Cambrian: Slice of Life

What’s that kitchen gadget, again, and just why do I need it?

The mystery gadget was finally identified. Can you guess what it is?
The mystery gadget was finally identified. Can you guess what it is?

Get thee behind me, celebrity chefs Ree Drummond, Rachael Ray and Giada de Laurentiis. I want to not buy any more of your kitchen gadgets.

It’s nothing personal, but I’m maxed out. Done. Finished. Enough. This madness has to stop (I hope).

I know I’m not alone in my culinary-collecting habit. Not when the shopping mecca of HGTV.com featured a story recently about how to “De-Clutter Your Kitchen.”

So, I will put on my blinders and sidestep the peg-board areas of Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma (I refuse to boycott Cambria’s own A Matter of Taste store!). I’ll diligently toss catalogs from Pottery Barn and Sur La Table before they ever get inside the house. I’ll even hide or delete culinary-equipment postings on Facebook without even looking at them.

It’s a devilishly difficult habit to break. For so many years, I’ve collected widgets and gadgets that promise to do something for me that I never knew I wanted done, and thingamajigs guaranteed to make easier those tasks that I almost never do anyway.

Doodads, doohickeys, devices and tools. ... I just can’t resist. I’m helpless when confronted with the siren song of a handy new gizmo.

I mean, did I really need a silicone ladle that looks like the Loch Ness Monster? How about a grater thingy that scrapes the char off burned toast? Or a cutter that, in one smooth move, divvies up a banana into equal chunks or slices (ever heard of a knife, pal?).

There are tools that twirl, cut, chop, divide, guard, measure, ream, spiralize, squeeze, sharpen or serve.

Unfortunately, each tool does only one task, and while it may do that job very well, thank you, the gadget can occupy a lot of space while it’s sitting around waiting for me to be ready to start that chore. If that ever happens.

My frustration isn’t just that I don’t know why on earth I ever bought some of those gadgets that I’ve never, ever used. It’s that I no longer know what some of those out-of-the-box thingamajigs are or what they’re supposed to do.

Is that pitiful, or what?

Take this little red silicone whatsis. It looks like a crazy cartoon character from “Beauty and the Beast.” I expect it to break into song and dance.

I found it nestled among our spatulas and spoons, forks and flippers — all those things we use so many times a day, every day.

I had been rummaging around in the drawer, looking for the Sharpie pen we use so often, usually to write on blue painter’s tape, most often to create a description-and-date label to stick on a container of something edible. The label tells us what the food was, and when, before the container disappeared at the back of the refrigerator shelf near the curry paste, olives and mystery meat.

But back to the tool drawer and this … whatever it is.

It’s a cute gadget, sort of, with its wide eyes and silly smirk. It looks like it wants to be useful, but for what, I had no idea.

I studied it to see if I could divine what its purpose is. Desperately curious, I scoured Amazon, eBay and Google, searching for “ludicrous lid lifter,” “crazy kitchen character” and “silly spatula.”

Do you know how hard it is to search for information about something when you don’t know what to call it?

I took the gadget back into the kitchen to see if I could make it fit somewhere, or get it to accomplish something crucial so I’d know why the heck I ever bought it in the first place.

Finally, as the clock struck lunchtime, I set the gadget aside in disgust, and went to fix Husband Richard some homemade soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.

The toaster oven’s buzzer dinged. I reached in to get the sandwich and … Eureka!

I quickly Google-searched to confirm my suspicions, and found that my goofy gadget is, indeed, a $3 “Silicone Devil Oven-and-Toaster-Rack Puller.” Hook it over the rack and tug, Kathe.

Just what every kitchen needs to clog up the drawer, right?

And the obvious question: Where did I get it, and why?

Oh, my. I do need help, don’t I?

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