Things you do not need
Simplify. Simplify. That is where I am at these days.
In my youth, I was into acquire. Especially where food was concerned. I had the pasta maker, the salad spinner, that little hand-held device you would run a green bean through to “French” it. I had a completely useless piece of equipment that was supposed to marinate meat by extracting air. It didn’t work. My cabinets and drawers were overflowing with gadgets.
So as I was thumbing through a high-end food equipment purveyor’s latest catalog, I was struck at how many useless gadgets they were offering up for obscenely high prices. A sampling and alternate, cheap, alternatives.
Rolled omelette pan ($39.95): This contraption has two square sides with a hinge. You put the eggs in one side and when properly set you flip the egg over to the other side with a special spatula also included in the price and useless for anything else. Solution: the 8-inch saute pan you already have and a regular spatula, which you also already have.
Salt and pepper mills ($90 each!): I think the only reason these mills are so ridiculously expensive is that they’re made in France. Solution: Costco has giant salt and pepper mills for about five bucks each.
Nonstick egg poacher ($99.95): Believe it or not, this item is on sale in this catalog. It normally runs $200. You have got to be kidding me. Solution: Here’s a recipe for a simple way to poach eggs that involves your basic skillet, a small dish and a slotted spoon. You can also use one of those cute French egg poachers that cost about $7 and work like a charm every time. I have two of them.
Professional multi-chopper ($39.95): It looks slightly reminiscent of the Ronco Veg-O-Matic made popular in the 1960s. Solution: Have a food processor? Go there first. No? Then use a knife.
Stuffed burger press ($12): O.K., maybe you’re willing to spend $12 on two round disks with a hinge. The idea is you mash ground beef into both sides, fill one side with cheese or whatever, and smash the two sides together. But the basic design of this thing ensures that you will press the living daylights out of the ground beef, thus producing a dense and unpleasant burger. Solution: Your hands, the best kitchen tools there are.
And last but certainly not least.
Vertical chicken roaster ($49.95): Yes, this is the fancy version of a tool needed to make beer-can chicken. To be fair, aside from two cylinders you stick up the chicken’s behind, it also comes with a perforated based to stand them on. Solution: You know this one. Bud or Bud Lite?