New kitchen gadgets

March 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm (Product Reviews)

I tried a four new well-rated kitchen gadgets last year, and I thought I’d do a quick post about which ones I ended up liking and which ones I didn’t care for.  My most exciting new purchase is a pressure cooker, but I haven’t actually taken it out of the box yet.  Once I try it out, I’ll report back!

I usually keep a small container of the soy sauce in the cupboard, and for years I’ve been using a Kikkoman 5-ounce glass soy sauce dispenser.  The shape is nice, but somehow it always ends up leaving rings of soy sauce on the table and in the pantry.  I guess some soy sauce must drip down the sides without me noticing.  Also, it’s a tad small.  I feel like I’m refilling it all the time.  So I went looking for a new container and chose this 8 oz. soy sauce dispenser from Forma.  It’s attractive, well made, a little bit larger (without being clunky), and doesn’t drip!

Cook’s Illustrated recommended the Dish Squeegee, a wedge-shaped silicone scraper, for scraping dishes without using any water.  They reported:  “We used it to clear off sauce-encrusted dishes, bowls smeared with gummy dough, and more—all without using any water. But the proof was in the dishes themselves: Squeegeed bowls and plates emerged from the dishwasher shining and squeaky-clean.”   Since buying the squeegee I got a new dishwasher that seems to always get the dishes clean, even if I don’t get every last bit of food off.  It’s much easier to just scrape the large pieces of food off with my fork then get out the squeegee and then wash it off afterward.  If I really need to scrape a dish, I can just use a rubber or silicon spatula, which works about as well.

I also tried the Rösle Coarse Grater based on Cook’s Illustrated’s recommendation.  They rated it number one out of all the graters (box and flat) that they tested:  “This easy-to-store, flat grater made shredding a breeze, thanks to big, sharp holes; a large surface for better efficiency; and a solid, rigid frame that enabled continuous grating (rather than short bursts).”  I really liked the idea of a grater I could store flat in a drawer, and that I could just set directly over my bowl.  It seemed like grating would be much less messy.  But I did not like the grater at all.  I found it awkward to use, and several times I grated off parts of my knuckles or fingers (much more often than with my normal box grater).  Something about the horizontal action seemed much more difficult and much more dangerous than the normal vertical motion I use with my box grater.  Maybe the grater simply wasn’t sharp enough?  Or was too sharp?  Also I found the holes a tad too big.  I prefer the slightly smaller holes on my box grater when grating carrots for carrot salad, potatoes for hash browns, or cheese for a gratin.  I used the grater a few times then had Derek try it to see if I was simply doing something wrong, but he also didn’t like it.  I was also a bit surprised at how large the grater was.  It didn’t actually fit in my drawer all that well!

Last year the blogosphere was all a titter with rave reviews of the new GIR spatula. GIR stands for Get It Right, a new company whose goal is to design the perfect X, for all X they set their sights on.  They crowdsourced startup funding through Kickstarter, and their first product was this silicon spatula.  Given all the glowing reviews, I decided to try one, especially since I’m not that happy with my current silicon spatulas.  I always have to wait forever for the water to dry out of the hole in my Le Creuset spoon spatulas so that the wooden handle doesn’t get moldy.  And they’re a bit too thick for my tastes.  But to my surprise, I seem to be the only one on the internet who isn’t in love with the GIR spatula.  I find it a bit too narrow and not flexible enough to scrape out bowls.  It just doesn’t bend well.  I much prefer the silicon spatula spoon my mom gave me from Pampered Chef, and even prefer this cheap Orka silicone spoon spatula to the GIR one.  Although the GIR is prettier.

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