We store an incredible amount of stuff in our kitchens. We're also really good at squeezing everything into drawers and cabinets, so we often can't find what we own. That's why I thought it would be good to explore some of the gadgets in my own kitchen, to try and come up with rules for what to keep, get rid of and hopefully I'll buy fewer gadgets in the future.
First let me share my favorite kitchen gadget. It's an apple peeler and it removes the apple core too. It is perfect for making apple pies or my favorite fall desert, apple cobbler with apples, cranberries and walnuts. Wikipedia says “… gadgets are small, technological objects like a device or appliance, that have a particular function.”
How Many Gadgets Do We Need?
How many gadgets is a great question because the answer will be different for everyone. Someone who spends hours in the kitchen cooking and baking every day, should have more gadgets. People who spend very little time in the kitchen, like myself, have 1 very important gadget called a microwave and I can't imagine living without mine.
For all the cooks who just groaned, don't be shocked. It's common for busy professionals to forgo kitchen duty once the kids are grown and on their own. I fondly remember the hours spent in the kitchen with the kids doing their homework. That's when I heard about their day at school, answered questions related to homework and enjoyed the family time.
Cheese Slicer – No
Can Opener Yes!
Ice Cream Scoop – No
Pizza Cutter No
Apple Peeler-Corer – Yes
Paring Knives – 1, not 2!
What Gadgets Should I Keep?
We all want to be smarter consumers and kitchen gadgets are a great place to start. Let's begin our journey by looking at gadgets I pulled out of my kitchen drawer, right behind the silverware which I use every day (except for the serving pieces).
- Cheese slicer– seems like a great concept but it rarely gets used. For sandwiches, it's easier to use pre-sliced cheese and for parties, there's the tricky matter of holding down the cheese while you cut a slice … with your fingers?
- Can opener – absolutely as who doesn't buy things in cans, which can only be opened with a hand or electric can opener. Given the number of products that now come frozen, ready to zip into the microwave, I doubt many people need an electric can opener any more.
- Ice cream scoop – is a “what was I thinking?” Honestly, I'm guessing I liked seeing a cute new green gadget but that's crazy. While we had lots of ice cream when my boys were at home, they've been gone a few years so there's no need any more.
- Pizza cutter – depends on how often you eat pizza and whether you make your own. When I was taking pictures, my husband said he'd actually used this gadget last week when the pizza place didn't cut the slices enough, but he voted to get rid of it as any knife can do the job.
- Apple peeler – is something I'll never part with. Not only was it a gift from my sister in Maine, it's really practical and probably the only reason I'm happy to make apple cobbler all the time as this tool makes it fun!
- Paring knives – are a must but how many do you need? I keep one on the shelf over my sink where it's easy to grab. Putting the 2 knives in my hands together told me I didn't need the one with the larger handle, as I like a firm grip and felt the smaller knife fit my hand better.
Rules for New (or Lost in the Drawer) Gadgets
From this simple analysis – I would keep just 3 of the 7 gadgets reviewed. What rules make sense going forward?
- Keep gadgets you use at least once a week, i.e. the knife and can opener.
- Keep gadgets you love, and ones that save you time. The best way to test these is whether you remember and use them every time, i.e. my apple peeler is key to baking apple cobbler. I'll share my recipe when I dig it out for the next cobbler!
Great article. I’m always thinking about what gadgets I need around the holidays – the time I’m digging deep in my cupboards for cheeseboards, mixing bowls, pie plates. When I come across something I haven’t used – or seen! – in years, I consider it’s time for it to go to Goodwill.
Diane, Glad to hear that you recognize when you’ve got more gadgets than you need, and that it makes sense to give it away to someone who will really use it. Hopefully that also means you can find the important things when you’re preparing for the holidays.