I’m a bona fide gadget geek. I admit this.
That said, I’m surprisingly not a huge fan of gadgets in the kitchen. At least, not any more. Despite this, I still can’t stop myself from regularly scanning kitchen catalogs to peek at the newest version of the next big thing.
And with Thanksgiving approaching, the catalogs are full of tools designed to save you time and energy around turkey dayâ€”and leave your change purse a little lighter.
Five of my most interesting finds are listed below. Take a look and see if they have any merit for your holiday kitchen.
Five Thanksgiving Kitchen Gadgets: I’m a reformed kitchen gadget-teer
Well, mostly. When I first started to cook, I bought every interesting kitchen thing that I could possibly use. After 3 or 4 of my kitchen drawers virtually exploded with what essentially becameâ€”for lack of a better termâ€”crap (albeit rather expensive crap), I decided to go back to basics.
I got rid of a lot of stuff over the years, and I’ve never once missed anything that I pitched or gave away.
For example, I tossed my garlic peeler (you know, that little tube that looks like a Chinese finger trap) when I realized I could get the paper off a clove faster with a knife.
But I’d be really unhappy without my garlic press. I cook with a lot of fresh garlic and I hate mincing cloves by hand unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s an older version of this model by Zyliss, and I use it whenever I can get away with pressed garlic instead of minced.
Of course, gadget use depends on how you cook. At this point, there are only a handful that I can’t live without. My garlic press, surely. My meat grinder (if that counts as a gadget). My microplane. My wooden lemon reamer.
What about you?
I’m really curious about what other cooks use most in their kitchen.
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? Which do you never, ever use? If you had to toss all but three, which would you keep?
Five Thanksgiving gadgets
I’ve seen a few things in the last week that have made me raise an eyebrow. Here are a few. Some might be useful (or have a one-shot use). Others might only be good for a giggle or two.
1. Stuffing Cage
This first one is this Stuffing Cage, made by RPI Group, and sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $9.99.
The idea is that you fill it with stuffing, then insert it into your turkey before roasting. It’s supposed to make it easier to pull the stuffing out of the bird. It works with turkeys that are 14 lbs. or more.
This is a clever idea, but I’m not sure I would ever use it. (I think I just kind of like the idea of a ball of stuffing shaped like a football.) When I make stuffing, I usually cook it in a separate pan, not in the bird itself.
2. Roast and Serve Turkey Lifter
The idea with this one is that you use it as your roasting rack, then pick it up by the handles to transfer your bird to a serving platter. Once you position the rack, you slide out the red-tipped pin, the rack comes apart in two pieces, and your bird falls just where you want it. No muss, no fuss. It also comes in a mini version that holds up to 12 lbs.
If I made a giant turkey, I might consider buying one of these, as larger birds can be a bit unwieldy for a small mouse to move.
3. Nifty Three-Tier Oven Rack
The Nifty Three-Tier Oven Rack, made by Nifty Home Products, creates two extra baking shelves in your oven and can hold “heavy casseroles,” according to the description. Chef’s Catalog sells it for $19.99.
From this picture, it seems like it’s fairly secure, though I’d probably be very careful sliding the actual shelf in and out. Dimensions are: 10 5/8″ L x 13 7/8″ W x 10 1/2″ H.
Now, these racks have been around for a while, but for some reason, this one looks particularly sturdy to me. I could actually see myself using it. My kitchen only has one oven, and space is at a premium during holiday parties. It also folds flat, so it would be easy to store. All pluses in my book.
4. The Food Loop
The Food Loop by fusionbrands sells for $15 and is an adjustable silicone band that you use to quickly truss food for cooking. The idea is that it replaces traditional cooking twine and/or toothpicks. It kind of functions like a food-safe zip-tie.
Each loop is heat resistant up to 675 degrees and adjusts from 1 to 4 inches. You can also link two together for a larger loop.
I can’t decide if these are kind of useful, just plain sillyï¿½or both. Cooking.com has them on sale right now for $9.95, so if ever there was a time to try them, it would be now…
5. The Food Loop Lace
Building on the idea of The Food Loop, fusionbrands also sells a very entertaining assortment of other gadgets, including this silicone poultry lacer ($10).
This actually looks kind of neat. It would eliminate the need for threading a poultry needle and making a knot large enough that wouldn’t break through a bird’s skin with the smallest amount of pressure.
What do you think?
So…Would you guys use any of these? Do you have any personal favorites of your own? Which gadgets couldn’t you live without?