The Culinary Corner: A flood of gimmicks

Roger Joss
Posted 1/26/22

A flood of gimmicks

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

The Culinary Corner: A flood of gimmicks


Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights.  Allow me to give a few things to look for regarding cooking items and utensils.  The first thing to consider is from what they are made.  Items made from plastic, beware.  Your stiff plastic can break especially if cold.  Polypropylene is flexible.  But if used as a storage container, it can transfer an odor to the food.  Polyethylene items are affected by ultra-violet light and quickly deteriorates.  High density polyethylene is durable, but as a cutting surface, be sure to periodically clean it with a wire brush.  Polycarbonate is great as storage containers.  What to look for in pots and pans, cutlery as well as cutting boards was all covered in other articles.  I would now like to get into construction.

The next thing to look at is the construction of the items.  Look to see if anything could come loose and fall into the food such as screws.  I once had a roasting pan with a cover.  The handle of the cover was screwed on from underneath.  This is bad.  It should be riveted, welded or screwed from the top into a lug.  Avoid any items made with glass or has glass attached.  Make sure it can be easily and thoroughly cleaned.  One of my favorite examples is your adjustable measuring spoons.  They have a slide action that restricts the cavity capacity of the scoop.  You can get them at different ranges.  However, they are only good for dry items such as flour, baking soda, etc.  For liquid, you must go back to your conventional measuring spoons or graduated vials.  Why not just follow convention?

The other problem is that powders can get under and behind the slide plate.  If then you are measuring for two different recipes, traces of powder from the one can get mixed in with the other.  This device must be taken apart and washed each time.  These problems are never shown on television or at home parties.

This next part is much more difficult for most people except for those suffering from Asperger syndrome.  As a product is demonstrated, visualize in your mind each procedure.  After that, visualize every procedure needed in using conventional equipment.  As the last consideration, consider just how often you would need to use this fantastic razzle dazzle contraption.  If you can follow these steps, that will tell you immediately if you should spend hard earned cash on the item.  Above all, ask a lot of questions or contact a true chef.

I like collecting some of this stuff from thrift stores.  I am thinking of creating a museum of worthless kitchen gismos.  I am being sarcastic here.  But I will relate my favorite useless item.  It is a turner.  It has a spring action handle shaped like an oversized safety pin.  You squeeze the handle and the blade rotates 90 degrees so you do not have to turn your hand.

Until next time, peace to all.