Five Great Kitchen Gizmos

Well, more than five. As the pirate king in Gilbert & Sullivan’s THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE said, “Five … and a little bit over.”

Now, I’ll be the sixth to admit that I’m a sucker for kitchen gizmos, a “gizmo” being defined as something useful and nifty one doesn’t actually need. Charlie and our four girls would be the first five. But there are some I use a lot, and would be sorry to lose.  None of the following links are affiliate links, just so you know. I think only one of them goes to a manufacturer’s website, and I’ll tell you when you get to it.

My beloved late mother-in-law had one and used it and I got one as soon as I could. I use it all the time. With just two of us to cook for, I do most of my baking/roasting/broiling in this little puppy. I find I have to put foil over the top of taller dishes so the top doesn’t scorch, but that’s a small price to pay for such convenience.

I couldn’t find a good page for generic contact grills, so this goes to the Wiki for the George Foreman one. My one isn’t that one; mine is a cheap knock-off which nevertheless works just nifty. I can slap a halved yellow squash, zucchini, or small eggplant on there and take it off ready to eat in ten minutes, tops. When we ate meat, I could put a thinnish piece of frozen fish or boneless chicken on there and have it done through in ten minutes. Any grease runs off into a drip-pan (the dog loves it).

If you want to know what mine looks like, scroll down the Wiki page until you get to the picture labeled “inexpensive electric rice cooker”. I totally love this baby. I find that, if I want a nice crusty layer on the bottom of my rice (um-yum!), I let it cook until the Cook button shifts over to Warm. If I want all the rice tender, I watch until I can’t see water, I can’t see bubbles, and there are air holes through the rice from where the bubbles were. Then I manually turn it to Warm and unplug it. Mine came with a steamer basket, which I use to make tamales or Chinese dumplings.

Oh, food processor, what would I do without you? I use mine to make mayonnaise every couple of weeks and to make pesto and benedictine spread during the summer. I use it for so many things, I can’t list them all here. Mine has one (1) blade plus a slicey thingy which I don’t use.

I like this page, because it calls the device a “food slicer” rather than a “meat slicer”. Although I did and, occasionally do, slice meat on it, I use it to slice cheese, bread, and anything else that’s asking to be sliced. Mine stopped working the last time I used it, and I haven’t had the heart to try it again and see if it healed itself. If it hasn’t, I’ll have to disassemble it and see if I can fix it. If I can’t … I have a birthday coming up…. Just sayin’.

Now for the little bit over:

Speaking of slicers, I just scored one of these at a yard sale. It looked brand new. Had all its bits and everything. Turns out, I use it a lot. Our cucumbers are doing great this year, so I’m making pickles. Charlie and I liked those ones sliced longways, and the mandoline zips right through a big ol’ stack of cucumbers like nobody’s business.

The next link goes to the Sunbeam page, because it’s the only page I could find with a product close to mine.

Thissss issss my presssioussss. Yessssss. Honestly, it’s crazy how much I love this little squirt. I bought it for maybe two dollars at Goodwill. The hinges on the lid have broken, but the lid still goes on just fine, and it works perfectly. All it does in the world is heat water. One cup takes about a minute; two cups take about a minute and a half. The version on the Sunbeam page is much newer and fancier than mine, and a damn sight more expensive, but keep an eye out and you might be able to find it cheaper. If I cook a bunch of hardboiled eggs and store them in the fridge and want to heat one up, I put it in a mug and put hot water from my hot pot over it and let it alone for a couple of minutes. It’s just really, really useful.

So there you have it. See you tomorrow for Caturday, and Sunday for some kind of writing sample.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What is your main character’s favorite cooking gadget? If he or she doesn’t have one, give him or her one.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Five Great Kitchen Gizmos

  1. Jane

    August 3, 2012 at 9:48am

    Oh, yes! The George rocks! We cannot get by without it. Mine is on a stand, with a huge bubble lid to accommodate, I don’t know, a whole beast? Just try heating up pizza on this baby, and YUM!
    See ya.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 3, 2012 at 9:58am

      I never thought about pizza! You do that with the lid open, I presume?

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      • Jane

        August 4, 2012 at 10:41am

        Nope. Not us rebels. We put it onto a sheet of non-stick foil, and then shut the lid to facilitate the melting of the cheese. The bottom crisps up like a charm, and the cheese loosens up on top. YUM.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          August 4, 2012 at 11:27am

          But this has like a bubble on top? The grill doesn’t contact the top? Mine is more like a panini press.

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          • Jane

            August 5, 2012 at 10:34am

            Kee-rect. A great big super-duper bubble top. I think I could bake a cake, but I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge. Oh, and corn on the cob? Also great. We cook stuff en papillotte (OK, foiled up in no-stick foil on a foil tray). Ex: pork loin with the fixings: potatoes, carrots, etc. Inside the house, the oven slumbers, no longer needed for central heating. We park the George on the front porch, and let it heat the outdoors instead of us. Did I say I love my George?

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