Is there an organization for gadget-holics? I'm in serious need. I love kitchen gadgets, to the point that I should be granted a special favoured-shopper badge at Williams Sonoma, Chef's Catalog and similar merchants. When in doubt, my friends and family gift me with cookbooks, utensils and gadgets for every occasion. And I get excited about every single one of them. At least until the first time I try to use one.
A couple of weeks ago I received a new gadget -- a strawberry huller from my mother -- for Easter. And, even though hullers have been around for years, I've never owned one, relying instead on a small paring knife to do the deed.
Like other "holics", I hoard my gadgets. At a meeting, I'd have to stand up and admit to having boxes, several boxes, and drawers of gadgets. Some I love (in the drawers) and some I never use (hence the boxes). But for some reason, I never seem to be able to part with any of them. What if I needed to stamp my toast with an imprint of the Eiffel Tower and "Bonjour" next week? If I gave away the hot pink plastic stamp some well-intentioned person gave me, I wouldn't be able to. Note to well-intentioned friends: Think before buying.
I do, however, have a sorting method. Each new gadget is judged on 4 criteria:
1. ease of use/functionality
2. time saving ability
3. storage space required
4. fun factour
In my drawer I have, among other things, 2 Microplane graters (fine and coarse), a ceramic Y peeler, a strange looking but very effective asparagus peeler, silicone egg poachers (a four cup egg poacher is up for grabs, if anyone wants it), mango and apple slicers, a pastry scraper, a self-cleaning garlic press, a metal baster with its special cleaning brush, 4 sets of measuring spoons (you can never have too many) and 3 ice cream scoops of varying sizes. Four sets of tongs, my mandoline, and spaetzle maker are too big to fit.
The boxes are bigger and scarier. I could have (should have) a kitchen gadget garage sale. I have a bean splicer which works, but doesn't really seems to serve any good purpose. I have 6 egg separators (anyone need one?), but I much prefer to just run the egg through my fingers. I have a syringe for injecting liqueur into strawberries and a larger one
for infusing meats; an herb chopper -- actually 2, one electric and one hand held -- but neither can beat a good chef's knife. An egg cuber (for making square, hard boiled eggs), corn kernel cutter, mini mezzaluna, teapot spout sponges in assorted sizes and colours,
something that is supposed to tell you if your meat is fresh or not (supposedly takes a bacteria count at the touch of a button),and a spinning spaghetti fork are also crammed in the box. And of course, the toast stamp. And that's only the first box...
But I digress. The strawberry huller is a keeper. It was super
easy to use, worked exactly as stated and, in terms of time,
neck and neck with my knife. And a lot less messy. It was also,
I admit, fun. It's going in the drawer. If I can just find space....