On Single-Use Kitchen Gadgets: There’s a Knife for That

Ah, the Single-Use Kitchen Gadget. As an inhabiter of a New York City apartment with a Tiny Kitchen, complete with Tiny Cabinets and Tiny Drawers (to match the Tiny Sink and Tiny Fridge, of course), I don’t have much space for SUKGs. Neither do I have much patience for them. Browsing Amazon’s Kitchen & Dining section for ten minutes makes me feel like Seth Meyers in a “Really!?! with Seth” segment on SNL. Really, Internet?! REALLY, home cooks!?! Real talk: if it’s a SUKG, 9 times out of 10 there’s a knife for that! Turns out the humble chef’s knife is actually a real workhorse in the kitchen. Here, a small selection of items that someone, somewhere finds indispensable that you CAN live without:


1. The Butter Cutter

What a gem. I know it’s a real hassle to have to touch butter with your fingers (gross!), and true, there’s a certain degree of skill required to master the art of cutting even pats of butter despite those little lines printed on the wrapper. However, take heart: the good news is you probably have not one but two! good substitutes on hand in a trusty chef’s knife and your little collection of, uh, butter knives.



2. The Pineapple Corer

I don’t know what you’d drink anything out of without being able to hollow out pineapples with ease (glasses are so declasse), but cutting the skin off in strips and then manually slicing out the core seems to get the job done as far as getting to the good part of the fruit is concerned. Ah, conformity.




3. The Garlic Zoom

I get it, I do. This one’s a two-fold bummer. Not only will your hands now really smell like garlic instead of just kind of smell like garlic since you’ll have to, you know, actually touch the garlic while you’re chopping it and not just touch it when you peel it and throw it into this, but also you’ll be so BORED again without the Garlic Zoom to play with on the kitchen counter. Chopping garlic’s gonna be a real snoozefest from now on.



4. The Pizza Scissor

Guess you’ll just have to use your normal kitchen shears now if you’re feeling like getting fancy with your pizza-cutting, although the loss of this particular tool means it will be a two-handed job from now on. I know what you’re thinking: “Plain old knife + spatula? Ugh, do I have to?” Yes, yes you do, for both our sakes.



5. The Peach Pitter/Slicer

It might actually be a little gratifying to find out that a chef’s knife replaces not only the Peach Pitter/Slicer, but also the Mango Pitter, Strawberry Slicer, Apple Slicer, Avocado Slicer, Banana Cutter, and Egg Slicer! Who knew? Like I said, workhorse! The best part is you’ll probably have MORE control while cutting things with a knife, it’s much faster and easier to clean, and it takes up way less space! WINNING. Your slices might not be perfect every time anymore but, you know, sacrifices.



6. The Pepper Prepper

While it keeps things interesting in the kitchen to use two tools when you only need one, you too will come to grudgingly admit that a knife can, in fact, effectively remove the core, ribs, and seeds of a bell pepper. Too bad for this guy.



7. The Corn Kerneler

There are, like, MANY options for cutting the kernels off your corn out there (many), but only one doesn’t involve a special tool. That, my friends, is to do what my grandparents did and slice those babies straight off the cob with a good sharp knife. No, they don’t all collect in a handy compartment, but you can use a cutting board, or a bowl. Same diff.



What did I miss? Any other SUKGs out there that a good ol’ knife can sub in for? Care to own up to one that you secretly love and could never give up?


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  • Rae

    Telling that most of the comments on FB are people who “need” the butter cutter. To my mind, SUKGs are just more things to keep track of and more dishes to wash, and they’ll never make up for a bad cook.

    • Cate Haught Brown

      Agreed! My favorite part of the butter cutter picture is that there’s A BUTTER KNIFE in the place setting!

  • Nikki Steele

    I have not bought it yet because I would be so ashamed, but I used my friend’s pineapple corer and fell in love. I wants it. It was just a beautiful pineapple experience.

    However, I will scoff at the avocado slicer. Because it’s called a knife and a spoon. Or just a spoon. Or just a knife.

    • Cate Haught Brown

      Ha, my husband would probably not-so-secretly love a pineapple corer, too. The spiral of pineapple you’re supposed to end up with IS lovely. And I continue to be baffled by the idea of the avocado slicer…

    • Katie

      I was skeptical of the pineapple corer….but I bought one for $4 and I LOVE it. what took 15-20 messy, sticky minutes, now takes 2 and there’s no mess AND you get a hollow pineapple to drink your cocktail out of. WINNING.

      I’m with you on the avocado slicer though.

  • Beth Haught

    Hate to admit it, but I just can’t give up my egg slicer. The little slices of egg are so pretty!

  • Clinton Kabler

    The corn kerneler? Are you serious? I can’t even… the people manufacturing this stuff must think we are nuts.

  • Amanda Nelson

    I am obsessed with my apple corer/slicer (which I also use as a peach corer/slicer, pear corer/slicer, whatever) ESPECIALLY during canning season. I can core a bucket of stone fruit or pears/apples way faster than I could with a knife. It’s just one push as opposed to several slices, which only saves about 30 seconds, but that adds up when you’re processing in bulk.

    • Cate Haught Brown

      They absolutely have their uses (same with a strawberry huller or a cherry/olive pitter, may seem silly, but a HUGE help if you make strawberry jam, lots of cherry pies, etc.)… but I still find the market hilarious. Thus, pizza scissors, and avocado mashers (yep, that’s a thing too). Sigh.

  • Amanda Phickle

    I’m with you on the pineapple corer, but if there was a single use gadget that quickly and easily removed the little “stingers” from the pineapple flesh, I would simply find space for it. I’d sleep with it if I had to (I really love pineapple :-)

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