your burger is to be smashed, folks, smash it BEFORE you put it on the grill.

*    *    *

And finally, my lone entry from the “good gadget” side — not because this is necessarily a good gadget. But it’s just so darned cute:


*    *    *

Googling the squid baster, looking for a better shot, I also found the following disturbing image of the largest squid ever! (Well, at least since Jules Verne, that is…)


Have a great summer. And be careful, folks… there are things out there you’ve never even dreamed of!! (And that’s just talking about the gadgets!)


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Cleall
    Jun 13, 2014 @ 03:37:35

    The Himalayan salt block is for all your friends to lick upon entry to prove their allegiance to the group. And WOW thanks for the picture of the squid! Food for
    the imagination.


  2. Andy
    Jun 13, 2014 @ 14:38:40

    Too funny….


    • scolgin
      Jun 13, 2014 @ 15:13:05

      I just got another email from Williams-Sonoma thanking me for my interest in the De-Kabober (since I clicked on it, I guess…) Now I’m probably on the “high-probability” purchaser list for gadgets.


  3. gypsygurl64
    Jun 13, 2014 @ 15:12:08

    Finally someone that thinks the way I do! Hilarious!!!


  4. Dragnfli
    Jun 13, 2014 @ 15:55:59

    I’ve seen the Himalayan salt block and it seems like it would get gross after a couple of uses. No thank you.


    • scolgin
      Jun 13, 2014 @ 16:14:10

      Yeah, seems kinda pricey for something you’d use a few times. And what about the poor Himalayans — gringoes taking all their salt!!! Their gonna wind up with hyponatremia!!


  5. Noel Kleinman
    Jun 13, 2014 @ 16:48:42

    Hopefully my wife and kids read your blog! I want that squid baster!!!


  6. compassion099
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 18:05:23

    Wow the huge squid is terrifying.


  7. Jen @ Honeychick Homestead
    Jun 25, 2014 @ 04:46:01

    Ha love this post!!


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