Stupid little useful things

I got an advertising email from Amazon today, for ramekins.

I have a set of these from Corning that are at least 15 years old. At least. They may be a little smaller. I bought them on a whim. I’ve used them for everything from creme brulee to M&Ms. Ceviche appetizers to palate cleansers. Nuts. Pickles. I have even made popovers in them once. Condiments at upscale barbecues. They get used often enough that I can lay my hand on them in the cabinet where the live without actually looking.

So whatcha’ got? Gadgets need not apply. Stupid little useful things is a whole new category.


Antique flow blue butter pats, about 6-8 of them, similar to the pic below. I use them for mise en place for dry spices (or for minced garlic, etc.) Hand wash only.


Stupid, little, but useful.
Well maybe just stupid and little.

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I also have lots of small ramekins. As you say they are very useful. They are used for tea bags to prevent drips taking them to the bin, a rest for my V60 cones to prevent drips, holding maltesers, minstrels or chocolate buttons to ensure fair shares or for mise en place when cooking Asian food, to hold various sauces, pastes and additions. Never bought one though as they always came with our favourite puddings.



Iced tea spoons (e.g., good for getting stuff out of tall jars) and bamboo chopsticks (e.g. heat-resistant cooking utensils, especially for non-stick pans, and two laid parallel are a quick base for hot pans on a table).


Very handy things. I take four when I travel. Very many uses. Excellent point.

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I also find ramekins useful, but I have way more of these, and use these the same way. I’ve forgotten what they’re called; from my “tapas” phase. I must use about five a day.

ETA cazuelas!

I use these fondue forks to get things out of narrow jars.


Totally agree with you and Auspicious both. I keep some in my car, my desk at work, I use the in gardening, too- they’re indispensible to me


Okay. Those are coming out of deep storage. At least one.


Why 4?

What is that?


That’s where I use them?

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Meatball tongs, I use the small ones often, never used the big ones. I like dainty meatballs.


Sauce dished, I also use them for mise en place.


Totally agree about the ramekins/mise-en-place bowls and chopsticks. So many uses for both.


Two pairs. One aluminum, one bamboo. The aluminum ones have been used as electrical conductors more than once.


It looks medieval huh?


Ohhhhhhh! Of course. I think I’ve seen that on some cooking competition.

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I was gifted these herb scissors and thought they would be pretty useless. Now I can’t live without them. (I lost the comb immediately, but they’re not hard to clean.)

Screenshot 2021-07-01 at 23-14-05 Amazon com Master Culinary Multipurpose 5-blade Herb Scissors w Longfinger Cleaning Brush...


I also use my ramekins for most about everything other than baking something in them. I use them so guests and I can make little bowls of dipping sauce for hot pot when we do our holiday got pot dinners. They hold leftover chopped scallion, garlic and of course leftover sauce that you can’t throw out because you have some leftovers. It also really holds the leftover bacon fat until i can use it for something when I make dinner.

I steam things a lot so those small plates are great for streaming frozen buns or anything else you need to heat up in a wok or steamer.

I have metal skewers that are used to seal up your poultry, but turns out i use them more to punch a little hole in egg before i cook it. If i want a perfectly cooked egg for homemade ramen, and I can’t break out the sous vide, a trick I learned is punching a small hole before putting it in the boiling water. Swirl it in the pot while you cook, and the water will cook the egg more evenly.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold