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Ryder: Kitchen gadgets are tempting, but are they useful? |

Ryder: Kitchen gadgets are tempting, but are they useful?

For some time now, nonstick ceramic cookware has been touted as the way to go for fat-free cooking. None of the glowing descriptions have inspired me to retire either my junior-sized T-Fal griddle or 8-inch cast-iron skillet.


I am tempted by a simple silicone gadget billed as a slip-on spout. When I got married, the parents of my maid of honor gave us a Corning Ware pot, and I adored it. It wasn’t just the size, the detachable handle or the fact that it could be used on the range or in the oven. What won my heart was the pouring spout. Countless times I have cursed the lack of spouts on cooking pots.

So I’ll definitely order a slip-on spout and with such a low price tag, I’ll get a few spares for my granddaughters. 

I’ve long harbored a great passion for spatulas and thought I had at least one of every kind imaginable. But in the same novelty catalog where I found the slip-on spout, there’s a new and different spatula shaped to get every last smidgin from the sides and bottom of your mayonnaise jar. You can use it for peanut butter and jelly, too. It’s also under $5 and dishwasher safe.

I’m less impressed by the set of spatter screens, ranging in diameter from just over 11 inches down to just over 7. Why would you need three separate sizes when the largest will also work for smaller pans?

The same argument holds for microwave food covers. I’ve been using a 10-inch cover, made of plastic, for years. It is just as effective for microwaving instant oatmeal in a cereal bowl as it is for reheating a meal on a large dinner plate. Lately I’ve noticed that sets with two or three different sizes are more common than single large covers sold alone. 

The usefulness of storage containers is probably a matter of lifestyle. I’ve long admired cracker holders: square for saltines and round for Ritz crackers or sandwich cookies. They’ve been around a long time, but I’m satisfied to keep crackers in their wax paper or plastic sleeve with a clip to secure the wrapping. 

On the other hand, I have a friend who has an old, cherished plastic container that’s perfect for keeping a packet of sliced cheese fresh. I buy sliced cheese in resealable packages or store it in a Ziploc bag.

The plastic bread keepers, sized for a 12-inch loaf of bread, are quite practical for those who regularly use small sandwich loaves, however, I tend to buy the strangely-shaped bread from bakeries. Most of a new loaf is put into Ziploc bags for freezing, and the rest is refrigerated for more immediate use.

There’s a container designed to hold hot dogs neatly. It wouldn’t be particularly useful for someone with growing children in the house because there would rarely be any leftovers to store. I buy hot dogs once in a blue moon, but cooking just one or two for a meal leaves several needing storage. I can feel temptation gnawing away at the edge of my brain. 

There’s only one drawback to this: Hot dogs come in packages of anywhere from five to 24 and the hot dog keeper holds 10. Moreover, hotdogs come in different lengths. Dare I hope the keepers are designed for the bun-length dogs?

There’s also a keeper for the buns.

Temptation just bit.

Mary Ryder is a food columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at practicalpotwatcher@cfl.rr.com.

Category: Cookware Pots  Tags: ,  Comments off
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