Recently, a coworker invited me to her new home for a Pampered Chef party. In case you’re not familiar, Pampered Chef is a
pyramid scheme multilevel marketing consultant-based company selling kitchen gadgets – everything from this Salad Chopper (better than regular kitchen scissors because they’re spring-loaded, so you never have to worry about increasing your hand strength even a little!) to this Cookware Protector Set (the same goal could be accomplished with a few paper towels or scraps of fabric, but that wouldn’t sell for $11). Their niche is selling really specific items to create the idea in their customers’ minds that their kitchen – nay, life – is not complete without one more “time-saving” item.
Girls at work were passing around the catalog and raving over their favorite kitchen tools and must-haves. The one that really blew my mind was the Mix ‘N Chop. Described on the Pampered Chef website as “the easiest way to chop and crumble food. It gets into the corners of your cookware without scratching the surface. A must for ground beef and turkey, scrambled eggs and homemade tomato sauce!”
Are people actually struggling to brown ground beef with a regular spatula? Stir tomato sauce with a spoon? Make scrambled eggs, which you can practically do just by shaking the egg pan?!?
I’m not saying kitchen gadgets are bad, nor Pampered Chef as a brand. I don’t recommend using your hand in a hot pan, in place of a spatula or spoon. I like kitchen gadgets when they truly serve a purpose. If they serve more than one purpose, even better!
Some of my favorites:
- Coffee Gator: pour-over coffee maker (no plastic, makes a mean cup of coffee)
- Pizza Stone: you pre-heat this along with the oven when making pizza and it gets the crust really crispy. You can cook all kinds of other stuff on it too.
- Vitamix Blender: you can blend, chop, make your own flour, and blend up seriously good smoothies in this. Washing it is super easy (just add sudsy water and run the thing) and it’s extremely durable.
I’m not recommending you buy these, just demonstrating that I don’t hate all kitchen gadgets and appliances. There are some good ones out there that really hold up and make life easier. I think there are also some that really aren’t worth it. Here are a few that I’ve ditched over time:
- A dishwasher: totally worth having if you have lots of space and wash lots of dishes. Our household is just 2 people in a small space. Converting the dishwasher space into more storage space for Costco runs and hand-washing dishes has worked better for us.
- A garlic press: not sure who thought up this worthless piece of kitchen bullshit, but it seems to never actually press the garlic, is difficult to clean, and is hell in a kitchen gadget drawer, always finding its way to the back and jamming the drawer shut.
- Microwaves and toasters: heating up food on the stove top or in the oven is generally healthier and sometimes just as fast. If your life is so jam-packed that you can’t function without a microwave, re-prioritizing your time might be a better solution than a microwave. Using an oven to make toast might be inefficient – so either skip the toast or recognize that owning dozens of appliances to do essentially the same things is also inefficient.
- A full silverware and dish set: two people don’t need a 100-piece set of big and little plates and cups, mugs, forks and spoons unless they’re regularly entertaining. Keeping out only what we use on a regular basis keeps us from going a long time between washing dishes and keeps the cabinets and counter tops from getting cluttered.
The bad thing about Pampered Chef gadgets and kitchen stuff in general is this idea that you need more shit to make your life simpler. This is a lie and a fundamental misunderstanding for anyone confused as to why they’re always out of kitchen space and money, while returning home from another trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Things will pretty much always cost you money and space, so unless the thing improves your life or is a fundamental part of your organization systems, skip it.
We’ll explore more about organized living in small spaces in future posts. What unhelpful kitchen gadget are you thinking about ditching this week?