Last week found many of our readers up in arms about being told they didn't need a bread machine, pasta maker, fondue pot or whatever other countertop device that sits gathering dust in 90 percent of all other kitchens whose owners were unfortunate enough to have wasted money on them. While some people immediately sprang to the defense of enormous appliances like the Ronco rotisserie oven, we remain unconvinced. If you saw the Hobbit-like size of our small kitchen, you'd understand.
Even before we lived in a place with a kitchen built to accommodate exactly one-half of a person, we didn't like to clutter the room up with devices that we'd only use every once in a while. And we also don't like cluttering our precious few drawers with gadgets that have one use and one use only - and often a very suspect use at that.
Below are the ten most useless kitchen gadgets - in our experience - that you shouldn't waste your time and money on. In fact, if you own a chef's knife (and why wouldn't you?) you can accomplish at least half of the tasks on the list below that these gadgets were invented to perform. Why fix it if it ain't broke?
10. Garlic Peeler
Like we said, do you own a knife? Brilliant. Then you don't need a garlic peeler. Take your clove of garlic, put it on a steady surface like a cutting board, lay the flat side of your chef's knife on top and give it a good thwhack. The peel will come right off, all in one piece. Worried about your fingers smelling like garlic? WELL, GOD FORBID SOMEONE SHOULD SMELL LIKE THE FOOD THEY'RE COOKING. Get over yourself.
9. Mushroom Slicer
There are an astonishing variety of useless slicing tools out there. We chose this one because - honestly - how difficult is it to slice up a mushroom? This isn't like a tomato or a fresh loaf of bread. This doesn't require any skill or dexterity at all. You could hand a knife and a mushroom to a squirrel and the squirrel would be able to cut it into slices. Are we missing something here? We must be.
8. Apple Peeler / Corer
Unless you're one of those lovely people who spends all day, every day making fresh apple pies for your loved ones, there is little to no need to own an apple peeler, especially an expensive peeling/coring duo. And if you own one of these because you feel the need to peel your apples before you eat them, just forget it. You're throwing away the best, most nutritious part of the apple. Why don't you just go eat some styrofoam instead?
7. Strawberry Huller
We can think of absolutely no reason why anyone should own this. An olive/cherry pitter? Okay, fine. If you must. But a gadget that cuts the tops off of strawberries? You own one of those already. It's called a knife. Noticing a recurring theme here? And if you're worried about lopping off an extra square millimeter of the strawberry's flesh using the traditional "cut the top off with a knife method," you have larger problems than we can deal with here.
6. Shrimp Deveiner
In addition to being extraneous (why exactly are you deveining your shrimp? if you don't like the little black intestinal tract in them, just buy a sack of frozen, deveined shrimp and move on with your life), this tool mauls any piece of shrimp you stick it in. If you'd like to utterly mangle your shrimp before eating them, go right ahead. This gadget will definitely help you accomplish that task.
5. Wine Aerator
Just decant your wine like a normal person, you pretentious twit.
4. Flavor Injector
Aside from looking like a torture device out of our Silent Hill-themed nightmares, a flavor injector is too expensive and doesn't work any better than marinating or brining your meat. That's really key to all of these gadgets: If a method or tool already exists, does a better job and costs less...why in the hell would you waste your money on some newfangled, hyped-up gadget? The flavor injector is something that Lyle Lanley would sell after getting out of the monorail business.
3. Electric Knife
To create the largest possible mess in the smallest amount of time and completely butcher (not in the good way) a perfectly nice piece of meat, we recommend you buy an electric knife. Or a hedge trimmer. They're basically the same thing. Good luck with that.
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2. Egg Rings
From personal experience, we can say that not once have these ever worked. The rings don't sit flat in the pan - any pan - and the eggs dribble out of the flimsy sides every time. Do not waste your money on these, despite any dreams of perfect eggs Benedict you have in mind.
1. Clam Knife
If you can tell us that you prepare and eat clams with enough regularity to merit owning a clam knife, you can have us over for dinner and prove it. We'd love to come over and rifle through your drawers, where we'd most assuredly find every other useless piece of crap on this list as well as things we didn't even get around to like melon ballers, avocado slicers and egg cups.