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By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Kitchen Trash

The Best Ridiculous Kitchen Tools

The Hutzler Banana Slicer

Some kitchen equipment must have been created just so it could get the most hilarious review on Amazon. (I’m thinking, of course, of the Hutzler Banana Slicer, and the 2011 review, titled “No More Winning For You, Mr. Banana!” Currently, almost 48,000 people have found this review helpful. It’s followed by the “Saved My Marriage” comment, which compares the banana slicer to the wheel, penicillin and the iPhone.)

If only I could write reviews like that. Or find kitchen equipment that enables those kinds of reviews. Luckily for me, my excellent colleague at Food & Wine, food editor Daniel Gritzer, is the Simon Cowell of the kitchen equipment world. He took on the task of finding the 10 Best Ridiculous Kitchen Tools. Take it away, Daniel.

Hutzler Banana Slicer
Let’s start with the king of ridiculous devices, the banana slicer that launched a zillion online comments. I thought this was a gag gift at first (as a gag gift, it’s pretty great!), but it turns out there are companies that actually sell this plastic, yellow, banana-shaped slicer. The best thing about it is surely the now-legendary review on Amazon that starts this way: “For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. ‘Use a knife!’ they say. Well...my parole officer won’t allow me to be around knives. ‘Shoot it with a gun!’ Background check...HELLO! I had to resort to carefully attempt to slice those bananas with my bare hands...” amazon.com

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
If you feel the need to waste away in Margaritaville as literally as possible, you can spend $230 (a bargain from the $425 list price) on this frozen-drink device that claims to shave ice rather than just crushing it. Alternatively, you can buy a good blender and make all the frozen drinks you ever want, plus about a million other things. amazon.com

Norpro Lemon Lime Slicer
Let’s be clear—this is a lemon/lime wedge cutter. If you’re past the point of being able to cut a lime wedge for your Corona, you probably shouldn’t be fooling around with a sharp-bladed piece of kitchen equipment either. amazon.com

Paderno Egg Separator
Here’s a tip: The best egg separator ever is located at the end of your forearm with five fingers attached. amazon.com

MSC Joie Simply Slice Strawberry Slicer
This little, bladed device is shaped like a strawberry so you know what fruit it’s designed to slice. Because it’s also a fruit slicer, it’s drawing plenty of comparisons to the Hutzler Banana tool. One customer noted that they’ll gladly stand in line for the iSlice mini with Bluetooth. amazon.com

West Bend Automatic Egg Cooker
Covered by a clear plastic dome, this egg cooker boasts the ability to hard- or soft-boil eggs just by pushing a button. I’m fairly certain that any civilization that considers boiling an egg to be too difficult an undertaking is doomed. amazon.com

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker
This machine makes breakfast sandwiches “in the comfort of your own home.” Something that can also be accomplished using a skillet. But more importantly, how do you divide up that one breakfast sandwich? Because it makes only one at a time. amazon.com

Rollie EggMaster Vertical Grill
According to the product description of this electric, egg-cylinder-producing machine, “Eggs might seem like an atypical kabob, but they’re delicious right off the wooden skewer.” Which tells you everything you need to know. amazon.com

Amco Serrated Salad Chopper
You know how a sharp knife never really cuts lettuce properly, making this device totally essential? Yeah, me neither. amazon.com

Amco Peach Pitter/Slicer
Of all the fruit slicers out there, I think I object to this one the most: It leaves so much fruit behind on the pit. Anyone using this should probably stick to mealy, out-of-season peaches. amazon.com

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Chicken Nation

Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart on Raising Chickens

Emeril Lagasse Interviews Martha Stewart on Raising Chickens

For F&W's September issue dedicated to all things chicken, TV star, philanthropist and New Orleans booster Emeril Lagasse interviews Martha Stewart about her famous birds.

Emeril Lagasse: My foundation helps support the Edible Schoolyard Project at an elementary school in New Orleans. What could my students there learn from raising chickens?
Martha Stewart: Every garden can benefit from a chicken coop and a flock of healthy birds. A little ecosystem can be developed that enables the chickens to eat all the vegetable scraps from the garden, and the owner to eat the eggs from the chickens. There's much to learn about backyard animal husbandry, and raising chickens is an excellent way to teach children the importance of good animal caregiving.

EL: If I were going to raise chickens, what breed would match my personality?
MS: I've always raised a variety of birds, finding that they are extremely interesting to look at and have different personalities. And the old saying that birds of a feather flock together is absolutely true. I think you should raise the big birds, like the Jersey Giants, the Buff Cochins, the Partridge Cochin and the Araucana.

EL: In New Orleans, we have some great chicken dishes. Do you have a favorite?
MS: One dish that I really enjoy is chicken-and-andouille gumbo, which happens to be the signature stew of New Orleans. It bears the imprint of nearly every ethnic group to have settled in the Crescent City. The gumbo includes the "holy trinity" of Cajun and Creole cooking: celery, onion and bell pepper. It must always be served over rice.

EL: What have you learned from raising chickens for so many years?
MS: That I can't possibly buy a store-bought egg. I can't bake or cook or eat anything but my own eggs. They are so good, so rich, so delicious and so nutritious when the chickens they come from are raised carefully and organically in your own backyard.

Related: Chicken Recipes and Cooking Tips
Recipes from Emeril Lagasse
Cooking with Eggs

Chicken Nation

Michael Symon's Top 5 Spice Rubs

Michael Symon's Spice Mixes

For F&W's September issue dedicated to all things chicken, superstar chef Michael Symon shared his favorite spice mixes.

To make each dry rub, toast 2 tablespoons of each ingredient in a small skillet over moderate heat until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and let cool, then coarsely crush.

No. #1
Coriander seeds, dried lemon peel and ground ginger.

No. #2
Cumin seeds, smoked paprika and chipotle chile powder.

No. #3
Dried oregano, dried orange peel and granulated garlic.

No. #4
Fennel seeds, dried orange peel and onion powder.

No. #5
Pink peppercorns, dried rosemary and granulated garlic.

TO USE: Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then rub and chill for 4 to 8 hours before roasting or grilling.

Related: Chicken Recipes and Cooking Tips
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100 Best Recipes Ever: Chicken

Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Grilled Radicchio with Goat Cheese and Herbed Tomato Dressing

Grilled Radicchio with Goat Cheese and Herbed Tomato Dressing

This end-of-summer salad takes care of the biggest problem in my kitchen as August turns to September: what to do with all of my tomatoes. I serve lamb chops or grilled chicken right on top of this all the time so the elements here are all multipurpose. I often use the grilled lettuce technique elsewhere, and the tomato vinaigrette is perfect with shellfish or as a kind of sauce for just about anything that benefits from the bright acidity. The trio of grilled radicchio (I prefer the long-leaf varietal for this recipe), goat cheese and tomato is about as essential as it gets, focusing heavily on sour-salty-bitter-sweet. The first time I saw this dish was during a press tour, I am guessing about 25 years ago, by Sir Terence Conran in support of one of his books or stores. I was part of the team in New York City, making the food for a massive dinner celebrating his incredible influence on the culinary world and I was assigned to prepare one of his chefs to make this dish as a small course. I have been cooking it ever since. Paired with crusty bread it stands on its own, thanks to the cheese pairing, but it's also killer with something off the grill as part of a meal. SEE RECIPE »

See More of Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures

Related: Delicious Grilled Vegetables
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Kitchen Trash

Why Salad is for Lovers and Toast is for Artists

Bacon Car

The Internet is a black hole for strange, weird and wonderful things—especially when it comes to food. Rather than dive in yourself, let F&W do it for you. Here, five of the most absurd food items we saw this week.

Megaburgerpizza: Move over, ramen burger. There’s a new hybrid food in town and it’s a college kid’s dream. The Megaburgerpizza is exactly what it sounds like: an enormous sandwich made up of burger patties sandwiched between two 11-inch cheese pizzas, dressed with ketchup, onions, pickles and mustard, weighing in at nearly 3 lbs. Japan’s Pizza Little Party chain will be selling the gut-busting dish through November 22.

Salad Dating App: Long walks on the beach and piña coladas are overrated. What you really need to know when you’re looking for a mate is if they share your taste in salad toppings. At least, that’s what Just Salad, a salad restaurant franchise, is counting on with their new SaladMatch app, which matches you and your salad eating habits with others of the same ilk.

Bacon Car: We keep thinking that bacon has jumped the shark once and for all. But then some one else finds a new and more ridiculous way to repurpose the crispy, meaty, obsessed-over breakfast meat. Ford recently announced the availability of giant vinyl bacon strips to decorate the new 2014 Ford Fiesta. Those who want the full bacon treatment should be willing to shell out some serious cash. It costs $3,347 plus installation fees for ten strips.

Toast Art: The perfect activity for insomniacs: Creating intricate anime portraits on toast using cocoa, green tea powder and clear plastic sheets for stenciling. Start your toast art at 3 a.m. and by the time you’re done, it’s breakfast!

Pizza Button: We can all agree that room service is one of the best things about staying in a hotel. But one hotel has figured out something better: pizza service. Every room at the Country Inn & Suites in Niagara Falls, NY includes a phone equipped with a pizza button, which connects guests to a local pizza parlor. If only all phones came with such a button.

Related: Over-the-Top Burgers
Incredible Bacon Recipes
Beautiful Art-Inspired Desserts

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