Engraved handle on a kitchen knife...
"look at me - I'm a chef". Strangely, chef was not the word that sprung to mind when I read that.
Reg Hardware Gizmo Week logo small Most of us actually have more gadgets in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house. And looking at the list here, it’s easy to see why. There are gizmos for every conceivable task, from opening a tin of beans to knocking up a homemade Scotch broth. Most of the gizmos here are genuinely …
"look at me - I'm a chef". Strangely, chef was not the word that sprung to mind when I read that.
The word, however, does start with 'C'.
That knife is one of the two things on that list I'd consider making space for and I've no illusions about being a "proper" chef (let alone Heston, whose food is pretentious beyond belief IMO).
The other's the pasta maker.
While the engraved handle is a pit pretentious, don't underestimate the importance of good kitchen knives. They can be sharpened to a better edge and hold it for longer.
A decent kitchen knife is easier to use, less likely to slip and cut you, and if you do they hurt a lot less :)
I have some of the knives for sushi making.
(No, I didn't get them engraved)
They are absolutely amazing. Did the apple test the day I got them - dropping an apple from 12 inches onto an outstretched blade. It went straight through. Needless to say, it was my best toy since I got rid of my lego.
Don't bother, Code Monkey. DIY fresh pasta is a much bigger PITA than bread. Better to find yourself a good Italian store to buy it from.
I'm sure a lot of cheap knives will pass the "apple test" on the day you buy them - it's how long they remain sharp that is what matters.
Japanese knives are serious stuff.
I got one as gift from a friend. Every adult in my household managed to get cut with it. I mean, it would cut you finger off just by looking at it sideways.
knifes do not 'stay sharp'. that is the common misconception that leads people to buy expensive knifes - usually japanese as they keep their edge a bit longer (see below).
the best thing you will every buy for the kitchen is a steel bar. Use it after EVERY TIME you use the knife.
yup - not once a year. or once every now and then. EVERY TIME. EVERY DAY.
I have a nice 10" from ikea. cost a tenner. cuts through anything like butter. had it for 2 years and use it everyday (with the steel bar).
the japanese tend to use sharpening stones for knifes rather than a steel bar, which leaves a sharper blade for longer, but then needs the stones again, plus it wears the knife out more than a bar.
It's horses for courses, but it is one of the reasons folk get lured into buying expensive japanese knifes.
How many folk have one of these 100 quid knifes in their kitchen and no sharpening device at all ? my bet is the majority....
Most disappointed nobody has Hattori Hanzō steel. Anything less will just get you killed.
You are correct that knives do not stay sharp and need to be sharpened. But Japanese knives really are different! They are sharpened differently to 'European' knives, due to the way they are made they can handle a much steeper angle. A butchers steel won't do them any favours.
I have never done the apple test with a kitchen knife, I was taught to run it over my arm and see if you could shave all the hairs off with it. This really doesn't last long at all so you need some sort of regular sharpening.
There is a downside though, if you do happen to cut yourself with one of these, it can be extremely bad, while cleaner and less painful, it will probably be a lot deeper and bleed a lot more!
Many Japanese people get their knives sharpened professionally. There is a man sets up stall outside my local supermarket twice a month. It costs about 1,000 yen.
The Atlas 150 with the Pastadrive motor. No need to hand crank your own pasta ;)
Why is this knife on the list? It's basically just a steel bladed knife. If you're going to have a knife on the list, and I'm not sure you should have anything that doesn't require power, it should be a Kyocera ceramic one.
Power isn't needed for a gadget. A swiss army knife definately counts as a gadget. (I'd not use one for cooking though)
A good knife is a must, but it doesn't have to cost quite that much : D
Using a blunt knife is as frustrating as using a gunked-up ball mouse on a bumpy surface, only far more dangerous.
Actually Swiss army knives work suprisingly well for cooking in a pinch, but that's usually out in the middle of nowhere over a campfire rather than in a kitchen.
Yes, I speak from experience.
I wonder who has the space for most of this junk.
£140 for a coffee / tea maker?
£145 for a toaster?
I think I'll stick to using the £20 Sainsburys toaster and a kettle, cup, teaspoon and tea bag thank you very much!
instant coffee is disgusting, stick to tea ... saying that, tassimo is not that good, where is Nespresso ??? far superior coffee, and no plastic (the Nespresso tubs recycle far better)
You are clearly not a toast connoisseur!
a £20 Sainsbury's toaster, pfft!
Tassimo? Nespresso? Almost as deplorable as instant coffee.
Buy your coffee as beans and keep it in the freezer. Grind it as you use it, and make your coffee in a straightforward espresso machine (I've been very happy with a basic DeLonghi, cost about £90). Use a thermometer when you steam the milk.
"instant coffee is disgusting, stick to tea ... saying that, tassimo is not that good, where is Nespresso ??? far superior coffee, and no plastic (the Nespresso tubs recycle far better)"
Pfftt! I spit on them all.... you can't beat a bean to cup coffee machine and medium/dark roast LaVazza coffee beans.
I'm afraid you are both wrong. There are much better roasters here in the UK that wipe the floor with the supermarket bought varieties (Has Bean, Monmouth, Square Mile etc). A Gaggia Classic is a much better machine although it takes a while to learn, and can be tweaked. If you want to just press a button that is fair enough, but it won't give you the best coffee. The Gaggia can use those tubs but its a waste of aluminium. Then there is the Aeropress for £20 ish which you'll have to spend a lot more to beat it.
Only green beans can be kept sealed in the freezer by the way. Roasted beans should just be kept in the sealed container and have a lifespan of 3 months. Grinding your own (or bean to cup) makes a huge difference.
well of course there is also non-trivial matter of a grinder .....
Beware of domestic Gaggias, they're trading on the reputation of their commercial cousins - Lovely to look at, and great while they're working, but the pumps and seals don't hold up well. Strangely, the machines branded as Saeco (who own Gaggia) are more robust, if less trendy looking.
In any case, I think that once you've got an acceptable level of quailty in the machine, a good grinder, that can produce consistently-sized grounds probably makes more difference for espresso than spending on a more expensive machine.
Agree with you on the Aeropress, but I've always found it a bit fiddly.
And finally, two more names for your roasters list: Matthew Algie & Co., and Badger & Dodo. The former does great rich, dark roasts, but I'm not sure if they sell direct; the latter has some really interesting single-origin light roasts, and they definitely do sell direct.
>Most of us actually have more gadgets in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house
Did you really mean, most of our "Wives/Girlfriends/Mothers" actually have more gadgets in the kitchen?
I would presume that the male members of El Reg have more gadgets of the "IT Kind" or "tools/gadgets" in their garages. I am surmising that the percentage of "male" El Reg readers is probably around the 90% mark.
It's what keeps you (and the rest of HomoSap) alive, fat & happy.
It might also impress your girlfriend, if you ever get one.
No, most of the gadgets in the kitchen are mine - the kettle, bread maker, food processor, even the springform cake tins...
And I suppose that it is your wife that repairs the cars, does the heavy gardening, does the tiling in the bathroom, the electrical work etc.....
In general I do the heavy stuff and she does the light stuff, my wife is not a Gorrilla. There is nothing misogynist or sexist it is simply a matter of physics.
I am not great at cooking, it simply doesn't interest me. By concertrating on the techy side of life , it keeps me in a job, keeps the car repair/gardening/maintenance bills down and thereby allows us more expenditure for good food, which the wife happily prepares ( She likes cooking , I don't ).
I imagine it is much the same scenario for most people.
>It might also impress your girlfriend, if you ever get one.
That says more about you that it does about me by the way.
"In general I do the heavy stuff and she does the light stuff, my wife is not a Gorrilla. There is nothing misogynist or sexist it is simply a matter of physics"
My wife trains horses. From my perspective, you are misogynistic.
"I am not great at cooking, it simply doesn't interest me. By concertrating on the techy side of life"
Chemicals, heat & time aren't techy? What color is the sky on your planet?
"I imagine it is much the same scenario for most people."
Probably. I feel sorry for most people.
"That says more about you that it does about me by the way."
::wry smile:: maybe. If you say so.
I know many women who are hands-on with engines and gadgets, and many who aren't. Settling down with someone who has complimentary skills and aptitudes to yourself isn't in itself misogynistic. However, I agree that that both parties should be capable of preparing food for each other! : D
I do know more female equestrians than I do male horsey types, though, and the opposite is true of mountain-bikers, even though http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missy_Giove was one of our teenage heroes.
A long as one remembers that everyone is an individual, and not a representative of their gender, it's all good!
Anecdotal, I know.
Apperently there is a larger ratio of Gordon Ramseys than Bill Gates types on this site than I imagined.
So are all you Gordon Ramsey types actually buying these kitchen items and really do have a serious interest in kitchen gadgetry........
I work in a large corporate envirnment with a large IT staff, about 98% male and I do not believe that I have ever heard any of them talking "Kitchen Talk". Obvioulsy my company is by no means representative of the El Reg readership....
I bow down to my Kitchen Bod overlords.....
You can walk the walk without having to talk the talk...
A recipe is just a set of instructions for making something, with some basic tools. How could any self-respecting engineer not be able to do that?
Yes , I agree any fool can follow a recipe and this is exactly why any self respecting engineer would not be interested. There is very little need, other than minor organisational skills, for the usage of the "la matiere grise".
Good food creation, in my opinion requires a completely different skill set and I would find it difficult to relate a rational/logical approach within that particular environment.
I would relate kitchen/culinary skills as belonging to a more artistic, less Cartesian world, hence my surprise to see so much interest from an engineering crowd, unless of course the Marketing dept read El Reg too.
No.. There are a lager percentage of men who cook than you imagined.. And what exactly makes you think Bill Gates can't cook?
These days, men cook, and women do DIY. The whole gender specific thing is a bit old fashioned.
I think yours might be the one with the Bernard Manning DVD in the pocket.
"I would relate kitchen/culinary skills as belonging to a more artistic, less Cartesian world, hence my surprise to see so much interest from an engineering crowd,"
Prep and actual cooking is chemical engineering. It doesn't have to be pretty to be a really, really good meal. It just has to taste nice & go down well. Remember that last "drippy" burger & chips you enjoyed? Smoked salmon? Cheese? Bread? Wine? Beer? All built by engineers ... even if most people call 'em "cooks" or "bakers" or brewers" or "winemakers", etc.
The artistic set has issues with grease on the elbows ... their world is all about presentation, and nothing about the actual diner's dinner. Think The French Laundry. Or iFads.
"unless of course the Marketing dept read El Reg too."
From my perspective, the entire world of Marketing has absolutely zero clue about the world that most ElReg readers live in ... Me, I feed people.
Probably because food recipes, like knitting patterns, tend to assume certain level of experience, and that you know what things like "fold" mean in that context.
the robostir. my son got one for my wife for mother's day and she loves it. and its only a tenner
hmmm, this article is surely just a way of boosting The Reg party funds via Amazon associate payments than a useful article about kitchen gadgets.... most of these are over priced tat - especially that see-through toaster....
one good point though, at least someone was able to spell "Bellissimo" ;-)
I don't get why you would want a cartridge coffee maker. You're tying yourself to one manufacturer and are forced to pay whatever they want to charge.
They may have me on printer cartridges, but I'll be damned if they get their hands on my coffee!
Clearly you've never investigated the options.
You chose a machine from a variety of manufacturers (much like a car), and those manufacturers offer different cartridge options (fuel type, petrol, diesel, electric). You then buy your coffee (fuel) from various outlets and your chosen cartrdidge format is produced by various coffee purveyors in various strengths.
Unless you've gone Nespresso, in which case you are right.
Paying for convenience.
At 30p a shot they're not cheap, but still much cheaper than a cup from a high street shop. There's a lot less faffing about than with loose coffee and basically no cleaning or wastage. By the way, if you're in France you can buy generic capsules from the supermarket, though they're not much cheaper.
The worst thing about Nespresso is the incredibly wanky ads.
One compromise option, which I had for a while, was an Espresso machine that had an adaptor for ESE pods, which are sort of standard, and quite widely available from a number of people. So I could have those for when I was in a hurry, and grind my own the rest of the time.
When it died, though, I went for a big beast of a Siemens bean to cup machine, which makes a very nice coffee, and lets me use whatever beans I fancy. Nespresso is ok to have an an hotel room, but I wouldn't want one in my home.
Some folk probably think me a terrible snob, but if someone offers me "tea or coffee?" my response is usually "is it instant coffee?" and if the answer's yes, then I'll have tea.
I roll my own, ciggies and coffee. However, when staying with friends, I do appreciate the speed of their cartridge system... a wake-up espresso in 30 seconds with no bodily co-ordination required! : D
Now, here's the coffee machine for me:
Thank you, Gary Larson.
I'd love to see you roll a coffee :)
I have had a Tassimo for more years than Nespresso has been on the market, and the design by Bosch was a MASSIVE improvement over the "I'll boil the kettle twice" approach that Braun had. The nice things about Tassimo is the flexibility. Each capsule has a barcode which tells the machine about how much water it takes, how long it needs to stay in the capsule before "pouring" and even if it needs to use steam instead. It's actually a *very* clever piece of kit compared to the Nespresso gear (but their marketing is better - it's no longer coffee, it's a cult).
However, in office use such a one-cup-at-a-time is a massive time waster if you need to get a job done, so when I came across another approach in the Netherlands I bought it: it's a machine that grinds beans, but does so to make your average 1 liter pot-of-coffee. Massive time saver, as long as you then use the coffee instead of letting it boil for hours..
Well, when you use a rotating-drum style roaster, it does roll. The only problem is that it takes about 30 minutes to go from green beans to fresh-pulled espresso. and my poor little Bhemor can only do a 1/2 pound at a time.
So I drink crap coffee during the week, and enjoy my lovely fresh coffee over the weekend.
My kids love to crank the handle, so no need for a motorized version. Makes great ravioli too.
I have one Japanese knife as well (not the one shown). It is a three layer sandwich of softer but tougher stainless steel on the outside, with harder, but more brittle carbon steel in the centre forming the cutting edge. My brother brought it from Japan. It stays sharp in part due to the fact that the missus does not dare use it.
I would also put the Porkert No 8 meat grinder (tin plated cast iron affair, mine is made in Czechoslovakia, it is that old) on the list. Brilliant piece of kit to make your own pate and terrine. Again, the kids crank the handle, so I can relax.