8 Kitchen Gadgets That Are a Complete Waste of Money
Does your Sushi Bazooka, Bacon Master, or Robot Nutcracker bring you joy? Unlikely! Stave off kitchen gadget temptation, and clutter, as we unveil which tools lurking in your cabinet—from the everyday to the absurd—should never have been purchased in the first place.
Hard-earned cash spent on this useless gadget may as well be tossed in the garbage along with your overripe avocado, says Alma Schneider of Take Back the Kitchen. Shneider purchased one herself based on the promise of perfect-looking slices and “it looked cool,” she says. “Then I realized I had a brain. If an avocado is ripe enough to be eaten, it can easily be scooped out with a spoon or butter knife.” Here, Schneider shares one of her favorite gadget-free recipes.
Step 1: Rifle through appliance drawer looking for gadget. Step 2: Rinse dust and bacteria-laden bits of garlic off press. Step 3: Peel garlic, place inside, and press. Step 4: Shift garlic several times inside press, press again. Step 5: Scrape garlic off press. Step 6: Become frustrated because lots of garlic is not pressed and/or stuck in the holes. Step 7: Spend five minutes attempting to [unsuccessfully] clean press. Step 8: Shove in back of drawer, with hearty disdain, where it takes space away from useful multi-purpose items like…a professional chef’s knife, which, by the way, chefs across the cutting board agree, is really all you need to peel garlic properly.
Eggstractor egg peeler
Schneider explains that Eggstractor egg peeler arrived in her home as a presumed and well-intentioned hostess gift (in retrospect, she wonders if he had been joking). “It didn’t work at all,” she says, quickly banishing it to the back of the cabinet and eventual donation. “The best way to peel and egg is cooking it well and peeling with your hands.”
If an inanimate object could ever make you “peckish and miserable,” it’s the spiralizer—say the gadget pundits over at the Telegraph. This gadget-of-the-times (aka “because you are trying to imitate food Instagrammers”) is bulky, impossible to clean, and representative of your highly-filtered reality that will never come to spiralized fruition. To wit: After a rather short period, the writer was ready to “shunt the wretched thing to the back of the cupboard.”
“Seriously, a banana slicer?” says Schneider. “Bananas are so soft you can practically cut them with air! Use a fork, a knife, or a spoon. Even dental floss!” For a laugh, she suggests perusing these rather sarcastic Banana Slicer Amazon reviews. However, the bottom line is: As with the banana slicer and other similar objects (the “Fastest Orange Peeler in the West” comes to mind), if you’re someone who makes fruit salad (um, with bananas) literally every morning, or egg salad for lunch on the reg, you may be members of an elite team who truly needs a unique kitchen gadget. But for the rest of us, it’s best to spend your money on actual food.
Electric can opener
What’s typically around 5″ x 6″ x 8.5″, has a blade that accumulates grime, and is only for the laziest of us with acres of countertop to spare? Correct, the electric can opener. While the first of its kind debuted in the 1930s, as reported on the interwebs, the modernized 1956 version—in “popular colors of the era,” e.g. Flamingo Pink, Avocado Green, and Aqua Blue—elevated it to kitchen gadget stardom. Be like liberated Betty Draper and toss this in the donation bin ASAP (and/or don’t buy one to begin with). And if you’re eating too much canned food, best use the extra muscle to open it, anyway.
Yes, this is only a $5 gadget. Fine. But why not spend that on five 5-for-$1 boxes of actual pasta instead of an item that will end up in the landfill (not to mention, its shipping box?). Skip this step and err on the side of more—for delicious late night leftovers or the kids’ lunch. Pasta is a good thing anyway—if you choose the whole grain version, say Tufts researchers. If you must measure, Lifehacker.com suggests using a rinsed out soda bottle.
Please don’t buy specialized gadgets for produce with an abbreviated in-season. Live like the Italians, and buy fruit based on nature’s cycle—which, for strawberries, is about 2 to 3 months in late spring depending on where you live. Enough said. Yet, using this in-season or not, it’s completely unnecessary (again, get a proper chef’s knife). Speaking of Italian, here are 12 Italian phrases everyone must know.