Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Five Kitchen Devices that Should Only Be Used for One Thing

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you'll know that I am not overly fond of kitchen gadgets that are only good for one specific task. I'm thinking about items like the "Duralast String Bean String Extractor", "Chef Jimmy's Pork Rind Warmer", or "Cretino's Dry Spaghetti Breaker." I like items that have multiple purposes even if I have to come up with the ideas myself. I mean, who among us hasn't used a big can of spaghetti sauce from the pantry, a large cookbook, or Uncle Andy's wooden leg (but only when he's napping) to pound chicken breasts?

Face it, I just don't like kitchen clutter so I make it a point to buy items that multi-task. However, there are some kitchen devices that are pretty much good for only one thing and one thing only. To use them for unintended purposes could result in injury, death or a butt-load of embarrassment at your next big shindig.

Using the icemaker to create frozen daiquiris. Most people dislike the fact that frozen daiquiris become diluted as the ice melts. Some of us have tried to circumvent the problem by hooking our icemakers up to vats of rum-infused daiquiri mix. Only one problem: You need water pressure to make it work. Petitioning the water company to add a second "booze line" is a waste of time. Just ask the citizens of Key West. (However, I understand some Caribbean countries, like Barbados, have a two-spigot system. One for rum and the other one for dark rum.) The only other alternative is to mount a cooler on your roof, fill it full of booze, and run a line to your icemaker. The force of gravity should be enough to fill your ice machine. The downside is that after you run out you have to climb up onto the roof to refill it. Not a good idea after you just drained it dry at a party.

Oh and by the way, stapling two wires to the cooler and running them down to the back of your big-screen TV will not provide you with free satellite TV. I'm just saying.

Using the microwave oven to take out the chill in a room. There's a reason they put that screen with little holes in it on the microwave door. And there's a reason they installed a switch that won't allow the oven to operate unless the door is closed. You see, microwave ovens don't actually create heat; its radio waves excite the molecules in water and fat thus creating heat. Remember, human beings are 98% water (and many of us are also 98% fat) so bypassing the switch on your door to run the microwave with it open will, indeed, warm things up a bit. But not in the way that you or any of your guests expected. You feeling chilly? Grab a butter knife and stick it into the nearest electrical outlet. It's faster and cheaper.

Using the electric knife sharpener on other utensils. Knife sharpeners are great for knives. Everyone knows a sharp knife is a safe knife. But it is not good for forks and spoons. Think about it; when was the last time anyone ever complained that your forks weren't sharp enough? Of course, if one of my dinner guests did just that, I'd ask them to repeat it. After I stabbed them in the hand while asking, "Sharp enough for you, Bob?" And although the idea that a razor sharp spoon or ice cream scoop would get the ice cream out of the box quicker, the risk of injury from a utensil that is not normally regarded as "sharp" runs very high. Especially if you have kids. Or anyone in your house that suffers from "the shakes."

Using the garbage disposal as a blender. One would think that a two-horsepower device that can grind pork chop bones into tiny fragments would be the ideal implement to use as a blender. Forget it. Everything you put in it just winds up going down the drain. That's not so bad if you're just making creamed split pea soup (I mean, who's gonna eat that crap anyway?) but it tends to get expensive if you're whipping up a batch of margaritas. Of course, one could temporarily disconnect the plumbing so that the disposal drains into a pitcher. But it still may not be a good idea. Particularly if you recently used it to grind up a bunch of pork chop bones. No one likes having to use a toothpick after drinking a margarita. Trust me on that.

Using the exhaust fan above the stove to chop veggies. Removing the screen and using the fan as a vegetable chopper is a better idea in concept than it is in real life. (It especially sounded like a great idea after a couple of garbage disposal margaritas.) I mean what could be easier? Just put a big bowl on the stove under the fan, flip that baby on, and hurl some carrots, onions or celery up into it. Right? Wrong. You see, while most of the pieces will fall back into the bowl some pieces are bound to go up the vent. Which is a bummer if your vent empties out anywhere near the neighbor's Jacuzzi. (You shoulda seen the look on their faces when they went out to take a moonlight dip!)

On a side note: whose lamebrain idea was it to design range hoods that don't vent to the outside, but instead empty out through the front right into your face? I bet the engineers down at Kenmore busted a gut coming up with that one. (Sorta like the clowns in China at Shwang Automotive who re-engineered their exhaust systems so they would empty into the car, which not only keeps the occupants warm during the winter but also addresses the problems of smog, global warming and excess human population all at the same time.)

So how 'bout you? Have you ever tried using a kitchen device for unintended purposes? What were the results? I'm sure other readers (and ambulance-chasing attorneys) are anxious to hear about your experience.

Warren

59 comments:

  1. This is great! I tend to use my bench knife for just about everything!

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  2. @Emily. Thanks for stopping by again, :-) I don't have a bench knife (I'm not much of a baker) but my chef's knife sure gets a lot of multi-use!

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  3. I think I might have tried some of these....if I was still blonde!

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  4. @Claire. Glad it brought a smile! More blog buffoonery to come. :-D

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  5. Melana PejakovichJuly 20, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    When it comes to opening jars, I am not exactly the Arnold Schwarzenegger-ess of the kitchen. So I kept buying all sorts of one-trick gadgets that were supposed to help with jar opening and none of them worked. One day I grabbed one of my tableware knives from the drawer, tapped along the top outer edge of the sealed lid with the end of the knife handle and voila! The seal broke and the jar opened very easily! To this day, I have an old tableware knife set aside for jar opening, because I had a drawer full of knives with scratched or dented handles after discovering that they were actually "a multi-use item"!

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  6. Omg. This post is hilarious. You are too funny. Kids -- I mean people -- do the darndest things... (almost said dumbest but didn't want to offend people. oops, I just used it. darn).

    Definitely a new follower :)

    -Carly
    www.createliveblog.com

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  7. I could not stop laughing while I read this - man you are funny. Thanks for the important science lessons....some of these ideas make me think of the Darwin awards! [standing ovation]

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  8. @Melana. Now...that's the type of ingenuity I admire! :-)

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  9. @Carly. LOL. Heck, offend me? That'd be dumb (oops, just said it myself. Crap...) It certainly appears that your funny bone is intact - glad you're following!

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  10. @Di-licious. Thanks! (And to be honest...I've done so many lame-brain things that they send me a Darwin Award every year, whether I'm actually nominated or not, lol).

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  11. @Di-licious. Oh...and how'd those brats turn out? :-D

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  12. This was just great! I nearly spluttered coffee all over my screen as I was reading. Making a note not to read your site while drinking unless I need a screen cleaning. :P On a side note, while microwave ovens fail for taking the chill out of the room, a gas stove works quite well. I used mine quite often this past year to save on the heating oil we use to heat our apartment here.

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  13. @rhymeswiththyme. Gotta love it! This is what I mean by multiple uses. I write a blog and you get your computer screen cleaned, LOL. Also, great tip about the gas stove. I remember many a folk doing just that when I lived up north.

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  14. Was given a garlic wrap/peeler (one of those rubber mats you place a clove section with paper on it inside, wrap it up and voila, the paper comes off)... well, that just takes more time than I want to mess with so I just keep it for opening jars. It doesn't slip and most jars pop open on first try!

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  15. you're hilarious. this one was super-good.

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  16. That was awesome. And- yes, what is up with range hoods? Mine just sucks it up from hip level to blow directly in my eyes.

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  17. Thanks for checking out my blog. Am now following you as well. Hilarious post. Why have I never thought to use my garbage disposal as a blender? duhhh

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  18. Haha! I use the cheese grater blade on my Cuisinart to make snow cone ice for vanilla vodka lychee slushies....and I use my portable butane burner on my flat top stove to cook in my wok! What else do I do? Hmmmm....food for thought. GREAT POST, dear, I loathe stupid kitchen gadgets (like a Smores maker!)

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  19. hahah!! very good! long before hair straighteners, I used the family iron on my hair. Worked a treat !

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  20. @Peggy. Where there's a will (and some creative thinking) there's a way! :-)

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  21. @Sarah. My first couple were like that. Then I moved to a place where the exhaust vented to the outside - I thought: This is awesome! :-D

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  22. @Katie. Probably for the same reason I don't use it anymore: having to use toothpicks after drinking garbage disposal cocktails. Bad form for sure. LOL.

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  23. @LaDivaCucina. Awesome tips, Laura! (And yes, that s'mores maker was a hoot, wasn't it)

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  24. @Jenny. Now that's a creative use for an iron! (as long as you don't try it when you have the hiccups!)

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  25. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the visit.

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  26. Hiiii =) First of all, thank you for following my blog^^ Wow, I just learned something from reading your blog. I thought it was normal to throw the little sizes of food to disposable and let it grind. But....how come no pictures in your blog?

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  27. That's funny stuff. I was about to use the meat tenderizer for a hammer one day until I thought about what my wife would do if she saw me.

    I didn't want to even imagine what she might do to me with that meat tenderizer!

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  28. @Fresh Garden. Thanks for dropping by!

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  29. @Gria Loka. Feel free to use the disposal at it was intended, lol. Just be sure to use a bucket if you're going to use it as a blender. :-D

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  30. @Curt. You sure lucked out! (I wonder how many of us have been tempted to use a meat tenderizer as a hammer so we wouldn't have to shlep all the way out to the garage to get one.)

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  31. This is too funny! I am also not a fan of kitchen gadgets. I just had a friend expressing his excitement of an attachment to his mixer that could take the seeds out of strawberries. A ceiling fan is a poor substitute for a hood. Even the crappy ones that blow back in your face!

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  32. Hilarious! Thanks for laugh! I really needed it.

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  33. @Paper Plates and China. You're welcome! I hope you'll stop by often, especially when you need a laff. Oh...and be sure to bring along some of that Island Shrimp. :-)

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  34. Rolling pin works great as a massager :D

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  35. @Gastrophoria. Hmm, Tsz. Now we've entered interesting territory. Would you care to expound for me...er...I mean...our readers? :-)

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  36. Warren I've made many a super daquiri from the ice maker! whatche talkin bout willis??

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  37. Clever ideas! :) Thanks for the helpful post!

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  38. Hmmm, how do you feel about immersion blenders? They are pretty practical - you can also use them to mix cement, etc. for home repairs if done in small batches ')

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  39. @Kimber. Glad you enjoyed the post. Feel free to drop by again!

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  40. @Confessions of a Culinary Diva. I use my immersion blender for several tasks (ie: making bread crumbs from old bread) but I've yet used it to mix cement! :-D

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  41. Hilarious on the garbage disposal!! HELLOOO! When we first became homeowners a few years ago and I was a newly-wed with little knowledge of garbage disposals I started using it like a food processor! Omg. I would throw EVERYTHING down there- apples cores, carrot ends, celery stalk ends - you name it! Couldn't understand why the dang thing jammed up until my darling husband explained to me that it's basically to be used for crumbs and debris that come off the plates- not as a juicer or food processor! Eek!

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  42. @Udo. Too funny! I learned really quick that things like potato peels and the like do not do well in most garbage disposals. But we once lived in a place that had a mega-horsepower, ultra-quiet, give-me-all-you-got disposal. Heck, it not only gobbled up chicken bones and every size vegetable known to man, it also made mincemeat of an old computer, a chipped bowling ball, and one pesky neighbor who never learned to clean up after his dog... :-)

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  43. This is very funny..even in the posted comments! I adore all the small kitchen devices...that's why I use my cleaver for swapping flies :)

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  44. @Santy Gibson. Oh, my. This is too funny! Please drop by often - you're sense of humor fits right in!

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  45. I love this post. When my food chopper broke, I started using my All-Clad measuring cups to pound nuts and breadcrumbs, graham cracker crusts, etc. in a ziplock bag.

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  46. @Heather. What a great use for measuring cups - although I'm sure All Clad won't be advertising them as such! LOL

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  47. this post is hilarious.....when my inlaws come over today and complain I may just heat things up /w the microwave ;) haha

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  48. @AliMc. LOL! Just don't mention you read about it here

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  49. @Shelley. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed. And hey, if you ever get over to Florida, you must make time to give me and the fam some diving lessons. We've always enjoyed snorkeling in the Keys, but now there are some deeper reefs that are calling our name. :-)

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  50. This was funny. I have to come back and check all your posts.

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  51. Hi, Warren -- finally checking you out, thanks for the invite via Foodbuzz. I am laughing out loud at your theory on pounding chicken breasts. Me? I use a 10# dumbbell and have the blog post to prove it. Looking forward to reading along with you. I love to laugh and your take on food is right up my alley!

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  52. @jugglingwithjulia. Thanks for stopping by! Love the dumbbell idea. Just remind me not to upset you while you're pounding chicken breasts. I have a very sensitive face. :-)

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  53. Fan-tas-tic. And those range hoods are for the places where the law says you MUST have a range hood, but there is NO way to run a vent. Brilliant!

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  54. @Charlene. LMAO! So you've had one, too!

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