Kitchen Tools Of Extremely Questionable Usefulness

Last Updated on: 24th April 2013, 06:35 am

Carin’s dad is a really handy guy. He’s always coming up with ways to save time and space, or to solve problems that you didn’t think you had but totally do. Just the other day he helped me reclaim about half a desk worth of space by adding items rather than subtracting them, for instance.

If he can’t build what you need (he usually can), he’ll go out and find it, and good lord does he ever love finding things. It’s not unheard of to unexpectedly become a part of a shopping expedition spanning anywhere from three to five towns. Sometimes all you need to do is be in the car, foolishly thinking you’re going to dinner. If you need something, by god you’re gonna get it, even if it takes all night.

This isn’t always as bad as I might be making it sound. Many times I truly appreciate the determination. Seeing a project through to its happy conclusion is certainly an admirable trait, and it’s not every day you find a pro handyman that’s also as close to a pro shopper as one can get without actually being compensated by the stores he’s patronizing. To be sure, there is certainly a lot of usefulness there.

But other times it’s little more than a thinly veiled excuse to buy crap. If Carin’s dad gets it in his head that you should have something, by god you’re gonna have it, even if it takes all night. If it looks neat or like something he thinks he might use, everybody needs one. For all the cool things we have thanks to his work, we have a surprisingly large amount of stuff kicking around here that I quite literally cannot identify. And even if a thing has been explained to me upon its arrival, I still haven’t a clue what it does or why.

We have jar openers that I was supposed to use to open my beer. They’re far too large for this purpose. Yes, I tried. Unfortunately they don’t work well as jar openers, either. they’re either not the right fit for the jars we own or they’re too slippery to get a good grip, so I wind up using man power and the spoon popping trick my mom showed me when I was younger, just like I’ve always done.

We have tongish meat flippy things that can’t possibly pick up or secure anything unless you’re really good with largely inflexible rubberish chopsticks that are attached to each other, or don’t mind getting your hand so close to the hot food trying to line it up that you might as well just barehand it. Update: Carin reminded me that grabbing and flipping was actually a secondary purpose for these things. Their primary use was as toaster tongs for getting toasted things out of your toaster. Useful, unless the thing is sticking out normally and you can use your hands, or the thing was snagged further down in which case you’re probably breaking or squashing it trying to get it back.

We have rubber oven shelf edge covers because…because we have them. I’m not even sure if he knew what they were supposed to do. I imagine they’re supposed to protect something, but what? Oven shelves are built to withstand heat, and when they’re hot you’re not supposed to be touching them. There go the two most obvious uses I can think of.

I’m not sure if Carin’s dad reads the site. I don’t think he does. Neither of our families tend to as far as I know. Maybe that’s a good thing. If he did, we’d probably end up owning some or all of these 11 Insanely Specific Kitchen Gadgets. That is, if we don’t already.

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  1. I have the strawberry corer and I almost bought the corn thingie. I may yet. Used to have the egg slicer – worked quite well but now that I’m cooking for only two makes no sense.

    I’ll admit it – I’m a kitchen gadget person (especially the small stuff).

  2. I have a pegboard in my kitchen that holds every gadget that is hangable plus all my cooking spoons, etc. Oh, I forgot to mention the holders for hot ears of corn. The article didn’t mention them.

  3. The strawberry thing works well but you have to be careful if you stick it in a drawer. It works just as well on a finger. The corn things saved many burned fingers when the girls were little. I still use them to take corn off the cob although I’m very tempted by that corn gadget that does the whole cob at once. I like to buy fresh corn in season, take it off the cob, and freeze it. It’s hard at my age to stand and scrape kernels for an hour.

    1. If I had kids, I imagine I’d own corn handles.

      My mom used to do the corn freezing thing too. If memory serves, she would use an electric knife to get it off the cob. As for me, my routine usually goes like this. Buy fresh corn. Boil it. Eat it with friends. There’s never any left to save.

  4. I never thought about my electric knife. Thanks. I usually dig it out for holidays to do things like turkey or ham.

    Corn is dirt cheap here in season and I have a good size freezer. It’s nice to have corn in the winter without paying so much for frozen.

    1. What do you generally pay for a dozen cobs? Around here it tends to vary depending on who you get it from, but it’s usually what I’d consider to be fairly cheap.

      I hope this year’s corn is as great as last year’s. it was amazing. I can’t remember the last time the corn was that good. It was the same with the peaches.

  5. I’ll be in the market later today and I’ll try to remember to check. Our corn is all local but it’s not in season just yet and out of season is higher.

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