Are "hipster gizmos" really ruining cooking?

Just read this WSJ article by Keith Blanchard ( that laments the sad state of affairs for contemporary home kitchens, which, in his view, are overrun with "hipster gadgets" like mini donut makers, pens for coffee art, macaron kits, et cetera. Not sure how much sway his argument holds for me! Anyone else have thoughts?

Mayukh Sen


Jennifer S. November 30, 2016
I have a Universal Cake Maker, which is basically a 1904 hand crank version of a handheld mixer. Universal also made bread makers (hand crank dough buckets, basically) and even a mayonnaise mixer! Gizmos have been around for ages. I don't have a lot of gizmos in my kitchen, and don't want them, but they're nothing new.
BerryBaby November 29, 2016
Not for me! I have a zucchini machine that makes ribbons, that is the only 'gadget' that I have and it is fun to use. Has it ruined it for me? No. I still slice zucchini, chop it, dice it, eat it raw, cooked, it just gives me an additional fun option. This article is silly IMO.
sfmiller November 29, 2016
To the extent the piece had a serious point, I thought it was overblown.

It's not as if this is the first time in human history that people have sold and bought kitchen gadgets of dubious usefulness, to the consternation of self-identified purists. There's a new crop of gizmos every Christmas shopping season. Some catch on, most end up on thrift-store shelves.

I'm old enough to remember jeremiads about that newfangled gadget, the microwave oven, ushering in the end of home cooking.

Somehow it managed to survive. And I presume will survive the mini donut maker.
Cav November 29, 2016
Article is behind a paywall, so am not going to read it but.....

why on earth is it a sad state of affairs?

A kimchi kit would be more hipster than a sauerkraut kit, but so long as it produces good kimchi / sauerkraut, why care? These are old school things to make. Cake pops and little baked doughnuts are nothing new, the kits just make it easier to do at home. Waffle makers have been around for ages, yet have been hipsterized thanks to people making stuffing waffles, falafal waffles and waffle waffles. If someone wants to make macaroon, a kit is a helping hand to ease them into it. Never heard of coffee art pens but hey, if it means I can draw obscenities in my coffee instead of on the wall, and then destroy the evidence, I'm down for a set.

And what many of these gadgets and kits seem to do is enable those of us without a delightful rural farmhouse with attached dairy and forge to make batches of sauerkraut in amounts that make sense for our pokey urban cupboards. Which we can then waffle.

Of course a kit or machine is not generally going to produce great food. But it can lead a person to do better than the kit.

What is a sad state of affairs is the annual abuse of slow cookers, where sodium mush bombs are swaddled to be fed to people that are supposedly loved ones. The long line of identikit Food Network cooks who can't. Ludicrous working hours meaning people have less time to cook and to learn to cook well. Not people cluttering up their kitchens with stuff that might spark a passion, make good food and create memories. Such things being a cause of bemoaning and oh woe for the generations to come, with their Hello Kitty cake pops and Simpsons ice lollies is more indicative that the author is an utter pillock than a cause for concern.

And thus I feel the need to dig out the sausage making attachments for my Kitchen Aid.

(For full disclosure, I would probably be seen as an aging hipster as I have autumnal colours in my hair, which is an undercut, glasses and beard with vintage t shirts (which I bought new). Yet I have no sous vide, thermo pen, searzall, instant pot or ice wand. But I do have an ice cream machine, juicer, pasta roller Chinese black vinegar and agar agar).
Smaug November 29, 2016
Is hipster gizmo an oxymoron? We await the verdict of history. I suspect most of these things are given as gifts to people who don't cook much anyway, and are used to fill the small spaces left in storage areas around the decomissioned exercise equipment. I can't imagine a even a mildly engaged cook being derailed by a bagel boiler.
Jeremy B. November 29, 2016
I won't comment on whether it is ruining things, but it does break the Alton Brown "Death to unitaskers" rule that I follow pretty religiously. Things like these are fun maybe once or twice then they just take up space and aren't useful.
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