10 Food and Drink Inventions We Didn't Need Slideshow
March 9, 2011
Here’s the first question: Why not just finish the damn bottle? OK, maybe you just want one glass, there’s still no excuse to own one of these. Someone please explain the need for a reusable stopper when a bottle of wine comes with one; it’s called a cork (or, increasingly often these days, a screw cap). “But my cork broke,” someone’s saying. See question number one.
“The possibilities are endless with tater gloves!” That’s right, endless. Infinite. This piece of as-seen-on-TV ingenuity claims to let you “peel a potato in eight seconds.” Then you read the fine print: Potatoes need to be boiled for five minutes for gloves to work. Then you read consumer reviews: “Some of the glove is coming off into the food.” Right. Stick with a peeler, or better yet a paring knife.
Muffin Top Baking Pan
A special appliance dedicated to making quesadillas? What’s next? An automated pancake machine? (Oh, wait.) Yes, this little sandwich press cooks two flour tortillas (“flour only,” the instructions warn) and cuts them into six quesadilla wedges — but it’s nothing you can't do with a pan and a knife, which you already have.
“Dice, chop, and mince in seconds!” the commercial claims. To clean it you can just “pop [it] open like a butterfly." And it even comes with a handy cheese grater called a “Graty” (two, actually “If you order right now!”). Thanks, but we’d rather chop our vegetables, not slap them. This flimsy gadget, shoutvertised by Vince Offer of ShamWow! fame, takes up more precious kitchen space than we’re willing to give it.
Just because the spoon-fork hybrid has been around since the end of the 19th century doesn’t mean we’re pro-sporking. One or the other works just fine. That’s not to say it’s totally useless — the friendly plastic spork is utilized in many prisons, as it’s more difficult to fashion one into a shank.
The average home salad doesn’t typically inspire much excitement, and prepping vegetables can be tedious, so why not make everything a little more fun by using the SaladShooter? Turn chopping vegetables into a game! Watch them fly into a bowl! Just point, press, and shoot! Could anything be easier to use and more convenient to clean and store? Yes. A chef’s knife and a cutting board. Though if you buy a couple of these clunky toys, you can have kitchen shoot-outs (Hey! No fair using croutons!)
Despite the simplicity of the process (boil water, add vinegar, stir water vigorously, drop egg in center, poach, remove with slotted spoon), poaching eggs can be a daunting and frustrating task for many. So a tool that makes the process foolproof would seem like a great idea, right? Wrong. Why bother with a piece of equipment when you can easily mimic its concept using a glass, mug, or ramekin? Save money and space by opting out of this unnecessary device.
Let’s look at three commonly asserted benefits ascribed to this uni-tasker. It quickly breaks down cloves. It increases flavor by breaking down the garlic’s cell walls. And your hands don’t smell like garlic. It’s true that the garlic is quickly pressed — into mush. The end result: less garlic per clove and another tool to clean. As for flavor, really? Really? More flavor than smashing the clove with the back of your knife and mincing it up? Get real. As for your hands, um, have you ever effectively been able to clean one of these without sticking your finger inside it? Clove, meet back of knife.