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No matter how big or small your kitchen is, you’ve probably got a gadget or two that you thought would revolutionize your cooking life. (Possibly after some late-night infomercial watching?) Chances are, this magical item does not help you fry fluffy doughnuts, brew coffee shop-quality espresso or roll out pasta in a snap. Its primary function is collecting dust.
The New York Times has a fun story about “the skeletons in the kitchen closet” – those one-use gadgets hidden away in drawers and cabinets. Don't think that this is only a problem for the average home cook. The Times story focuses on culinary professionals like editors, bloggers and even food world celebs like Sara Moulton and Gail Simmons.
Moulton talks about her pressure cooker, which she bought but rarely uses out of fear that it might explode in her small Manhattan kitchen. “I hold on to it just in case,” she said. “But I really don’t think I’m going to use it again.”
Other “why did I buy this?” items mentioned in the piece: an automatic polenta maker, French escargot tongs, commercial butter slicer, salmon poacher, professional-grade espresso maker and milk frothers.
Sometimes the most practical tools aren’t useful once you get them home. One food blogger quoted in the story regrets buying a food processor because it was annoying to clean. Instead, she relies on her favorite knives and a 1950s-era box grater.
My personal dust collector is also pretty utilitarian: a toaster. Inherited from a roommate, it sits atop my refrigerator in a corner so far back I can’t even reach it. When you have a kitchen the size of a bread box, a one-use gadget takes up too much valuable counter space. Every time I see the toaster, I imagine the layers of years-old dust and crumbs inside of it. And then I fire up my gas oven to make some toast.