Discussion: Most Underrated Kitchen Tools and Most Overrated Kitchen Tools?

You may be right. Many Asian hotpot restaurants use induction glass stoves, and the stoves are always clean. So they may be easier to clean.

I’ll add a vote to glass cooktops being overrated. The previous owners of our house installed an electric range with glass cooktop to achieve a streamlined look when they remodeled the small kitchen. I thought I’d be fine with it. Not. Even. Close.

How I long for the immediate response and fuss-free upkeep of the relatively cheap gas stove in our former home. I am too thrifty to replace the newer model electric range we have here so I’ll have to live with the vexation of a glass cooktop.

I manage the constant gunk with Wieman Glass Cooktop Cleaner. So maybe my underrated thing ought to be “kitchen cleaning products that work.”
https://weiman.com/products/glass-cooktop/heavy-duty-cleaner-polish/

1 Like

yes.

Ignoring slightly how much I use it, and focusing more on how much “hype” there is around it (if such a thing can be said for a kitchen item).

Contrary to Kaleo for underrated I’m going to say the pressure cooker. Worth it just for the time reduction when making stocks, but also makes things like pork cheeks at a reasonable rate rather than having to dedicate an afternoon to it. Maybe I can’t say it’s underated given how Serious Eats have hyped them a bit, but here in the UK I’ve got the impression that people seem to avoid them due to how the older style were feared, or simply don’t know what to do with them.

For overrated, I’m going to say sous vide. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very very useful technique, and I won’t be getting rid of my Anova anytime soon. BUT there is or was so much hype around it. It seems some people think or push that EVERYTHING is better cooked sous vide. There are recipes out there for things that just don’t make sense and I think some people have lost their heads on this one.

6 Likes

Overrated. Stainless steel appliances. The fingerprint marks.Ughh.

1 Like

I put slow cookers & garlic presses in the overrated category. Right now for underrated I’d say the stove. I have a bad one right now & it just drives me crazy. It’s a glass cooktop which has all sorts of problems & considerations in addition to the whole cleaning issue. It’s also a very cheap stove & I bet the big burners are only 1500 BTUs. Takes a long time to make spaghetti.

I like my ice cream maker but only cuz I learned how to make really good ice cream in it. A good food processor is a must in my kitchen because it’s a time saver. I just replaced a crappy Kitchenaid with a really nice Cuisinart. I like my pressure cooker although I don’t use it a lot.

Finally - I can’t say enough about a good stand mixer. I just had to replace mine but I’ll do a separate post about that. It’s a mainstay & a workhorse in my kitchen.

1 Like

I recently bought a circulator and it’s useful but I feel quite overrated. Much of the time when I ponder using it I decide it’s just easier in the oven. Also I feel it’s not great for the fatty cuts that many use it for, the fat doesn’t really render. Steaks I prefer reverse sear. I made sous vide egg cups. Why? It’s faster and same result in the oven.

The current bane of my existence! Fancy new fridge…I spend every day wiping it down.

1 Like

I use my slow cookers frequently, especially in the colder months.
Stews, braises, cut up whole chicken, dry bean preparations etc. Some of these dishes I’ll cook sous vide, but if I don’t think a couple of days ahead, the slow cooker is faster plus you get more gravy.

I will say the slow cooker excels at reconstituting dry beans! I usually don’t plan far enough in advance to use dry, though.

Overrated: Wooden spoons! I don’t understand their popularity. They are clumsy and hard to clean. They are pretty, though.

Underrated: Real RUBBER spatulas - not silicone - rubber is much better from scraping every bit of delicious batter from a bowl.

Overrated - Soup Ladles. They’re not useful except in very large pots, and even then they can’t extract all the soup. The odd shape makes them a 1 trick pony.

So what do you use to serve soup?

I use the shallow spoon in the picture

Overrated: good sharp knife

This is not for me personally. I love my knives and have them sharpened regularly. However, never once have I seen a Pakistani or Indian kitchen with a quality knife, let alone a sharp one. Yet these kitchens churn out high volumes of home cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Impromptu gatherings of 15 people are very common. And about 4 to 5 times a year, Indian/Pakistani families will host 40+ people for parties where traditionally all the food is home cooked and most guests are “good eaters.”

Once I bought Victorinox knives for all the family cooks. They kept cutting themselves because the knives were too sharp and heavy. Everyone went back to their dollar store knives. I have decent speed in the kitchen, but the speed with which some in my family use their dull, cheap knives is amazing.

2 Likes

I remember when I first switch from a dull knife to a sharp knife. It was surreal. I didn’t cut myself, but I kept on cutting into my cutting board (because I was used to using heavy force).

Interesting point, bmorecupcake.

My experience is that while the knives used in typical subcontinental kitchens are certainly not as sharp as the knives used in western kitchens or Chinese kitchens, they’re still not hugely dull. And, in the old days, knife sharpener-wallahs with their leather straps, made the rounds of homes. There are also specialized cutting tools – for scraping the insides of coconut, for example – that are wickedly sharp.

I think it’s related to the nature of the cuisine: there’s a higher proportion of vegetable cooking in the subcontinent and the tools don’t need to be as finely honed as you’d need to cut up, say, a chicken. Plus, since many things are stewed (cooked in sauces) the precise shapes, therefore precise knifework, isn’t as important as in Chinese cookery (for example).

There is a lot of mincing needed for some subcontinental dishes (garlic-ginger, etc.), but it’s achieved more by pounding on a stone than by knifework.

1 Like

Under rated, ice cube trays-we have dozens of uses for them.
Over rated, juicers-more work to clean and not fiber beneficial.
useless, honey dippers

1 Like

I’m exzackly opposite on the slow cooker. We use ours in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven which is about eight months a year here in steamy Houston. It’s great for roasts when MY HEB has loss leaders on roast. We’ll add some short ribs plus the usual vegetable suspects.

Underrated: toaster oven for leftovers and simple dishes like nachos and tostadas.

We’ve been known to smuggle one into our hotel room as there is nothing finer than eating central Texas Luling/Lockhart BBQ on the San Antonio River Walk plus some good TexMex from Los Barrios.

1 Like

I use my slow-cooker at least twice a week, for making stock (in small apartment-sized quantities) beans and other things.

I no longer have a full-sized stove or want one. What I do want is a QUALITY countertop convection oven, but I guess that should be its own topic.