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30 Unnecessary But Life

Jul 19, 2023

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Every tool in the kitchen has a purpose. But if you try to do everything with just one tool, you’ll either end up hurting yourself or butchering whatever meal you were trying to make. So it makes sense to invest a bit into your cooking inventory. It’s often only after we’ve used something that we realize just how much time and energy we can save.

One Reddit user, u/SuccessExtreme4373, recently shared what appliances have been making her life so much easier in the kitchen. She also asked the r/Cooking online community to share a bit about the kitchen tools they never thought they’d need but can’t live without anymore. We’ve collected some of the top posts that convince you to rethink your kitchen arsenal.

Bored Panda reached out to the author of the thread for a friendly chat, and she was kind enough to answer our questions and share her thoughts. You'll find our interview with u/SuccessExtreme4373, who is very enthusiastic about home cooking, as you read on.

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Hand (immersion) blender with chopping bowltretower424 replied:I LOVE the immersion blender! Especially when I need to break down or puree a soup. That I can now do that in the pot and not dirty up a Cuisinart or blender is magic to me. I appreciate it every single time I use it.

blulou13 , Kampus Production Report

A hand blender is one of the most used gadgets in my kitchen

"I'm an enthusiastic home cook who recently discovered some new 'tools' that I was previously skeptical about and have found very handy. I just wanted to share and see what others are finding surprisingly useful," the author of the thread told Bored Panda what had inspired her to start the discussion in the first place. "It was great to get a lot of feedback."

She said that, among the things listed in the thread, she already has some. Others, like the thermometer and mandoline, she already owns and needs to use more. Meanwhile, the OP learned about new uses for the immersion blender and told us that she still needs to get a knife sharpener and cookie scoop.

Bored Panda was very interested to learn more about the pros of owning an air fryer. Redditor u/SuccessExtreme4373 was happy to walk us through her own experience. "I have found an air fryer surprisingly useful. It is great for cooking small batches of food, everything from proteins to roast vegetables. My five-year-old son loves broccoli tossed in olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and air fried for a few minutes," she said.

I can’t believe I was 57 yo before I learned about pre cut flat parchment paper sheets…. I use them all the time. Just about anything that goes in the oven is sitting on parchment paper. Veggies, potatoes, cookies, macarons, melting cheese on sandwich. Total game changer. Makes clean up so much easier, non stick.

Jasper2006 Report

It took me a long time before I started using parchment, too. But I'm not going back. Never. Nope.

I can’t believe I went so many years forming cookies, falafel, meatballs, fillings for pierogis and other dumpling, etc without a cookie scoop.citrus_sugar replied:Restaurant secret for sure — I have them in all different sizes.

TXsunn , Didriks Report

I bought one all excited to lift my cookie and meatball game but….no. I’m a left handed and apparently those things are made for right handers. Did not work for me at all - it was very sad.

Not only that, but air fryers are also great for reheating leftovers. According to the OP, it works with everything "from lasagna to muffins so that they have closer to a fresh baked texture instead of soggy microwave texture." In the meantime, the appliance is "good for quick homemade pizzas on frozen naan bread."

"You can toast odd-shaped pieces of bread. I sat on the fence for ages before getting one but now use it pretty much every day," the home cook said.

We were curious about what the OP thinks someone should keep in mind before purchasing any new kitchen appliances. She pointed out that a lot will depend on the size of your kitchen space, as well as how you cook.

(1) A digital scale, changed my baking game for the better! I now rarely use measuring cups, plus less dishes to wash. (2) Sharpening stone has made my cheap knives razor sharp and much much more enjoyable to use.

GeneKnown , Gustavo Fring Report

My kitchen scale is my favorite kitchen tool. Everything feels precise, and lazy me has less dirty dishes.

A stand mixer. It took me years to shell out for a Kitchenaid mini but I’m so glad I did. It’s much more convenient than using beaters and the dough hook is a lifesaver.

tomford306 , Pavel Danilyuk Report

Hopefully one day someone rich will love me enough to buy one for me...

I can’t believe I lived over 40 years without a knife sharpener. Truly, I was lost.

Obvious-Band-1149 , David Jackmanson Report

Always sharpen your knives. A blunt knife is, somewhat counterintuitively, a more dangerous knife.

"Less is generally more if you're like most people and don't have a lot of space. You can do a lot with the basics. And if you can't see it and it's hard to access, you're not going to use it," she explained to Bored Panda that tools that aren't in an accessible space and are stowed away somewhere probably won't end up getting used.

"But I have been on a bit of a spree lately. In addition to the above mentioned, I bought a bread maker last week, after years of thinking that would be a no-no for me—and am currently baking my second loaf."

The OP shared in her original post that she bought an air fryer, a rice cooker, and a cherry pitter, and they were completely satisfied with their performance. Not only did the redditor gush about how convenient everything is, but she's also using the appliances often. So her investment is already paying off.

I don’t know if this counts as a tool but I ended up getting a le creuset for free (I know, lucky duck) and I’ve been using it basically daily since

nu24601 , Becca Tapert Report

I like their "weapons grade" frying pans, in various sizes and colours. You could go to war armed with those.

high quality kitchen shears. great for cutting garnishes, flatbread/pizzas, meats, really anything. mainly i love not having to wash another cutting board

not_your_bartender , shraga kopstein Report

I bought my mom these scissors that have like 4 blades a few years ago for herbs, and they are super useful.

I dismissed air fryers for a long time because I have a perfectly good convection oven, and considered them a gimmick. But for *reasons* I ended up buying one, and I love it. It is just a convection oven, but it heats super fast without making the kitchen hot, and yields really good vegetables. I use it almost every day and love it.Years ago my husband bought me a Zojirushi and I almost returned it because it seemed extravagant, and because I had no problem with rice in a pot on the stovetop, but I love it too.The strawberry stemmer is a nice little gadget also.And IDGAF if Alton Brown hates a single purpose kitchen tool. They make me happy.

joemondo , HS You Report

air fryer, do this: put a piece of bread in, crack an egg on top - salt n pepper - add rasher of bacon - 200 degrees C for 6 mins - slice of cheese for one more minute. Brekky is done.

But before you go off and buy every single thing mentioned in this list, seriously think about your cooking and eating habits. No, you will not magically transform into a Masterchef contender just because you’ve got a few new toys. You need to focus on the tools that you’d actually use, not that some ideal version of you as a person would love to use. Trust us, that’ll stop you from making a lot of impulse purchases.

For instance, cherry pitters are great for someone who bakes a lot, grows cherries, or buys a lot of fresh berries at their local market. But for many of us, it would be money down the drain. The pitter would be used twice, then left to rot in some God-forsaken corner of the cupboard, with only rats and roaches to keep it company.

On the flip side, a rice cooker is a great investment if rice is an important part of your diet. If you’re constantly frustrated at having to ‘babysit’ the rice pot so it doesn’t burn or overcook, you may want to splurge a bit to save yourself a lot of future headaches. However, the cooker would be next to useless to someone who mostly eats pasta (a pasta machine might be a better fit) or bread (some utensils to make bread-baking easier may be the way to go there).

Mortar and pestle, low tech, can really up your spice game when you crush them on the spotYaniji1923 replied:Mine never leaves my counter. I only buy whole spices and grind them. It takes seconds to do once you get the hang of it. It's WAY worth the effort to learn and use it.

MrBillyLotion , Karolina Grabowska Report

Not just spices. Grind up some pesto, or maybe roasted chilli and tomato to get a great sambal!

Salad spinner. I use it every day.

bettertree8 , Alan Levine Report

This is one of those things that I keep considering.

Thermapen. I thought it cost too much for a thermometer. My husband offered to buy it for me as a gift.It’s paid me back a zillion times over. I use it to make yogurt, bread, candy, custard, ice cream, etc. Stella Parks recipes state what temperature doughs/batters should be so I use it for them. Stella Parks recipes also have instructions for if your kitchen is over 74 degrees Fahrenheit. I use it to test the air temperature.It’s also handy in deciding if it’s too hot to bring the dog with us.

maccrogenoff , bfishadow Report

Great for check food temperatures and making sure food is done. Use this all the time too.

Whatever new kitchen equipment you do end up buying, remember that you can tell a lot about someone from the way they take care of their tools. You do not want to be the chef who buys all the coolest gadgets and fanciest tools, only to let everything slowly deteriorate.

Clean them well and often after use, store them properly, and remember to maintain them. That can mean anything from regularly sharpening your knives to tightening the screws in whatever fab postmodern gadget you have in your drawer. Your tools will also last longer if you use them according to their purpose. So don’t go boiling rice in a frying pan or cutting steaks with spoons.

A hand lemon juicer! I don't know what else to call it... It looks like a big garlic press. ZILLION TIMES more practical than a stupid lemon juicer with ten parts. I use fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice all the time now when before I couldn't be bothered. So on that front it's worth it ten times over.

a_golden_horse Report

YAAAS! I use mine almost every day. So much better than the larger one you have to grind and twist the lemon on. Seems like I get more juice as well.

Potato ricer. I don't use it often, but you can make a big batch of mashed potatoes with the perfect texture in very little time.

fjiqrj239 , Leslie Seaton Report

I also use it to get rid of extra liquid when making zucchini pancakes.

Ooh also- my bread machine. I got it for $20 on Facebook marketplace and now I live a life of fresh naan, pizza dough, baguettes, sandwich loaves, cinnamon raisin bread… I know myself, I won’t spend time kneading these things, but I sure can toss them in the bread maker.

pedanticlawyer , Alpha Report

I had one for a little while, but didn't use it that much, so it was just another appliance taking up space on the bench. It was also annoying because you end up with a hole in the bread where the mixer attachment is, and just as easy to just use a mixer and the oven.

It’s so simple but one of those dough cutters and I use it to scoop chopped veggies , clean my cutting board, and obvs cut dough. I don’t know how I lived without it.

bighundy , Felicity Tai Report

We have countertops that you can knead on, and I use it to scrape the counter clean, too. The best!

Meat thermometer. Why did I spend years and years trying to guess when meat was done and then beating myself up when I was wrong? I dunno

ArtSchnurple , Josh Olalde Report

See my above comment about a gadget called "Meater." Can cost from $50 to $125 US (some have a 40 ft range and some a 160 ft range... bluetooth) but I have 3 and totally worth it if you don't want to stand right by the oven!

A slotted fish spatula. Was never even on my radar for the first 20 years I lived/cooked alone. A few years ago a close friend (and chef) got me one and insisted that it’s life changing. Mf’er was right.Blueprinty replied:Yes!! I have about every kitchen tool known to man and this is my ‘desert island’ spatula. It's not just for fish. It’s thin enough and wide enough and flexible enough to scoop up anything like cookies, roasted veggies, eggs, burgers — whatever.

TimToMakeTheDonuts , Ricky Singh Report

These are more common than not in British/Kiwi/Aussie kitchens. They've been around for donkeys.

Mandoline (with cut proof glove) I make a fair amount of pickles and that makes it easy!

olseninva , Keith Fahlgren Report

I have to admit I'm intimidated by these still. I've used one, but I prefer not. I took the coward's way out and bought the different thickness/cut blades for my food processor.

My kitchen blow torch - I use it to toast marshmallows for hot chocolate, and to do an easy lemon curd and toasted meringue dessert. I've also used it for lighting candles when I can't find a lighter/matches.

Ribbitygirl , Alex Lvrs Report

Perfect for a cheese crust too.

Tiny prep bowls

Throwaway_accound69 Report

I have collected a pile of Pyrex custard cups from all the deceased grandmas in the family. My son doesn't know what a custard cup is. To him, they're the mise en place bowls because we use them all the time for prepping food.

Tofu press. Yes, I could waste a ton of paper towel and make the Leaning Tower of Pisa of heavy things on top, but once I got the press, I’ll never go back!

shinysquirrel220701 , Polina Tankilevitch Report

I freeze the tofu block and once thawed you can squeeze all water out by hand. Texture changes a bit but I'm going to fry or bake it anyway

Microplane. I even have 2 of them now because I use them so often and I repaired the first one after it broke.

I_AM_VER_Y_SMRT , Didriks Report

OK, so TIL that Microplane is an American brand name for a cheese grater. It's a grater, nothing special to see here. Everybody's got one.

Instant pot - mainly for chicken stock. I’ll never waste a chicken carcass again!

Known_Royal4356 , ajay_suresh Report

Instant pot replaced crock pot and rice cooker in my kitchen.

A funnel

ChickGizz Report

We make a gallon of sweet tea every other day. Gotta get that sugar in the jug. And my kids go through tons of Gatorade so we buy the powder kind and make it at home. Tastes the exact same. But funnels are a must have.

In the realm of “technically unnecessary but super useful” - my pineapple corer/slicer and my Danish dough whisk. I love fresh pineapple but hated dealing with the peel and core. Not anymore. Just chop off the top, and use the corer. I basically get a spiralized pineapple that I just cut into individual chunks. And the dough whisk makes mixing thick batters/sticky doughs so much easier. Stuff doesn’t get stuck in it like it would in a balloon whisk and there’s practically no drag compared to using a wooden spoon or something.

spidergrrrl , midiman Report

Does anyone know what a danish dough whisk is? I'm Danish, and quite good at whisking, but I don't think that's it.

Pizza cutter. Little did I know how much we would eat some frozen pizza on busy 🤣

Lady1nR3d421 Report

I prefer a rocker pizza cutter to the wheel style cutter. Much simpler and doesn't move the ingredients around.

An olive oil dispenser I randomly picked up at kohl’s. It’s one of those little things that feels good to use.

Mattyweaves19 Report

Almost all the bottles of olive oil now in Australia have an attached nozzle so you can pour it easily

Cherry pitter is also an olive pitter... But one of the most basic tools is one of the most useful. A bench knife. Yes, useful when baking but also a great way to pick up diced food and slide it into the pan.

rickg , Anshu A Report

My garlic press also works as a pitter for both olives and cherries.

Legit pepper grinder

invertedMSide Report

I just bought a battery powered one, because my hands hurt if I grind it by hand, but I haven't been able to use it yet because I can't unscrew the top to fill it!

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Jonas is a Bored Panda writer who previously worked as a world news journalist elsewhere. After getting his bachelor's degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Manchester, he returned home and graduated from Vilnius University with a master's degree in Comparative Politics. Jonas enjoys writing articles ranging from serious topics like politics and social issues to more lighthearted things like art, pop culture, and nature. In his spare time, Jonas writes books and short stories and likes to draw lighthearted illustrations. A huge fan of literature, films, philosophy, and tabletop games, he also has a special place in his heart for anything related to fantasy or science fiction.

Dominyka is a Photo Editor at BoredPanda. She graduated from BA in Fashion design and has a specialty in photography. After all her studies, she decided to focus on the graphic design field. Her strengths are an illustration, photo editing, photo manipulation and poster design. In her free time, she loves to paint on canvas or take pictures with her camera.

One of my game-changers was an oven thermometer that hangs from the rack. Now I know that when my elderly oven claims it's at 400°F, it's actually at 430°F.

That's how I found out I wasn't a horrid baker, it was the oven that was overheating!

If it's one of the 'twist the k**b to number' ovens, some of them have an adjustment plate/screw combo so you can bring it back into line

Yep, my old oven was suddenly burning my cheesecakes

The only kitchen tools I need are a can opener and a microwave oven.

As we've got a lot of kitchen-y people here, anyone else do the double-click tongs thing before using them? As if the tongs would stop working.

You HAVE to click the tongs twice before using. It's in the rules!

One of my game-changers was an oven thermometer that hangs from the rack. Now I know that when my elderly oven claims it's at 400°F, it's actually at 430°F.

That's how I found out I wasn't a horrid baker, it was the oven that was overheating!

If it's one of the 'twist the k**b to number' ovens, some of them have an adjustment plate/screw combo so you can bring it back into line

Yep, my old oven was suddenly burning my cheesecakes

The only kitchen tools I need are a can opener and a microwave oven.

As we've got a lot of kitchen-y people here, anyone else do the double-click tongs thing before using them? As if the tongs would stop working.

You HAVE to click the tongs twice before using. It's in the rules!

Bored Panda