Sharp knives, pots and pans, wooden spoons and whisks are all of paramount importance in the kitchen, but what about the Stovetop Potato Baker or the endless variations on cake, cupcake and cookie molds? A fairy cake mold is certainly cute for a two-year-old’s birthday, but do we really need new shapes each year for every possible occasion?
A marriage between the age of invention and the age of consumption has sent inventors of all stripes on a binge, churning out product after product meant for singular tasks a home cook might need once, twice or, most likely, never. The craze for useless kitchen appliances probably started with the electric can opener, one of which my grandmother has insisted on keeping for about 60 years and attempting to open the dog food with it. She always resorts to the handheld version, but somehow that electric can opener has held a prized place next to her utensil jar.
With the invention of a number of truly revolutionary appliances – the mixer, the food processor, the slow cooker – home cooking has moved on up from a lowly chore to a fun hobby. However, riding the crest of the mixer revolution are other less mind-blowing inventions that are so niche, they amount to a hobbyist’s accoutrements.
In our search for the most over-the-top kitchen gadgets, we found some ingenious ideas that are worth the splurge, like the Terracotta Brown Sugar Disks and the Edge Brownie Pan (Who doesn’t love the edges?). There’s a chef in each of us and a gadget for every task, but of the thousands of appliances available today, only about 10% are necessary and another 10% are useful.