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I currently have my fingers in many pies, and it feels awesome to be in the swing of things. I’m happiest when productive!

There is a new food post (I know! Right?) that should be up on Sunday, a new Recipe Round-Robin next week (I want to rename this…it’s a cumbersome title…suggestions welcome), I’m working on like 3 food-related side projects that I’ll tell you all about in due time, and of course, shopping/researching/listing for my Etsy project.

AND *drumroll please* I’m excited to announce that at some point over the last month, Omnomicon hit 1 million visits! Meaningless in and of itself, but a fun milestone anyway.

So in the meantime, what are your top 5 underdog kitchen gadgets? Everyone fortunate enough to own them loves their Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, their Le Crueset Dutch Oven, their Henckels knives, but what do you rely on practically every time you cook that you totally thought you didn’t need until you started using it?

Not to bias things, but here’s mine (in no particular order):

  • garlic press
  • electric flat griddle
  • 1-cup food processor
  • kitchen scale
  • a mystery item, which will be the prize for this month’s recipe contest! (how coy, I know)
  1. melissa Said,

    -DEFINITELY kitchen scale.
    -I don’t know if it’s really a “gadget” but those small cheap cutting boards from IKEA. On top of being handy if you just want to chop one small thing and don’t want to dirty your huge cutting board, they make excellent peels for sliding bread into a hot oven.
    -toaster oven. Not toaster, but the tiny oven that has broil and bake settings. I got mine secondhand from an aunt and the labeling is nearly worn off, but I use this thing all the time (and, let’s be honest, I don’t really need the labeling any more) for making toast, baking something small, quickly melting cheese, toasting nuts, or just being a second oven when mine is full.
    -My cast iron skillet, because when it is too hot or rainy to fire up the grill it’s the only thing that gives shrimp that nice sear. And you can’t make roux for gumbo in anything else, not REALLY.
    -My big-ass 5 gallon pot that belonged to my grandmother. I use it for canning, brewing beer, and making enormous batches of stock. It’s AWESOME.

  2. Sarah Said,

    Oooh. Good question.
    – My two mesh strainers. I use them so frequently, it’s absurd.
    – My disher. The little ratchet-y, ice cream scoopy thing. So handy for cookies and other tasks that require even portioning.
    – My little polyethylene bar board. It’s only 5×7 inches, but it’s plenty of room for cutting just little bits of things. Shockingly useful.
    – My microplane grater! So great (no pun intended).
    – A set of six glass prep bowls, each with a deep 3/4 cup capacity and lids. They’re the best for storing little bits of leftovers, or baking tiny cakes, melting a bit of chocolate, or just keeping track of prepped ingredients as I’m working.

  3. Kim Said,

    Everything I use, I knew I would use. But, um, how about the mini-whisk? I freaking love it. I knew I’d use it, but I had no idea how much I would use it (and love it). I love me some mini-whisk! And the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, Le Crueset Dutch Oven, and Henckels knives have somehow not made their way into my kitchen…if you see them hanging out on the street corner, tell them to come on over!

  4. Bree Said,

    This is a good question!

    1. This garlic mincer thing that I don’t even know where I got. Basically you put the cloves in and twist and it minces the garlic right up! I love it!
    2. Good knives. Mine are the BEST in the world but they work for me and they are so much better than I used to have!
    3. Lots of prep bowls. I like to be able to get separate ingredients ready before I need them.
    4. My Viking mixer. I don’t use it daily but I freaking LOVE the thing.
    5. My plastic mixing bowls with rubber bottoms. Makes mixing so much easier!

  5. JHill Said,

    KitchenAid Stand Mixer – I really do use it for everything. I can’t be bothered to stir.
    Chef’s Knife – It probably has a brand, but I am too lazy to check which one it is.
    Big, giant wooden cutting board – For cutting big, giant things.
    Cuisinart – For when I can’t be bothered to chop.
    Pampered Chef Spoonula – Just because it’s fun to say spoonula. Like it’s a spoon with a cape and fangs.

    My number 1 useless kitchen item? My mandolin. Sliced the end of a finger of on it one time and am too scared to even take it out of the drawer again.

  6. lo Said,

    Mmm. Good question.
    1) I’m going to second that garlic press, because I really do use the crap out of mine (in fact, I own two).

    2) I’ll also give big kudos to my collection of little ceramic bowls. I’m so much more organized with my prep, thanks to these babies!

    3) My trusty whisk. She’s just gorgeous with that bright red wooden handle. But, she’s not all about looks; she’s darned good with cream and eggs, too!

    4) My compost bucket. An unlikely nominee, maybe — but where else would I go with all those delicious food scraps? And he makes my garden so very happy!

    5) My salt pig. Sure, he’s a little small for my hand (I’d love to replace him with a bigger model); but, he keeps one of the most versatile seasonings in my kitchen right at the ready… and that’s pretty huge.

  7. KimJ Said,

    1) Microplane grater
    2) Extra-long wooden spoon (for making iced tea from powder)
    3) Pampered Chef spatula/scoop
    4) Coffee grinder. I don’t drink coffee, but it’s great for spices!
    5) Electric kitchen scale. I love using it in place of measuring cups when I can.

  8. Bertha Said,

    I don’t even know the proper name for my most used kitchen item, but it’s one of those wooden spoon type things, except instead of being scooped and round like a spoon, it’s flat, with holes in it, and a straight edge?? I use that for nearly every meal that I cook. I don’t know why, but I LOVE it.

    My other 4 items include:

    -kitchen tongs! I got a pair from Crate & Barrel and I use them ALL the time. I have no idea how I lived without them but I promise you I had more burnt fingers.

    -a silicone pastry brush. I love it because I can actually GET IT CLEAN unlike the old bristle brush I used to use that was forever tainted with the taste of old BBQ sauce.

    -Microplane grater. I use this instead of a garlic press & since I eat a lot of garlic, it gets a lot of use.

    -An Oxo Good Grips 6″ chefs knife. It’s not the most expensive knife I own, but it’s definitely my favorite. I’ve had it for a couple years and it’s still as sharp as it was the day I got it and it feels great in my hands. I find the 6″ size perfect for most of my needs, my 8″ chefs knives are kind of unwieldy.

  9. Amber Said,

    My 2 cup measuring cup and my cookie scoop come in super handy! Also when I make fudge puddles (a really super yummy cookie, recipe is on my blog) instead of rolling them into balls like your supposed to I put them in mini muffin pans (but not the cheap ones from wally because they suck and they won’t come out) and it works really well.

  10. Michelle Said,

    My favorite kitchen items:

    -Large board scraper for working with dough. I have to use it every single time I work with dough since its so large and gets all the bits from where ever I tend to drop the dough.

    -A mesh loofah. No seriously. I make a lot of bread and getting the bread dough all gummed up in my kitchen sponge is the grossest. So instead I got one of those meshy loofah sponges that you would use in the shower, cut the cords so I could unravel it and keep it rolled up neatly in one of my cabinets near the sink. Then when its needed you just cut off a hunk, knock loose all that dough and throw it away when your done! Saves my sanity.

    -Garlic press, hell yes.

    -Large piece of marble. A friend gave me a large piece of marble, probably supposed to use it for working with pastry or candy, but I keep it next to my stove to help cool down pots and pans when I get them too hot on my electric cook top. I hate cooking electric and hate how long it takes to cool down the coils, so I use the marble to help pull away the heat when I need to, also a place to set things to cool without damaging the counters.

    -My cookie scoop. I use it for making meatballs more than I do cookies, but I love it just the same.

  11. Leslie Said,

    I’ll go with what I use the most…
    1) Whisk. I whisk a lot.
    2) My multi-sided grater that has a small, attachable plastic container that comes with a lid. Came in handy when I was grating fresh ginger. It’s nice for cheese storage, too.
    3) Egg slicer. The few times a year that I crave an egg salad sandwich with green pimento olives, I slice the heck outta those things.
    4) I use a little Oxo 4tbsp/2 oz angled measuring cup all the time. I prefer it for oil over tablespoons any day.
    5) various sizes of chopping boards. Chopping the meat, chop the veggies, way to many veggies for one chopping board…. yay for multiples.

  12. Laurie Said,

    1) Silicone baking sheets – cleanup after making sugar cookies was the moment i knew i was in love
    2) I second the cookie scoop
    3) probe thermometer – I love knowing the temperature of my meat without having to open the oven
    4) Ramekins – they’re good for soups, holding small quantities of ingredients you’ll be using, and they’re cute too
    5) Corn Holders – All the buttery deliciousness none of the mess

  13. Mary Said,

    I don’t know if I have five items…

    But tonight I used:
    – Parchment paper. Not really a tool…except all my baking sheets/jelly roll pans are soooooo old it’s either parchment paper, aluminum foil, or so much oil you can’t stand it…or it’s just never coming off.
    – Wooden spatula. It’s my go-to tool for EVERYTHING. Love it!
    – $2 measuring cup from Ace Hardware, Hawai’i. It has survived thousands of miles worth of moves and millions of nukings for melting butter.
    – I use my IKEA apple cutter thingie every day…good for pears as well. Fruit is good snacky food at work. PRE CUT fruit is just a must have.
    – So I was sitting here thinking, what else! What else! When my Cost Plus digital chicken timer (it clucks) went off….That little timer is the most used and so woefully lauded tool in my kitchen.

    Okay, I guess I do have 5 :).

  14. Wink Said,

    Yes, I have the standard issue KitchenAid stand mixer, Le Creuset French oven, and Henckels knives. What a cliché! 😉 I also expected to love my Calphalon frying pans, my Copco saucepans, my anodized 8qt stockpot, and my cast iron skillet. I use my heavy-duty sheet pans, my metal mesh strainer, and my tea kettle all the time. I have one particular wooden spoon that I will take with me to my grave.
    But the surprises? I absolutely love my cheapo, flexible, color-coded cutting mats. My microwave rice cooker/vegetable steamer is used nearly every day. The 8-cup measuring cup/mixing bowl from a Pampered Chef party comes in handy more often than I expected. The dishwasher-safe microwave food shield from Target has saved me hours of cleaning. The pineapple corer that someone gave me as a gag gift actually makes simple work of a difficult task, and anyone who has watched me defeat a whole pineapple in under two minutes wants to know where they can get one of their own.

    After reading everyone else’s comments, it seems there are a few more things I need to get!

    *I don’t care if you don’t have a garden. If you have the tiny amount of space needed for a compost bin, then you have a houseplant, or you know someone who does. Better the compost goes there than all those food scraps go into water treatment plants or worse, landfill.

  15. Betty Said,

    1. microplane grater- parmesan, chocolate, lemons, nutmeg…nothing is safe.
    2. parchment paper- I don’t know how I ever baked cookies without it.
    3. kitchen timer- plain jane one, but it keeps me from burning everything
    4. silicone scraper/spatula- it just makes me happy and my kids don’t ruin my nonstick pan
    5. little shaker thingy with flour in it for dusting the counter when I roll out dough

  16. Robin Said,

    1 strainer – we use it surprisingly often!
    2 rice cooker – until we got one, I never realized why I was so unhappy at college 😛 typical Asian…
    3 bowls
    4 knife

    haha my kitchen is pretty sparse since we’re still students. Packing up kitchenware is a pain so we’re trying to keep it light, we have to move out at the end of the year!

  17. Roy Said,

    1: A 10″ Henckles chef knife. It replaced a cheap chinese Henckles knife after the edge was sharpened past the hardening. You simply *must* have at least one really good knife.

    2: Crock-stick knife sharpener. Mine has tiny crock sticks mounted at the perfect angle. It even sharpens up the cheap Henckles knives (though I have to do it every time I use them) and has a scissor sharpener, as well.

    3: Mini-Cuisinart food processor. I don’t know how I got along without one.

    4: Microplane! I originally got it for zesting citrus, but it’s perfect for horseradish, nutmeg and much more.

    5: Pinch cups. I bought them on a whim and they really make organizing prep work easy. It’s much more convenient to pre-measure spices and seasonings so you can just toss them in when needed.

    I’ve really got more than 5 (garlic press, rice cooker, bamboo steamer, etc.), but those are the top.

  18. stephchows Said,

    seriously 1 million!?!? I’m seriously jealous of your bum just so you know 🙂 why can’t I get those kind of hits!

    ok enough hating 🙂 my top 5 gadgets that are used the most

    1 my vintage pyrex mixing bowl (love love love)
    2 2 really good sharp knives my mom got me
    3 a ball whisk… lol you know those new whisks that aren’t all circles… they each have a little ball on the end… rock on
    4 a kick butt spatula/scrapper/ is stiff enough to beat butter and sugar together
    5 my rocking vintage measuring cups that were my nana’s they are mint green and kick ass

  19. Carey Said,

    1. Garlic Zoom. My quest for the perfect garlic-mincing tool has ended with this amazing doohickey. (I owned a Garlic Twist prior to this, but my tendency to overload it—combined with my rather small hands—left me unable to actually “twist” the darn thing.)

    2. My butter bell. Soft butter, all the time!

    3. A very big, very sharp Cutco knife.

    4. A giant, stainless steel mixing bowl.

    5. A gold filter, which I often use in place of cheesecloth (since I never remember to buy the stuff).

  20. kiki Said,

    1. Set of glass mixing bowls: sturdy even in my clumsy hands, oven and freezer safe, and nice enough to be used for serving.
    2. Heat resistant cutting board: chopping, resting hot pans, doubles as a make-shift peel when making pizza.
    3. Fondant rolling pin: probably the most important of the bunch. I use it for everything rolled, since the bands allow for set thickness and I’m a terrible judge of such things.
    4. Second the parchment paper: I don’t know how I ever cooked without it.
    5. Fondant mat: like the rolling pin, lets me see just how wide I’ve rolled something and makes cleanup way easier.

  21. Caroline Said,

    1. Rubber Spatula (silicone ? for high temps)
    2. A Great Knife!! small but not too small, and not to big. (A large paring knife)
    3. Yes!!! 1 cup food processor (or nut chopper thing)
    4. Cast Iron skillet whatever size you have.
    5. Bowls (stainless steel) all sizes!

  22. ambershellie Said,

    1. lemon juicer (the yellow metal squeezy one)
    2. my short-handled metal spatula/flipper
    3. my melamine nesting bowls
    4. cast iron pans and dutch oven
    5. bamboo spoons

  23. Katie Said,

    My microplane, my Mom’s Le Creuset Dutch oven (which I plan to borrow permanently when I leave Tuesday), a regular whisk, my glass mixing bowls, and a massive mixing bowl. I like my glass mixing bowls because they’re so beautiful and functional and they NEST, so cute! but my huge-ass metal mixing bowl can hold a double batch of cookie dough, and ever since I went insane and started hand mixing everything it has come in handy.

  24. anna Said,

    Ooh it’s hard to choose between the things I use at home and the things that I always keep within reach at school/work. Slightly different assortments, considering at home it’s all quick, simple meals and elsewhere everything is precisely measured pastry.

    1) I love my digital scale both at home and at work, and ever since I got it I get really irritated using cups. I spend a lot of time doing conversions…
    2) A silicone spatula is an invaluable tool. I have two at home and one in my school kit and they are so useful for everything!
    3) A basic wooden spoon is another favorite. How else can you be sure your custard is perfectly nappant? And it’s the best tool for stirring risotto, pushing roasted veggies around in a pan, etc.
    4) A pair of sharp, satisfyingly snippy kitchen shears are with me at all times in a professional kitchen setting. Cutting the tips off pastry bags, slicing homemade marshmallows, cutting chunks of warm pulled sugar…always a helpful tool.
    5) Tie between parchment paper and silicone mats. I actually don’t really like using parchment at home anymore because the rolls annoy me – in professional kitchens the paper comes in large sheets that fit perfectly in a standard full sheet pan, and lays flat…not so much with the stuff from a roll. Silicone is great for baking cookies, making caramel doodles, spreading tuile batter…

  25. rob Said,

    dough knife (board scraper)
    salad spinner (keeps salad, herbs fresh for long time)
    spatter shield (for cooking bacon, pan searing, tomato sauces without all the spatter)
    good pepper grinder
    aluminum foil

  26. Meeloo Said,

    1) a french “seb” clipso pressure-cooker. I use it all the time. For me one of the best invention ever. 1000 times better than a crockpot!
    2) a razor peeler
    3) a microlane
    4) a lime squeezer very simple and ugly but so convenient. I bought it in Mexico and I love it
    5) a good pair of scissors (dishwasherproof) to cut from food packaging to herbs or meat or fish fin or whatever!

  27. Mr. P Said,

    1. The mezzaluna. I love it.
    2. The blender. Everybody loves the blender.
    3. Sharp scissors.
    4. My hands – you can do it all with these babies!
    5. Chopsticks. Useful in the extreme as a cocktail stirrer.

  28. Tami Said,

    1. my long handled slotted spoon from Ikea that I got years ago. They don’t sell them any more. 🙁
    2. mini food processor – got mine at a yard sale 5 yrs. ago. It’s still working like a charm.
    3. apple slicer/corer. My kids will eat apples like crazy if they are sliced. This makes it easy.
    4. big chef knife – not name brand but I still like it.
    5. wet/dry measuring cup from Pampered Chef

  29. Lynne Said,

    1. crock pot
    2. chopsticks
    3. mandolin
    4. that olive oil topper/pouring thing (whatever it’s called)
    5. dish rag

  30. Maxly Said,

    1) Garlic Press–I have two
    2) Wooden Spoons–lots of ’em
    3) My 2/3 and 3/4 cup measuring cup–who knew I needed these?!
    4) Serated Bread Knife–love it
    5) My husband because he cleans the kitchen after I have been in there again

  31. Sarah Said,

    1) bench scraper. It keeps my beautiful bread board clean. 🙂
    2) magnetic knife holder – holy cow, I never would have bought one for myself, but this thing is GENIUS, I’m so glad our new apartment had one already installed!
    3) ramekins! lots of ramekins! I bought them for a short-lived packaging idea long ago, and ended up keeping them for mise-en-place bowls.
    4) timer! I’m not at all an uptight person, but I’ve even started using it to make sure my tea doesn’t get bitter. Need 3 minutes? Got it. Need to just count up to see how long something takes? Got it. Love it!
    5) coffee/spice grinder. seriously, where would I be without it?

  32. Omnomicon makes » discussion: kitchen gadgets (continued) Said,

    […] so tell me: what are your top 5 underdog kitchen gadgets? […]

  33. Geaux Ghoti Said,

    1. Cellphone… This is probably my most important kitchen tool, to be honest… It has my timers (I can run multiple timers with notes at the same time) my converter, calculator, weight chart (for those times when I have to know how much butter or something else weighs because the converter gives me a liquid measure and I need a weight one) and the ability to call my mom when I’m trying for the 4 billionth time to cook her Beef Stroganoff as well as she does!

    2. Chopping knife… This one is my own creation, and I own the only one, so telling you much about it wouldn’t do much good lol.

    3. Cast Iron skillet… I have about 20 or so different pieces of cookware in my cabinets, of all types and sizes, but my old cast iron skillet is still my favorite.

    4. Scissors… My kitchen scissors are actually the same kind that are used by EMTs on ambulances. They have no problem cutting through cartilage, heavy fat and small bones, and are surprisingly good with paper, plastic, herbs and such…

    5. My Porcelain Brick. Whenever I’m making a cheesecake or something else that needs to maintain a high level of humidity in the oven, I soak my brick in some water while I’m preparing it and then put it on the bottom rack of my oven… Works perfectly every time!

  34. wasabi prime Said,

    I’m reading through others’ lists and I’m inspired! Love the porcelain brick for keeping humidity in the oven. I’ve done ice cubes before, but the brick is a smart way to keep things consistent without opening/closing the door.

    1. wooden spoons, especially the giant wooden long-necked rice paddle; great for all cooking, given its wide edge
    2. microplane – not just for citrus zesting; great for pulverizing garlic into a paste
    3. mandoline – aside from some bad accidents, the ceramic blade is fantastic and makes for fast slicing
    4. pie tins – not for baking, just for setting up lightweight mise en place, as well as holding foodscraps to be thrown into compost pile
    5. Multiple dishtowels – seems weird, but having up to three around the kitchen — one by the sink, one by the oven, one over the shoulder — makes for quick cleaning and protecting hands and surfaces from hot dishes

  35. Matt Said,

    I think I’m late to this thread, but:

    My favorite strange little device is a shot glass with measuring gradients on it. It’s super for multiple tsps and tbps measurements, also has ml and others I can’t recall now. It’s so great to measure 3 tsp without having to do three measurements. I bought a second one.

    My cast iron skillet. My wife assures me that it loves me, too.

  36. Ray Shephard Said,

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