Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm the Kitchen Gadget Queen

Sorting through belongings can sometimes be eye-opening. You discover an item and wonder "what was I thinking when I bought that?" Such has been the case recently while cleaning out various drawers and cabinets in my kitchen. For instance, take a look at this assortment of  molds and cookie cutters. Did I think I was starting up a catering business? Tiny molds and cups in the shape of flowers, diamonds, seashells; Christmas tree molds, star cookie cutters, gingerbread men; tiny spade, club, heart and diamond cookie/bread cutters (in the box).

I bought some of these in 1970s and have used the individual molds for party mouses, mini-cheesecakes and gelatin salads. For some reason, I'm very attached to these and will keep all of them.

Traditional Christmas cookie molds. These were the forms mother used for her cookies long ago. This is not her set; I think most of her's are long lost, but I found this set several years ago and purchased it for sentimental reasons.

Make your own cream from a stick of butter. Ah, why didn't I just go buy a carton of whipping cream?

Instructions for creating cream from butter. Who knew?

Why did I think it so important to own a potato ricer? Perfectly wonderful mashed potatoes may be created with a good old-fashioned potato masher, or a portable mixer. Williams Sonoma loves me. 

Now I admit that Creme Caramel is one of my favorite sweets, but browning/caramelizing the sugar top can be easily performed under the oven broiler. But no, I thought having a butane torch was the way to go. Live and learn!

This little number allows you to keep your butter spreadable but fresh on the countertop. The key is the butter staying in contact with water, which must be changed every 2-3 days. I've used it once or twice, but would keep forgetting to change the water.
Perhaps this is the most unused gadget of all! I suppose it has a proper name, but all I can remember is it's called a potato nest-maker. The larger basked is lined with shredded potatoes, the smaller basket goes inside to hold them in place and the entire thing is lowered into a pot of hot oil for deep-fat frying. The nests come out crispy brown and delicious and are used as a nest for vegetables such as peas and carrots . I had that dish in a restaurant once and just had to try my hand at it. That was maybe 25 years ago. I believe I have used it once and it's definitely on my recycle list.

This would have to be classified as my most recent mistake: A Soda Stream, which makes soda water (or flavored soda, if one chooses). Normal tap water, a cartridge and viola! soda water. It's not that much trouble, but it's so big, and where does one store it? Mineral water is so available. I believe this one is destined for a secondhand store. 

A German measuring tool, brought to our marriage by my husband. His mother, being the good German cook/baker that she was, presented him with his very own Messbecher many years ago. I actually do use this when making up one of her recipes because of the metric measurements. This is certainly not an item that will be discarded, but I'm only including it here because it's not an item usually found in American kitchens and I thought you might like to see one.

Neither time nor space allow me to include all gadgets to be found in my kitchen. Some are going, some are staying. I use many of them since I love "messing around" in the kitchen

What's in your kitchen that other's might find unusual? Do you love gadgets or find them just something to waste money on and occupy space?


  1. Once again: My oh my. You sure have a lot of gadget! I have not saved anything for sentimental reasons.
    There was a time around the 90´s, when I did have all sorts of kitchen stuff, like the bread machine, the yoghurt machine, the kitchen aid, etc., but there simply was no room for them in our house ( this one ), and I hardly ever used them, so I gave them away.
    Now we have a integrated tower with the microwave, oven, the capuccino machine ( looks good, used very little ), we have the Dualit toaster ( not much used ), Dualit mixer ( not much used either ), and the water boiler. That´s all. I have about 6 cookie molds, used at xmas time; new ones.
    I´m perfectly content with these, but then I don´t spend much time in the kitchen.
    When I prepare food, I do it mostly manually.
    I have a newer cook book though, as everything in the old one was in grams. I prefer reading liters. Oh, forgot, we do have a simple kitchen weigh.

    1. Perhaps you can be my role model in reducing the number of items I have in the kitchen. The tower with the appliances sounds like a very good idea; a real space saver.

  2. Remember the cookie cutters from when I had a housekeeper she used to bake with my daughter lots of small cakes + the kitchen was loaded with gadgets...all long gone have a toaster used daily,electric know about my coffee 3 tier stainless steel steamer is used daily for meals,all my vegetables are steamed where possible.

    As you enjoy cooking/baking it is necessary for you to have certain items,I have never heard of a pototo ricer or butane torch!
    Interesting to learn about new things.Ida

    1. Hearing you reduced the number of gadgets in your kitchen gives me hope that I can continue to do the same. Yes, will always retain a certain number of items, mixer, food processor because I use them a great deal.

  3. A beautiful collection of moulds - I would keep them even for aesthetic reasons alone! I also have a vast collection of cookie cutters, and with grandchildren growing hope to use them once more. Fascinating idea of returning butter to cream and I have never heard of that one. It appears the gadget is key to this process. Love the German measuring cup. I am quite ruthless about disposing of unused gadgets which tend to accumulate in the kitchen; I don't like to become overcrowded, kitchen-wise! Interesting post, thanks Sanda.

    1. Yes, I shall keep my little molds; they don't take up very much space and I think they are so cute! Most of the other items pictured will go!

  4. Very interesting and educational! Several of the things I'm not familiar with since I'm not a kitchen person nor gadget lover. I suppose we all have our "things" we waste money on but mine isn't in the pantry! No wonder yours was so filled up. The things I can't resist are garden items and I've done my share of that!

    1. You need to just slap my hand in case I'm ever tempted to purchase another gadget. No more money will be wasted on things such as these I've featured here!

  5. We have a lot in common when it comes to the kitchen. The butter maker wouldn't have appealed to me but I have a desire (so far not given into) for one of those torches. I have a potato nest thing but I stick a flour tortilla in it and deep fry it making a little tortilla bowl. Maybe you can try that and then your tool will be dual purposed. In my defense I have to say many of my "gadgets" were given to me - usually by people who don't cook and don't know you don't need gadgets to get a meal on the table.


  6. I never thought of using the potato nest for tortilla bowls! How cute. How correct you are in that none of these things are required to prepare a very nice meal. I suppose it's the child in us that wants new a new toy! At least in your case, you didn't waste money on gadgets if most were gifts! Nevertheless, they do take up valuable space!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...