Multi-use Tools or How to lose a finger in the kitchen.

1. I like kitchen gadgets. I like appliances and little tools, pots and pans and whatever else you can think of. Since most of our wedding registry is really for me in this regard, I’ve taken to putting things like the entire Deadwood series in our registry so Chris has some guy stuff. Plus I let him put a branding iron for steaks with his monogram in there.

2. I’m a huge fan of Alton Brown. He’s a geek, like me. His television show is a lovely combination of food and Mr. Wizard scientific stuff. In many episodes, he will also have a segment on cooking equipment- utensils, appliances, etc. Alton is not a fan of the one use tool. He prefers what he calls multi-taskers. He once said something about the only acceptable single use kitchen tool is the fire extinguisher.

Balancing my love of gadgetry with knowing I should minimize junk in my drawers is not always easy. Hence, the multi-tasker’s true advantage: cool tools in less space! But is it possible to go too far- combine tools in such a way as to render the original useless or more hassle than its worth?

I’m going to go with yes, after viewing these new knives at The Kitchn: BasicKnives


(photo from the The Kitchn, reference first found at The Food Section)

At first, I thought these were a good idea. And in limited use, I can see how some portions might come in handy. For example, the zester tool which could also be used to make peels for drink decoration. The little scoops for small amounts of herbs- although limited to dried herbs or salts- might also have its place. I admit to using the pointed end of the knife to scoop out garlic and ginger from their respective jars although I keep that to a minimum in fear of contamination.

Now the grater. Originally, I thought: fantastic! I own 4 different graters (at least) but the convenience of not having to wash one for just a bit of fresh garlic would be lovely. Then mechanics got in the way. You see, I am left-handed and this lovely knife with build-in grater is not built for us southpaws. Those sharp biting little teeth would be scraping along my knuckles with every slice.

The peeler/knife combo, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me. That is just an amputation waiting to happen.
I loved the irony on the designer’s website:

Our world is over technologized and we tend to forget and enjoy daily things in life. Evidence can be found in our kitchen where blenders and food processors are taking over our place.

Bad English aside, if these complicated knives aren’t over technologized, I don’t know what is. Oh and I wouldn’t browse the rest of Ms. Noordijk’s site with kiddos around. Or at work. a-hem.

For an excellent source on all things Alton Brown, check out the Good Eats Fan Page with transcripts of every show (sorted chronologically and by main ingredient!) along with information on all the equipment and guest stars including Shirley O. Corriher, author of CookWise, The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking (buy it).


3 thoughts on “Multi-use Tools or How to lose a finger in the kitchen.

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