Stupidest Thing EVER and you may be guilty!

Posted by on Apr 18, 2010

I’ve been a fan of Alton Brown since Good Eats premiered. He’s not always entirely accurate but I’m fascinated by the way he delves into the science and mechanics behind cooking – just don’t trust his pad thai recipe.

In particular, his NO UNI-TASKER rule is brilliant. Essentially, he believes that every tool in the kitchen should perform more than one function, with the exception of a fire extinguisher. I wholeheartedly agree.

I only have 3 high quality knives my my drawer and refuse to purchase “gadgets”. This view was impressed upon me by my grandmother who could make anything under the sun with a pair of chopsticks and a cleaver. She even peeled root-vegetables with a chopstick’s square edge. So whenever I’m in the kitchen store, I want to violently shake newbies or pretentious hobby chefs that are comparing between models of garlic presses or potato-eye removers.

Infomercials are notorious for their cheesiness but also for selling the worst uni-tasking junk. This is by far the worst one yet. Allow me to present EZ Cracker, a forkin’ egg cracker/ separator that takes up twice the room as my can-opener.

Hint: watch the video.

ezcracker

But WAIT! Order now and receive a nosehair trimmer lookalike that scrambles your egg inside the shell… in case the fork’s multi-tasking ability overwhelms you.


Confession time: do you own a silly uni-tasking kitchen tool? (you can post anonymously) Ever screamed at someone that tried to buy one?


p.s. Upon further consideration (and trying to get through Food Inc. for the fifth time *yawn*), I’m thankful that these people are at least eating whole eggs and not slime from a carton.

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  • http://www.shesimmers.com Leela

    “… just don’t trust his pad thai recipe …” – Ha ha. :)

    The only unitasker I have is a cherry pitter which I recently bought in preparation for the upcoming cherry season.

  • admin

    @Leela – He shouldn’t be cooking a LOT of Asian stuff that he does ;)

    Nothing pits cherries like a cherry pitter. My grandma would have put the cherry in her mouth, spit the pit into one bowl and the flesh into another. Ok maybe not.

  • thomas

    why is the pace of food inc. too slow?

  • admin

    @thomas – great message, terribly slow pace. + my short attention span. Look! A blue car!

  • http://imlivingtoeat.wordpress.com Austin

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I have about maybe 20 knives divy-ed up between what I keep at home and in my kit that I keep in my trunk but of course, 90% of the time, I use maybe 3 or 4 ;)

  • http://www.blog.sanuraweathers.com Sanura

    This silly yellow gadget, a lemon juicer using two handles to squeeze the juice. I don’t feel like it’s getting all the juice out. Prefer the old juicer of twisting the citrus around the knob. That cleaned all the pulp and the seeds, and it wasn’t that hard to do.

  • admin

    @Sanura – I roll the citrus on the counter to burst the pulp, cut it in half, and squeeze while twisting a fork inside. I like pulp :)

  • Sally

    My niece gave me a garlic “mincer” thingy and although I never would have purchased it myself, I now cannot part with it – all that chopping is done by this little plastic garlic bulb! Sigh a good sharp knife would do better probably!

  • http://shinycooking.com Amy

    Confession! I have a TUNA CAN DRAINER from Pampered Chef. My friend gave it to me. It doesn’t even work on normal-sized cans because it’s too large in diameter! It’s basically just a plastic strainer.

    But I use that thing. It works great for what it does. And I’m not too big on gadgets so there is room in my drawers for it. Though admitting to owning it is embarrassing. :p

  • http://www.prixfixe-online.com PrixFixeOnline

    I’ll cop to a garlic press, but in my defense it was a birthday gift from a very close friend. I think I’ve used it twice.

  • http://victoriasfoodsecrets.com Victoria

    This makes me laugh. A lot. It’s funny because I first heard about this at a food bloggers dinner not too long ago. The worst thing I think I’ve used is the slap chop (although it didn’t belong to me but an unnamed person close to me). ;)

  • http://guiltykitchen.com Elizabeth

    I am notorious for harping on people who buy “gadgets”. I don’t even use a garlic press, a citrus juicer or an egg slicer. I prefer the good old quality slow food method of my hands. I grate garlic on a microplane…

    I DO have a cherry pitter though, best gadget I ever bought in cherry season. Especially if your sister lives in the Okanagan!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Hahaha, I did see that pad thai show and it really didn’t look too much like pad thai at all. But at least it wasn’t ketchup-based. ;)

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen this product advertised on TV. I do like to keep an eye out for infomercial products, hehe.

    I have _Food, Inc._ recorded on our PVR. Are you saying I *shouldn’t* bother watching it? I mean, I think I sort of know the message of the movie. =)

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Leela – I sometimes use my cherry pitter to pit Kalamata olives, so it is really a multitasker. :)

    @Mel – I also like to toss the lemon in the micro for a good 20 seconds. When your lemon is warm, you get way more juice out of it.

    My unitasker item was this pancake pan. You put the pancake batter on the one side, then when it was time, you flipped it over to cook the perfect pancake. I believe it was called the Perfect Pancake. Perfect piece of crap that is.

    Finally, as a chef, I would seriously fire anyone that pulled out a garlic press. I am partial to using the back end (the opposite of the sharp blade) and salt to make a paste.

  • http://www.noodlefever.com kt

    I’m deeply anti-gadget (maybe it’s an asian thing), but I’ll cop to owning both a lemon squeezer and a lime squeezer. I used to use a fork and my hand, but I must go through a dozen limes a week in my house, and those uni-taskers get more use than almost anything in my kitchen barring my knife, cutting board, and possibly my 2-quart saucepan.

  • rin

    i have that plastic garlic bulb, too. although i suppose it’s not a unitasker because you could use it to grind… er… herbs.

    as for you cherry/olive pitters, i use a drinking straw!

  • http://604foodtography.com Kevin

    Who can’t crack an egg?! I can crack an egg with one hand.. with both my left and right hand!

    As for that scrambler, oh my gawwwwwwwd.

    Cherry pitter yes, because we have a cherry tree in our backyard. :)

  • http://frantasticfood.com Fran

    Love this piece, but where do I begin? I’ve got a GREAT excuse though — I work for Williams-Sonoma and of course get that awesome 40% discount, so many items end up becoming part of my incredibly overstocked, but well-equipped kitchen.

    On the bright side, I use a lot of what I bring home and those things I don’t use, have duplicates of or are so similar to another tool it’s almost an imperceptible difference go straight to the donation box.

    One of my very favorite uni-taskers is my SodaStream “Penguin” soda water maker. I have stopped purchasing Diet Coke and replaced it with sparkling water or juice from fresh fruit. Not a cheap, and all it can do is put the fizz in water,but in the end, it pays for itself and it’s so much healthier and much more satisfying.

    So, that’s my confession.

  • http://breakfastlunchdinnerandpunch.blogspot.com Wizzythestick

    Living in a small spaces forces you not to have too much useless junk like this

  • jenni

    i have a garlic press… and i can’t live without it!
    smushing up garlic take way more time for me than squishing it in the press.
    i think people who are good at cooking and can do that whole chop-a-second thing wouldnt need a garlic press.
    but im not so co-ordinated, and sharp knives scare me.

  • jenni

    oh..
    and my hands are too small to do a one hand egg crack
    i wouldnt buy this.. but i would look at it in the store ;)

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com wasabi prime

    I still can’t crack an egg with one hand to perfectly split it like the pro’s, but I don’t necessarily want a special gadget for it! I do have a garlic peeler that’s very uni-taskery. It’s a tube of silicone that you put the cloves in that pulls off the thin skins if you don’t want to smash your garlic prior to chopping. I’ve used it when I had to peel many cloves at a time, although, I’ve also used it to help get a grip on champagne corks when I twist ‘em open, so maybe not a total uni-tasker??

  • http://www.chef-ofthefuture.com Robert Simon

    Finally, some peeps who get it! It seems that most of on tv products are an expensive way to fill our recycle bins!

    When are the masses going to learn that the “special deals” such as “Call in the next 20 minutes and we will double the offer” Just pay extra shipping and handling. BTW, if you only want one instead of 2, you can’t but it that way, they won’t let you.

    #1. These companies do not know when their commercials will be aired. You could wait 3 days or until just before they stop advertising and still get the special offer.

    #2. These companies plan on you not liking the product and returning it. The shipping and handling charges are how they make most of their money.

    Years ago, I bought DI DI 7. The miracle stain remover. Bottom line, doesn’t work.

    How about OXI Clean? They have made millions from this. Wanna know what it is? The same non-bleach laundry additive that can be purchased in EVERY supermarket. AND for 1/10 the cost.

    George Carlin said he was going to sell a “Left nostril inhaler, that glows in the dark and has your State Motto on it”

    He knew what was going on 30 years ago.

  • http://papawow.com papawow

    I totally agree with the uni-tasker rule and have stopped myself from making many unnecessary purchases while hearing Alton’s voice in my ear. I am the owner of a garlic press although I try not to use it. Every once in awhile I just don’t feel like getting garlic all over my cutting board and regretfully pull it.

  • http://www.sensesandstyle.com Teresa

    Funny…the other day I was chatting with Noshwell and we were saying that both of us grew up using cleavers for EVERYTHING…peeling, slicing, dicing, chopping etc.
    Still can’t believe my grandparents let a 12 yr old use a cleaver tho haha

  • seesue

    I own a can opener…. I find it very useful.

  • http://www.TheLetMeEatCake.blogspot.com Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake)

    I’m not a big gadget girl, i have a garlic press but never use it and i have a citrus juicer never use it. I’m more a chop and squeeze person.

  • http://zencancook.com zenchef

    Okay, i won’t be attempting Pad Thai on my blog anytime soon. Or i’ll wait ’til you go on vacation on somewhere with no wi-fi. :)

    People need a gadget to break eggs? Really? I bet it takes longer to fix the egg into the device than actually break an egg. Duh.

  • http://hecookshecookswecook.com Heather

    My ultimate uni-tasker.

    And I kid you not.

    Is this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C8ZDQE?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwbodaciousg-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002C8ZDQE

    It makes hard boiled eggs into a cube.

    One. At. A. Time.

  • Ken

    This is why I want a Magic Bullet. It does everything! LOL

  • http://gastronomicsblog.com PT

    Hmm… I’m a big AB fan as well, but several gadgets have changed my life… (for the better… I think… Don’t judge me…)

    1. The microplane zester
    2. Silpats

    I mean I know I don’t NEED them, but life is so much better with them than without… =)

  • http://ivorypomegranate.com Kirstin

    My mom is a big fan of buying me gadgets from infomercials. I now have a magic bullet (in addition to my blender and food processor) and two “titan” peelers (one has a “julienne” blade, and I already had a vegetable peeler). Thanks mom :-/

    @PT – I have both of those and I wouldn’t consider them one-use gadgets. I use both of them ALL of the time!

  • Mike

    Really? You yawn at Food Inc.? I urge you to wake up and watch the thing — it could very well change the way you eat.

  • Melody Fury

    @Mike – really. I’m try hard to be as selective and conscious towards what and how I eat as I can while living in the city. Not much in Food Inc. was news to me but they did a good job compilation the facts for those that are less aware. I personally found that the pace was too slow.