Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stuff You Don't Need

These are called pizza scissors--you don't need them
When my brother and I lived in the same town, we would frequently order pizza on a late Sunday afternoon, and then eat it while I did laundry and he just sat there watching tv (I watched tv too, while the clothes washed).  We would order the pizza, and then to kill time while waiting to pick it up, we would go to Bed Bath and Beyond.  I don't know what it is about that store, but it just soothes me.  Target is too dangerous, I always leave with something; Wal-Mart is just depressing and I refuse to go there; but BB&B is a store where I can frequently find what I need at a good price, but also happily leave the store with nothing, which is very rare with other stores.

It's also these frequent trips to BB&B that showed me the level of moronic gadgetry that exists in this world--mostly for the kitchen, and it is with great love for this store that I present you with a list of some of the dumbest shit I've seen available for sale (feel free to disagree with me, or add your own).

Panini Press.  A friend was freaking out on facebook a while ago about needing a panini press. She felt that they were a little too expensive, but knew that her kids love hot sandwiches and it would certainly get used a lot.  Cost per use dictated that, for her, this would be a great purchase.  But I completely derailed her way of thinking by asking one simple question: Don't you have a Foreman Grill?

Everyone in the world has a Foreman Grill, and if you don't have one, I guarantee that you can go to a thrift store and pick one up for $.50.  If that skeeves you out, get one from a friend.  If you live close to me, you can have our second Forman Grill.  In all of the apartments I've lived in over the years, both with people and alone, I swear I always have more than one.  We have two now because someone left one behind in BF's old apartment, and it has a bun warmer, so we totally kept it (bun warmers are a bit more rare).  Anyway, the point is, you may have a Forman Grill already and not even know it!  Use that to grill your sandwiches.

You're welcome.

Quesadilla Maker.  It's called a frying pan--and you already have one of those too.  If not, if you're sure you don't, buy one of those instead.  Go to TJ Maxx, or HomeGoods, or Burlington Coat Factory or the thrift store, and buy a frying pan.  Even if you eat quesadillas every single day, I really don't think you need one machine that only makes one food.  Plus, you should really eat some vegetables, which you can stir fry in a frying pan!

Single Cup Coffee Maker.  I know a lot of people have these and think they're super swell, but for all the convenience of brewing a single cup, you're wasting tons of plastic and paying up to $50 per pound of coffee.   From the New York Times, "For example, the Nespresso Arpeggio costs $5.70 for 10 espresso capsules, while the Folgers Black Silk blend for a K-Cup brewed-coffee machine is $10.69 for 12 pods. But that Nespresso capsule contains 5 grams of coffee, so it costs about $51 a pound. And the Folgers, with 8 grams per capsule, works out to more than $50 a pound."  Also, I've had coffee from these machines before, and I've never enjoyed it.  It takes two pods to fill a regular sized coffee cup, and the coffee just doesn't taste good.  If you're wasting coffee by brewing too much, brew less, or switch to instant coffee and make a cup at a time that way using a teakettle for the water, or even the microwave. K-cups are just instant coffee anyway.  I make four cups of coffee in the morning, drink those, and then have English tea the rest of the day.  I'm happy as can be.

This does not make your pizza more 'authentic'
Rice Cooker. To be honest, I've never had a rice cooker and I have heard that people like them a lot, so feel free to set me straight.  In my mind, it makes much more sense to get a crockpot that you can use to make a whole lot of other things besides rice (and you can also make rice in it).  A friend of mine got a rice cooker for her birthday one year, and she said that her parents had gotten her a cheaper ($50) one, which didn't really work that well.  My crock pot cost $30, and makes perfect rice every time.  It also makes me lots of stews, soups and other goodies.

Pizza Cooker.  Just use your oven, what is wrong with you?  Is the notion that a gadget like this cooks more evenly or something?  Even so, if your oven can't cook pizza properly, either figure out a way to make it work, or get a new oven.  The only way I could see someone needing a gadget like this, is if they lived in a dorm room or studio apartment with no oven, but this might violate the dorm room hot plate rule, so do some research first.


  1. Guilty! I have THREE of these items! The quesedilla maker was a wedding gift though. As you know we have the single cup maker, BUT we also have the mesh basket called "My K-Cup" so we can put loose coffee and tea into it. That was my hubby's big thing that he wanted. We have a rice cooker too and use it constantly because we make so much Indian food. I cook lentils in it too!

    BUT - I totally agree that there are a lot of ridiculous cooking gadgets out there. I have a friend that has tons of these little gadgets. I find myself using the same things over and over again in the kitchen, so I don't usually go for quirky gadgets. Can I add cupcake maker to this list? Who makes cupcakes that much besides aspiring bakers?

  2. Cupcake maker!??!? I had no idea that something that specific existed. Yeah, even if I ate cupcakes every day, I would want to admit it by buying something so specific. What's wrong with a muffin tin and an oven?

    Like I said, I've never had a rice cooker, and I rarely eat rice, so it may be a grand old gadget. I wont judge you :)

  3. I have to agree with everything but the rice cooker. Ours cooks the rice so much better than stovetop; and it also steams things. And go to amazon and look up the corn dog maker, the bella brownie maker and the pigs in a blanket maker. I kid you not.

  4. There is a blog (can't remember the name) that posts these kinds of gadgets on Unitasker Wednesdays. A new funny post every week. Apparently there are many different versions of electric s'mores makers. Most of the chopping/slicing/cutting gadgets are just substitutes for proper knife skills. Don't buy a doo-dad, just watch some pro chef knife skills vids on youtube and practice on a bag of carrots (hopefully you want to make a really big stir fry afterwards) As for the cupcake maker, an aspiring baker definitely would *not* own one. You can only make 6-8 cupcakes at a time! Just get 2 muffin tins and throw 24 cupcakes in the oven and be done with it! Bakers like to do big batches, not fiddly little ones repeatedly. I've never had a rice cooker. Intrigued about doing rice and other grains in the crock pot. Just gave away my waffle iron b/c I never used it. We don't have a coffee maker. We have a teakettle and a french press. Way smaller footprint on the (tiny) counter top, and I can make between 1-4 cups at a time. And I apologize for laughing out loud when I read the phrase "My K-Cup", because I think it sounds like some weird kind of 1970's birth control.

  5. hahahaha My K-Cup does totally sound like 70's birth control--brilliant! Now I'm going to chortle every time I see one of those machines.

  6. I agree with everything but the rice cooker. My in laws bought us a nice one that has a steamer basket so I can steam veggies while rice cooks. I can also use it to make single servings of soups stews and I can cook chicken in it. Im not going to pull out my giant crock pot to cook one cup of rice. When my husband goes to visit family on the east coast without me and I don't have to cook for 2 my rice cooker is wonderful to have.
    I will grant you tho that just about everything else is stupid. It's made for people who can't cook and they think if they have all the gadgets suddenly they will be amazing cooks. My Grandma is one of those people. Most of her gadgets are still in the box.
    My husband wants a panini press. I tell him to use the George Forman and he says it doesn't work right. So I say he's shit out of luck then. Im not going to find space in my kitchen for an item that will get used once every 4 months. No point. I made space for the things I use every day and are useful. Like my 4 cup coffee maker. Im the only one who drinks coffee so I don't need the big 12 cup K cup coffee maker. So I have a 4 cup K cup coffee maker. I make tea and apple cider in there too. It's nice.