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Published August 28, 2012, 11:36 PM

Halgrimson: Many kitchen items are never used

A recent story in the New York Times was headlined, “Must-Have Gadgets for the Kitchen? Think Again.” It was accompanied by a photo of a smiling woman holding a fish poacher.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

A recent story in the New York Times was headlined, “Must-Have Gadgets for the Kitchen? Think Again.” It was accompanied by a photo of a smiling woman holding a fish poacher.

The woman was Julia Collin Davison, the executive food editor of the book department of America’s Test Kitchen. She was quoted as saying, “They’re troublesome to work with. It’s an odd-shaped piece of equipment that straddles two burners. I’m married to a fishmonger, so I have access to the best, and still I don’t use it.”

I empathized. I too have a fish poacher that has never seen a fish, although one time I used it to cook a whole mess of ravioli. Now I use it for plants. It holds three pots of red geraniums in the spring and three pots of yellow mums in the fall.

The Times interviewed a number of people in the world of food and cooking and asked them about equipment they had purchased but never used.

I don’t have to interview anyone. I have plenty of gear in my own kitchen that is never used for anything having to do with food and cooking. It sits there gathering dust and reminding me of my foolishness.

There is the very small deep fryer that holds one won ton at a time. I hate deep frying. I have two clay pots that I’ve never used. Although I don’t do sweet pies, there are a dozen pie tins of varying sizes that I occasionally use for a savory dish.

One holiday season, I bought an electric ice cream maker. It fits nicely in the corner of the counter with stuff stacked on top. Never used.

And then there are the numerous tart rings I bought after taking a class in making French tarts. It was at the Bridge Kitchenware in midtown Manhattan, where I spent many happy hours, some of them visiting with Mr. Bridge. I don’t even know where the rings have disappeared to.

At Zabar’s in upper Manhattan, I bought a copper Windsor pan to use for reducing stocks. It was so beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s nested in a bottom cupboard and impossible to easily retrieve.

One of my favorite pieces of unused equipment is a molcajete, which is a mortar and pestle – tejolete – made of volcanic rock and used to grind spices and herbs and whatever else needs grinding. It is also used as a serving dish, and if you want to get a look at one of these babies, have a meal at Mango’s (2901 Main Ave. in Fargo), where it is used to serve a fabulous beef dish.

I bought my molcajete while attending cooking classes with the maven of Mexican cooking, Diana Kennedy, at her home in Zitacuaro in the state of Michoacan near Patzcuaro. I love to look at the molcajete and to touch its rough black rock, but I never use it.

Then there are the sandbakkel cookie tins I never use, preferring to roll out the dough. But these belonged to Gram, and I can’t part with them. But I would use her cookie gun if I could find it in the chaos of my kitchen.

And the brioche tin? It too rests unused in the cupboard.

Sam made me return an espresso maker with milk frothing attachment and an electric waffle iron. I don’t even like waffles, so neither of those items is cluttering up the kitchen. It’s a good thing I have someone looking out for me.

Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com