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All Those Kitchen Gadgets, but a Sharp Knife Just Might Do |

All Those Kitchen Gadgets, but a Sharp Knife Just Might Do

“We sold half a million that first year, “ Mr. Stewart said. Like Mr. Chiu, the Stewarts quit their jobs and started a company, Fusionbrands, from that first product. The very particular looking Food Pod at Feldman’s is their handiwork (inspired by sea urchins, Mr. Stewart said) as is the EggXactPeel, a slim yellow plastic shell cracker and peeler that was a finalist for an innovation award at this year’s housewares show.

Amanda Hesser, the food writer and co-founder and chief executive of Food52, the kitchen and home website, is continually evaluating products like these as her company develops its own for sale. She is an expert on obsolescence, a gimlet-eyed judge of what might have legs. But even Ms. Hesser has a misfit drawer in her kitchen, a mini-museum of the gadgetry of yore. Her particular affliction is melon ballers, including one model with a pea-size scoop (tantalizing for “The Borrowers,” perhaps, but otherwise useless). She also has an egg topper, which slices off the caps of eggs with Gallic precision, a butter curler and a shrimp deveiner.

Despite a soft spot for such arcana, Ms. Hesser is not tempted by certain new trends.

“Once you go down the road of having a kale leaf stripper,” she said, “where do you draw the line? This is something we talk a lot about in our reviews. With kitchen manufacturers, there is this tendency to get so detailed and so tailored with their products, everyone would need 5,000-square-foot kitchens. Not to mention you’re missing out on the pleasure of ripping kale off its stem. You’re letting the tool have all the fun.”

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