Culinary Esoterica and Ephemera Rarely Used

My heavy cleaver lives in a drawer of little-used tools. So when I reached for the cleaver the other day, I saw my… larding needles. My soft-boiled egg “clacker”. My truffle shaver. The clam knife. Curved sailmakers’ needles. A refractometer and pH meter. A tiny electronic french press timer. A buffalo iron. Etc., etc.

Same with cookware: the tall, narrow asparagus pot and strainer that hold utensils. The manual coffee grinder. The 5K bascule scale and weights. 5 sizes of saute pans.

I seldom use any of these things, but when I need them, I appreciate having them.

So are you No-Guru-No-Kondo like me, or have you offloaded the specialty tools you seldom use?

Which obscure tool would you hang onto even if you never cooked again?

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Not sure I need to keep them forever, but specialized things I own but rarely use include a gelato machine and a confectionery funnel.

The stuff that was gifted to me, because it has some sentimental value. Unfortunately, there’s kind of a lot of it.

I have a food mill that I REALLY WANTED at one time, but by the time I found one I liked, I had forgotten why I wanted it in the first place. It’s sitting on a shelf, waiting for me to donate it to charity. At which point I’ll undoubtedly remember why I wanted it, and desperately try to get it back. I also have a round-bottom wok, just waiting for the day we remodel the kitchen and replace the electric cooktop with gas.


Yup. I can never get rid of the giant whoopie pie pan because my wife gave it to me.


After watching some youtube videos, I was convinced I needed an offset spatula/knife for frosting cakes. So, I purchased one. I really did try to use it, but it felt awkward and I didn’t have the control I had with just a plain butter knife. It resides in a drawer… I should donate it, so someone else can use it.

That and my air fryer. The air fryer was a dumb purchase, I only use it for a couple of dishes I prepare and I think I could do those in a regular oven and just turn the item a few times. Moreover its a pain to clean. It resides all the way in the back of my pantry.


I have a drawer relegated to esoterica. Turkey forks, jar opener, electric knife, noodle/ lattice roller, melon baller, probable other things I have forgotten I have. I may need them some day so they are all staying.

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Have you ever used it? I got H a waffle iron ages ago (he asked for it), but I am not seeing any damn waffles!

It’s not obscure by any stretch, but I’ve got a makisu (the bamboo mat to roll sushi) patiently awaiting germane usage.

The reason it’s still around is because I bought it many moons ago in Kappabashi, the kitchenware district of Tokyo.


When you do use it, put it inside a gallon zip lock bag to protect it. Then when you are done making sushi rolls, you can throw away the zip lock bag and your mat is still pristine.
My girlfriend loves sushi, so I make it from time to time. I order the nori half sheets (seaweed) in bulk off of ebay, as it is a lot cheaper than trying to find them locally.
To inspire you:


More inspiration, less surimi :sunglasses:

And nori from eBay? no kidding. Where do you buy the fish? (no sarcasm intended)

Have you used the makisu for anything else?

I have a big container full of infreuquently-used tools that I keep hidden away so they don’t clutter up the single utensil drawer:

melon baller
meat mallet
one-cup silicone ladle (I use it to make jam and a couple other things)
60s-era nut crackers (Mom hates nuts except pistachios so I don’t know why we have these)
odd-shaped spatulas that Mom had but I have no use for
wooden crab mallets
corn-on-the-cob handles
random tong-type tools


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I get Ahi Tuna from my local grocery store. (I think the brand is Orca Bay) It is frozen, but once thawed makes great sushi. A one pound pack goes on sale from time to time for $5.99 - $6.39, so I stock up.

I live in the AZ desert, so getting fresh crab is hard (and very expensive), so I use imitation crab for my California Rolls.

I also watch for sales at Sprouts and have gotten Sockeye Salmon fillets, there. I use a very sharp knife (and some patience) to remove the skin. Once complete, this makes some GREAT sushi rolls.

I’ve only used my mat to make rolls, though.

I also own a Sushi Chef Cap, that I wear “just for fun”. My girlfriend enjoys the added authenticity and smiles with delight as I prepare roll after roll.


A grape leaf roller, bought from a guy selling them on the street in Istanbul many many years ago. Tried it once and couldn’t make it work. Turns out it’s probably a cigarette machine. Whatever it is, I still have it and can’t get rid of it because I bought it from a guy on the street in Istanbul. This is often my problem.


Funny how we are all different. I got a small offset spatula for some unknown reason and turns out I use it all the time. I don’t do much frosting of actual cakes; knife is more frequently used to spread peanut butter, cream cheese, thicker marinades, and the like.

I also use the air fryer at least 2x/week. I especially enjoy roasted mushrooms, green beans, baked potatoes, and (guilty pleasure) Costco Tempura Shrimp

I couldn’t do without my offset spatula for frosting cakes. I also have a small one I use for touch-ups on spots I missed. As well, I have a wide spatula (called a pancake turner) that I use for transferring cakes and layers to cake plates.


Once. I like whoopie pies, but I never had any intention of making them, let alone one that’s the size of a layer cake.

Stuff my mom gave me. Stuff my grandmother gave me. As long as I’m sentient, just seeing it is worth the space/clutter.


I was struggling to think of much, until I saw this. My son and I started making sushi rolls about 7 years ago and quit after about the 5th or 6th time. So it’s still there “awaiting germane usage”, as you put it, for the last 6 or so.

The only other thing I can think of that I bought “because I really needed it” but then haven’t used much, is the meat slicer. I’ve had it for about 2 years and only used 4 or 5 times, either for chilled roast beef slices or salumi/whole muscle charcuterie. I had a thread on the latter and was making quite a few different types, but without a proper drying chamber managing the rate of dehydration got too tedious for me.

We do still have a bread machine sitting in the pantry, but that’s less on point for the question of the OP, because we used it nearly weekly for many years until I got more into free-form bread baking.

Maybe I’ll go looking through the drawers for inspiration.

Edit - there are some things inherited like the fondue pot, electric skillet, and gawdawful non-stick electric wok that we never use and should toss.

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I’m probably too much of a klutz to use it properly.