Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Mystery Cooking Gadgets!

With a new year, there’s always the urge to get things done, finally begin those projects, and clean things up!

Ahhh, the kitchen junk drawer! I finally went through a collection of cooking gadgets that had come with our house. You all remember that we bought my grandma’s house after she passed away, right? Well, there was plenty of stuff in her kitchen “junk drawer.” You might recall the mystery gadget that turned out to be a butter curler?

I was able to figure out the butter curler because it had words printed on it that I could search on. But now I’ve got more mystery gadgets, and there are no verbal clues like that.

So I’m posting pictures of them here, and asking you to help me figure out what I’ve got. There are three mystery cooking gadgets!

(To give you a sense of scale, I photographed them next to a bunch of coins. It’s not that I have a hole in my pocket or anything.)

Gadget 1 is made of hard plastic, has an obvious handle (complete with textured surface), and features a pair of semicircular shapes very close together, like a very narrow taco shell.

The only writing on it says “Made in Canada” and “patent pending.” No help at all.

The length of the handle is 4.5 inches. The radius of the round part is 1.5 inches (meaning the maximum width of the rounded part is 3 inches).

The best idea I’ve gotten so far comes from Mom, who thought it might be a device to slip over the blade of a knife, to stabilize the blade in a vertical position while you press down on it with your hand. For when you’re cutting something really tough and you want to avoid slicing the palm clean off of your hand. (Do Canadians have to cut up a lot of really tough food?)

Gadget 2 is also plastic. I’d describe it as some kind of small spatula (length 6 inches), though the “soft” end isn’t really very soft (not like a really good, flexible rubber spatula, anyway). The “spatula” part is softer than the handle, however.

It’s mainly flexible just at the tip, which is the part that has me stumped: The end is split for nearly an inch, with a hole and a zigzag portion as shown in the pictures. What the heck is this for?

Last night as I tried to fall asleep, I mentally reviewed the entire produce, dairy, and baking departments of the grocery store, with this gadget in mind, and I couldn’t come up with a logical use for it.

Anyone got any ideas?

Gadget 3 is made of metal and has a hinge. Closed, it’s 4.5 inches long.

As the two handle-like parts are pulled apart, the opposite end shuts, like a pliers, only round, with one side overlapping the other slightly, kind of like the overbite of teeth.

The opening is about 1 inch in diameter. There are “teeth,” sort of, only they aren’t particularly sharp. They look like they’re for biting, however. Is it some kind of corer? If so, it wouldn’t work very well, since you have to pull the handles apart, which would ruin the cylindrical core you just made.

This thing is stamped “Taiwan,” which, again, offers little clue. (Grandma didn’t cook much Asian food.)

Sue suggested it might be an eyelash curler! Ha ha—she was of course joking. But it kind of looks like one.

This might be a clue, or not, but this gadget was in a section of the junk drawer that had a variety of beverage openers—a butler’s friend, corkscrew, that sort of thing. Maybe this gadget has some kind of cork-pulling function.

But it seems it would simply snip the cork in two, rendering it especially hard to remove. Well—who knows?

Seriously—does anyone know what these kitchen gadgets are supposed to do? (Or, at least, does anyone have any entertaining guesses?)


Anonymous said...

Love this post! My friend said the last item reminded her of a empanada maker. Hope your mysteries are solved...

Anonymous said...

Very intriguing gadgets!
I had a discussion with my friends about this, and we figure the spatula would be perfect for cleaning mason type jars. Insert a cloth in the zig zag, and "stir" the jar to clean.


TSannie said...

Not a clue - but when you find out, do write about it because my curiosity is more than peaked - as is my mom's!

Anonymous said...

maybe item 3 might be a device to crimp or recrimp bottle caps like the ones found on soda or beer bottles.

Anonymous said...

I think you were right on with the corer idea. Found a nearly identical item labeled as a grapefruit corer here. http://www.retonthenet.co.uk/vintage-kitchen-utensil-nutbrown-grapefruit-corer-made-in-england-circa-1940s-green-handles-3197-p.asp

Julianna Schroeder said...

Okay--I've been wanting to do a post on these, showing how they work, but doggoned if I just didn't get, well, bored by it. And sidetracked. Here are the answers:

1. Is a device for pressing down on the blade of a knife as you simultaneously press down with the handle. Say, for cutting into something tough like a winter squash. It's supposed to prevent the blade from flipping over and cutting you badly.

2. Is a ridiculously over-specialized spatula for wiping the goo from the blades of a hand blender. WTF? Who needs that? If I've got brownie batter all over my blender blades, I *want* to lick it off with my tongue!

3. Is a kind of melon-baller. You use it to pinch out vaguely rounded portions of melon for your fruit salad.

Ta-dahhh! Kudos to everyone for replying with such interesting ideas! Some of them, I think, were better than the actual intended use!