Those tools you don't use?

There was an interesting story in the New York Times' Dining section this week about single purpose (expensive) tools that sit in a corner or drawer and never come out. I'm guilty myself. From Rome I have this beautiful, folding porcini knife. On the side there is a measuring grid and at the back there's a little brush. I admit to being an obsessive knife guy but I'm probably 1500 miles from the nearest porcini. What do you have?

  • Posted by: pierino
  • March 24, 2012
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LucyS March 25, 2012
Mandoline. It's a sad and oft-told tale. The first time I used it, it worked great! I cut a huge chunk out of my pinky and ended up in the ER. Blood all over the kitchen. I put it in a cupboard for the next two months or so until I was completely healed and realized I will probably never get over my fear. I'm sorry to admit I threw it away - my finger will never be quite the same and I just couldn't look it in the eye anymore.
susan G. March 25, 2012
Here's another: I have traveled and moved many times since buying 2 coeur a la creme molds (ceramic, heart shaped, holes for drainage). I look at them, put them back in the cupboard (with the cookie cutters). This conversation reminded me of them, but I think I finally know what to do with them. I recently made ricotta for the first time, and now paneer is posted (thank you, P) -- I'll put either of them in, let them drain, and have something pretty to look at when I use them. Rescued!
SKK March 25, 2012
Another thing I used once was a kind of soft rubber tube that is supposed to peel garlic. You put the garlic cloves in there and get a kind of rolling rubber action. It was harder to clean the tube afterwards.
I am throwing it out today, not even sending to Good Will because no one should be cursed with such a thing.
I am of the smash and then peel the garlic school now.

Panfusine March 25, 2012
This tong like contraption that I ordered from Amazon that shapes up tortillas into curved tacos when frying . That thing does nothing but wedge itself into the drawer its been sitting in ever since it arrived. Its a great thing to have f you like getting the drawers nicely wedged & stuck.
amysarah March 25, 2012
I also have myriad cookie cutters from when my kids were small (holiday shapes, inexplicable shapes...) - I have a sentimental notion of giving them to my daughter someday; I'm sure she'll humor me and take them.

Also many other silly tools, but most were gifts or have some kind of history. For example: small silver asparagus-shaped tongs bought by my mother in Paris in the '70's, momentarily deluded that she'd get fancy with asparagus; 4 mother of pearl caviar spoons - a wedding gift from someone who apparently thought my life would involve serving mounds of caviar for 4; an egg separator - useless, but printed with the logo of my grandfather's long defunct company; a scary guillotine for shucking clams - no idea.
Bevi March 25, 2012
An egg yolk separator.
creamtea March 25, 2012
I have barquette molds I used once for lemon-curd tartlets: the guests fell all over the Milano cookies I served at the same time, rather eating than the tartlets. A heart-shaped cookie cutter, and heart-shaped pancake molds I used when the kids were small. Also some small Japanese appetizer-cutters; I used to cut cheese for the kids into cherry-blossom shapes. A spritz-cookie maker, and a cupcake tree. I may have a creme-brulee torch hiding out somewhere. Am tempted to buy Japanese Hello Kitty hard-cooked egg molds, but after reading this thread I'll try to resist... Fun thread.
Heidi S. March 24, 2012
Good point on the cookie cutters. Maybe I'll send them on their way. The rarely-used mini pie pans however, like the smallest brioche you've ever seen, are hanging around a while longer. They are for a family sweet. Mom gave them to me years ago. Since then I've bothered with all the steps and clean up once. But maybe I will again sometime.

Voted the Best Reply!

Sadassa_Ulna March 24, 2012
An asparagus cooker and a fish poacher are two pots that take up a lot space considering I use them less than once a year. I have an absurd amount of cookie cutters for someone who rarely makes roll-out cookies. Two "spritz" cookie presses have never been used. The meat grinder gets used maybe once a year when my husband makes hash. Various types of tea strainers have rarely been used in the last decade. Two wooden mini rolling pins, why?
Thanks Pierino, for reminding me I need to do some Spring cleaning!
Greenstuff March 24, 2012
I have most of those tools--the vegetable carvers, at least one scaling knife, the chopstick rests. I also have a herring fork from Sweden. Now I gotta get myself a mushroom knife!!
hardlikearmour March 24, 2012
Hah! I have one of those mushroom knives, but I use it when I go mushrooming. They work quite well for chanterelles, BTW.
hardlikearmour March 24, 2012
PS. You are closer to porcini's than you think! From Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora regarding Boletus edulis: "In coastal northern California and Oregon it grows with pines and spruce in the fall." I have never been lucky enough to find one that wasn't disgustingly maggoty, though!
pierino March 24, 2012
Yeah, I've never found those Oregon porcini to be terribly appetizing. Pine and mushroom is not a happy combination, nor is pine and truffle.
hardlikearmour March 24, 2012
I dunno, Matsutakes have a pretty fantastic flavor and they like to grow with pine and other conifers. As far as hunting goes, though, Chanterelles and hedgehogs are my favorite. They don't attract worms, and they're relatively easy to correctly identify.
SKK March 24, 2012
A box of chop-stick holders. They are designed to sit beside your plate and rest your chop-sticks on between courses or while you are drinking saki. They were a gift. Problem is, I don't have any chop-sticks.
susan G. March 24, 2012
A fish scaling knife. I didn't buy it because I have any need -- just because it was hand made and handsome. I look at it occasionally.
lloreen March 24, 2012
A special set of tools for carving vegetables into flowers I got in Hoi An, Vietnam. Turns out, I am not the kind of person who spends time sculpting carrots. It has never come out of the box...
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