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The Problem-Matic

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    We all buy gadgets to free us from the chores of cooking. It might be a whizzer, electric grinder, electric can opener or knife sharpener. The list of inventions is endless. But what works and what doesn't?
    One of the features of the first home I bought was a waste disposal unit in the sink. What a disappointment that was. Always getting blocked.
    As this wasn't long after I married the first of my wives, I stuggled with a range of wedding presents for a while. I remember one of them was designed to turn milk and butter into cream.
    The result was passable so long as you didn't have a pot of cream to compare it with.
    I remember my mother had a water powered potato peeler. It was a device that consisted of a lidded bowl where the edges of the bowl were covered on abrasive. A hose connected to the tap and the flow of water operated a turbine that span the potatoes around, gradually ripping the skin off them. She loved it but I haven't seen any since. Perhaps when the introduced hosepipe bans they also banned these as well.
    Lets face it, dishwashers don't roasting pans spotless. It inevitably requires a bit of elbow grease. And the electric whizzer sticks that do such an excellent job in blending things in the pan, also spray your sauces around the kitchen and over your clothes.
    However, despite the failings of the things we buy to improve our lives and remove the chores, I retain a keen interest in the persuit of the medium. I don't want to work harder than I have to, and I suspect most of you don't either.
    What gives you grief in your kitchen you'd live a device to sort? I'd love an electric scrubbing machine to do the roasting pans. I'd love to own a beer can crusher and plastic food container shredder that would rid me of the problems I have in helping the nation deal with my waste.
    I'm of the belief that innovation occurs when problems are identified, so what are your problems you'd like solved?

     
  2. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    We all buy gadgets to free us from the chores of cooking. It might be a whizzer, electric grinder, electric can opener or knife sharpener. The list of inventions is endless. But what works and what doesn't?
    One of the features of the first home I bought was a waste disposal unit in the sink. What a disappointment that was. Always getting blocked.
    As this wasn't long after I married the first of my wives, I stuggled with a range of wedding presents for a while. I remember one of them was designed to turn milk and butter into cream.
    The result was passable so long as you didn't have a pot of cream to compare it with.
    I remember my mother had a water powered potato peeler. It was a device that consisted of a lidded bowl where the edges of the bowl were covered on abrasive. A hose connected to the tap and the flow of water operated a turbine that span the potatoes around, gradually ripping the skin off them. She loved it but I haven't seen any since. Perhaps when the introduced hosepipe bans they also banned these as well.
    Lets face it, dishwashers don't roasting pans spotless. It inevitably requires a bit of elbow grease. And the electric whizzer sticks that do such an excellent job in blending things in the pan, also spray your sauces around the kitchen and over your clothes.
    However, despite the failings of the things we buy to improve our lives and remove the chores, I retain a keen interest in the persuit of the medium. I don't want to work harder than I have to, and I suspect most of you don't either.
    What gives you grief in your kitchen you'd live a device to sort? I'd love an electric scrubbing machine to do the roasting pans. I'd love to own a beer can crusher and plastic food container shredder that would rid me of the problems I have in helping the nation deal with my waste.
    I'm of the belief that innovation occurs when problems are identified, so what are your problems you'd like solved?

     
  3. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    we had one of these whilst living in Kuwait in the early 60s - my mother swore at it regularly!!
     
  4. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    I had forgotten I was quite as old as that. Must get my hair cut and stop listening to rock music.
    I thought of a plan the other day to reduce my recycling footprint. I took a large Tesco chicken thigh container and converted it into a pot my wife could grow radishes in by punching some holes in the bottom and filling it with compost.
    And as I did so, I wondered why they don't flog them with lids so you could use them as re-usable food storage containers. Maybe make them a little more durable, flog dividers so they could be used as storage media for craft or workshop bits and pieces, something to hold screws and the like. It strikes me it's madness we chuck all this plastic away, and at the same time buy more for other purposes.
     
  5. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    We had the cream-maker too!
    And the potato peeler....I think it was called a 'rumbler'
    And a really stupid Jamie Oliver thing for grinding spices....flavour-shaker?....a pear shaped plastic bottle with a ball in it.....rubbish!
    Oh and I was once given a milk-whisker to make 'authentic' foam for a cappuccino (great gift for someone who drinks cooffee black, or with a splash!)...I never got that to work!
    We had a soda-stream too....loved that one!
    I have a couple of devices that I find invaluable.....my battery-operated tin-opener....my mini-processor (with the murderous blades!).....and my one-cup tea/coffee maker. But these are more of disability aids than actual kitchen gadgets.
    I would love a device that would clean the kitchen for me....not just the dishes, but the stove and the work surfaces and the windows and the floors!
    And something to help me slicing....I can't for the life of me slice bread evenly....and on a lees-tha-good day I am trying to slice one-handed (which is why my family have tried to ban knives from my kitchen!) and on a bad-day I struggle with one hand.....I'm seriously looking at those boards with spikes to hold the food steady so you just need to use one hand.
     
  6. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    The large plastic boxes you often get roasting joints in make superb mini greenhouses, just invert one over a tray of seeds/seedlings on a sunny windowsill.
     
  7. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    I used to have a herb chopper - don't ask me why as chopping herbs is fully therapeutic!
    Anyway, there really was no other word for it other than rubbish. It didn't chop the herbs properly, so I'd have to re-chop them anyway and when it came to washing it up...! I'm not exaggerating - it would so often take longer to wash the thing up than it would to make the whole meal...
     
  8. That would make packaging prices more expensive and this would be reflected in the price you pay for the goods.

     
  9. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I woould love something to scrub veg clean for me. As I have one of the box delivery schemes they often come caked with mud. Scrubbing them often results in muddy 'splashes' everywhere and its always the day I am wearing something pale that I forget to put my apron on for this task and I end up covered in mud splatters :(
     
  10. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Only slightly. They could sell the lids etc. separately. It might be possible to negotiate funding to offset the additional cost as it would save money on disposing of the waste.
     
  11. Are you mad? You still get splattered with a stick whisky thing?
    1 sheet of paper with a cut in to the centre, slide the cut round the stick covering the jug and blitz away. Throw the paper away when finished. No sploshes and no fresh paper ever needs to be used.
    Big envelopes work well too!
    And I regularly re-use tins and plastic packaging for all sorts of things, including as a seed propogator! Climber despairs at the amount of junk I collect - until he needs something that is!
    Maybe I am haunted by my nana? She never knwoingly threw anything with a use away! I feel old!
    Grumpy Old Woman alert [​IMG]
     
  12. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    A friend of mine collects all her spent cardboard toilet roll tubes then fills them with compost. Pops a seed in each, then when the plants are ready for the garden, she slides them into holes she made with her dibber.
     
  13. Yup! great for starting off root veggies and other plants that have deep roots or don't like being disturbed!
    And you can tear up the tube and add it to the compost (or bean trench).
    Oh................ I am sad!
     
  14. Why tear up the tube? Whenever I've done this I just leave the tube in place to rot down.
     
  15. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    An invention I'd love to see is a reverse microwave which cools things down instead of heating them.
     
  16. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    I made somthing similar when I worked in the NHS. It was basically a thick aluminium plate that had a series of slots machined in the underside. A copper tube was forced into the slots so that cold water could be run through. It was very effective at cooling things down quickly.
    Like you, I've thought from time to time about having a cold plate in the kitchen, not this design as it's too wasteful of water. Peltier effect devices are electrical components that transfer heat from one side to the other when an electrical current is applied so would be more suitable.
    [​IMG]
    If you reverse the polarity, it transfers the heat in the opposite direction so your cold plate becomes a hot plate. At the moment, these devices are relatively expensive and quite small, typically about 60mm square and cost in the region of £15 each. They need a 12V power supply and consume quite a bit of current. You would probably need several to cover an area large enough to put food on, making the manufacturing cost of a hot/cold plate quite high, but as the technology is used more widely the cost will come down.
     
  17. Cos I read somewhere that it could impede root growth - we have heavy clay soil and there isn't much depth to the improved top layer. So I slide off the tube, carefully, and add the cardboard to another spot!
    When I finally get another 2 - 3 inches depth to the good stuff I shan't bother - I dream of long carrots and parsnips!
     
  18. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    25 years ago, I bought a blender that included a coffee grinder attachment. It's been used occasionally for making breadcrumbs. It's come into its own at the moment as I accidentally bought some bens instead of ground coffee.
    Stick blender - great when we make soups
    Veg and herb chopper - bit of a faff.
    Interesting curvy knife thing for cutting veg - dangerous but can be effective.
    Electric carving knife - not been used for ages
    Sandwich toaster - comes and goes. Currently not in use..
    P

     

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