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Counter Space: Kitchen Tools You Really Don’t Need (and Really, Really Want)

  • Written by  Lyz Pfister
  • Video

In the realm of cookware, it seems as though there’s some new Rube Goldberg gadget on the market every time Paula Deen thinks about butter. Many are ridiculous (pizza scissors?), but some can make your time spent cooking almost as pleasurable as your time spent eating.

From high-tech to low-end, here’s a list of the best kitchen tools you don’t need but are gonna want anyway.


Ice Ball Mold: In the trendy world of artisanal bartending, it’s always intriguing to see what sort of useless gadget they’ll come up with next. Admittedly, an ice ball mold serves a practical purpose: Ice spheres melt slower than cubes, making your single-malt scotch on the rocks taste more like drink and less like water from first sip to last. ($9.99 for set of four from Prepara)


Kitchen Bull: A real workhorse, the Kitchen Bull is a combination knife block, bookshelf and cheese board. It’s perfect for those moments when you’re skimming through the newest Jamie Oliver book for a good recipe involving the celeriac you’re hacking and you suddenly develop a craving for cheese. Each bull is handmade in Brisbane, Australia, from renewable plantation pine. ($180 from Etsy)


Egg Cuber: As its name implies, the egg cuber changes perfectly decent ovoid hardboiled eggs into awesome cubes. Hardboiled egg cubes!? There’s really nothing else to say. ($6.75 from Amazon)


Bodum Travel French Press: Good coffee should be accessible from everywhere. At all times. Thank God for Bodum’s travel French press, which is exactly what it sounds like — a travel mug with a little French press built in. Perfect for offices where the only option is poorly brewed drip coffee or a run to the Starbucks down the street. ($30 from Bodum)


OCD Cutting Board: This nifty little tool is actually a great gauge for those who aren’t exactly sure how thin a julienne is, or whether their carrot slivers are really verging toward allumettes. Or batonnets. OCD indeed. ($25 from Uncommon Goods)


Cup Soup Cupmen: In one fell swoop, designer Akira Mabuchi has solved the problem of guessing when your instant soup is fully cooked. His brightly colored cupmen perch perilously on the edge of the cup or lounge on top of it, turning white when the soup is done. ($57 for set of three from Japan Trend Shop)


Ceramic Ginger Grater: You could easily use a box grater or microplane instead of this little tool, but it makes the list for its elegance of design and specificity of purpose. Snarky little teeth finely grate ginger root while winnowing out fibers. ($14.95 from Williams-Sonoma)


The Food Pod: This silicone contraption boils, blanches, steams and drains. It also looks totally rad. The Food Pod holds up to a dozen large eggs or several heads of broccoli and contains them in its porous, alien-antenna-shaped neon shell for regulated cooking and easy cleanup. It’s made of flexible non-stick silicone that fits into any pot and could even be stored in your sock drawer. ($15 from Fusionbrands)


Norpro Jalapeño Corer: Only slightly more useful than the egg cuber, the jalapeño corer looks like a knife bent by an angry giant. It sweeps the seeds and pith from inside chilis without you having to cut them open. This makes it ideal for very, very, very small stuffed peppers. ($13.49 from Norpro Webstore)


Big Green Egg: Of course you don’t need a grill that reaches a perfectly regulated cooking temperature within 10 minutes, keeps food moist and looks like a spaceship. But this grill comes with its own lifestyle magazine. (Mini starts at approx. $360, XL at approx. $1,120)


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A remarkably unnecessary, but fun, kitchen item.
Last modified on Monday, 25 June 2012 18:01

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