The Dictionar


The Chef Report: Unnecessary Kitchen Gadgets

Want to make noodles out of vegetables? There’s a kitchen gadget for that. Want to slice strawberries? There’s a kitchen gadget for that. Want to make a panini? There’s a kitchen gadget for that. There’s virtually a kitchen gadget for every thing you could possibly want to do or make in the kitchen. But are they all really necessary? Or are many of the gadgets more of a waste of money and space? And do most gadgets actually save time or do they overly complicate things?

Before the Lawyer and the Chef met, the Lawyer loved kitchen gadgets. She owned a number of single-use gadgets and lusted over others.  The Chef, however, is not a fan of kitchen gadgets.  He prefers to use high-quality multi-use tools. And when the Lawyer and the Chef moved in together the Chef came with the kitchen essentials fit for a chef and as the Lawyer learned tips and tricks from the Chef   she began to realize that many kitchen gadgets are not necessary and that they add clutter, complication, and expense to food preparation.

It turns out that it’s not just the Chef who thinks that many kitchen gadgets are a waste. The folks over at The Greatist rounded up 19 food experts to weigh in on the kitchen gadgets they think are a waste and those that they think are worth it.  Here’s the Chef’s take on what the 19 food experts have to say about wasteful gadgets (we’ll discuss kitchen essentials in a subsequent post):

Wasteful Gadgets According to 19 Food Experts

Chef Says


 Agree. Vegetable noodles are all the rage these days, but you can make zoodles (zucchini noodles) and other veggie noodles with either a vegetable peeler (as Marion Nestle, PhD points out in the Greatist article) or you can use a cheese grater and turn the zucchini (or other vegetable) with the long side parallel to the grates in order to make long strips.

Food Processor

 If you have a high-quality blender like a Vitamix, you can do without the food processor. But a food processor can still be useful.

Garlic Press

 Agree. Many dishes have better flavor if you don’t mince the garlic but instead crush it and then slice thin. If you do need to mince, it’s quick enough to mince with a knife or you can use the smallest setting on your cheese grater or a microplane.

Apple Slicer

Agree. You can slice apples with a good quality chef’s knife.

Vacuum Sealing System

 Agree. Food stays better longer (whether in the fridge, freezer, or pantry) when you remove as much air as possible.   But you can use regular baggies and just make sure you press out all the air or push saran wrap down so it leaves no space (for example: if you make guacamole or another dip, make sure the saran wrap touches the top of the guac and isn’t merely stretched across the bowl).

Electric Pasta Maker

 Agree unless you are one who is constantly making pasta. Even if you do make pasta all the time, you might be better served by buying an attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer.

Ice Cream Maker

 It depends. If you like ice cream, then it may be worth it. If you do invest in an ice cream maker, invest in a high quality one.

Melon Ballers

Agree. You can slice melon with the high quality chef’s knife.

Kitchen Aid

 Disagree. A Kitchen Aid is incredibly versatile. You can whip cream, make dough for cakes, cookies, and breads. With attachments you can make pasta or sausage or grind meat. And so much more.

Lemon Squeezer

Agree. You can squeeze lemon with your hands. Or even buy a bottle of lemon juice on occasion.


 It depends. I prefer to reheat food in the oven or on the stovetop when possible but a microwave still comes in handy. And most kitchens come standard with microwaves. But if I had limited counter space and no built-in microwave, I’d abandon the microwave for a toaster oven.

Bread Machine

Agree. If you really want fresh-baked bread you can mix up the dough in a Kitchen Aid and then bake it in the oven.

Expensive Juicer

 It depends. If you drink a lot of juice or you’re trying to get more greens in your diet then a juicer can be worth it. I recommend champion juicers.


 A toaster oven is a better investment. And if you don’t have either, you can toast things in an oven or in a pan.
Single-serving Coffee Pod Machines There’s no comparison to high quality coffee beans made in a French Press or a nice quality espresso. But a Keurigs or other single serve machine can’t be beat in terms of convenience (and they even make delicious but oh-so-fake cappuccino cups).

Flashback Friday: A look at what was on our minds this past week

In the News:


The Decline of Home Cooked Meals?

When people find out that the Lawyer’s boyfriend is the Chef, their response is always, “Oh, you’re so lucky! You must have such delicious meals waiting for you when you get home every night.” And people are right in thinking that when the Chef cooks at home it is delicious….but the reality is that the Chef (and all chefs for that matter) doesn’t cook that much at home.  Most nights, the Chef is at work when the Lawyer gets home. And on nights when the Chef is home, cooking is sometimes the last thing he wants to do.

So most nights, the Lawyer gets home from work and is tasked with figuring out what to make with the groceries in the fridge.  And then the real work of actually creating something delicious for dinner begins. That task can be onerous. There’s chopping, and sautéing, and pureeing.  And sometimes the Lawyer is so hungry and she lacks the patience required to prepare a meal. And sometimes the Lawyer is just tired and wants to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine while she binge watches House of Cards or some other tv show. Sometimes the pull of food delivery from Postmates or GrubHub or Seamless is just too strong. Continue reading

Women Who Brought About Change: Jeanette Rankin

March is Women’s History Month and in honor of the occasion, The Lawyer and the Chef have decided to briefly profile some inspirational women who helped effect change in the U.S. The first profile is of Jeanette Rankin.

As a fellow Montanan and somebody interested in the promoting women’s equality, the Lawyer has always admired Jeanette Rankin and her contributions to history.  Jeanette Rankin also features prominently on the Lawyer’s list of people, dead or alive, who she would most like to invite to dinner.  Sadly, despite the value of her contributions, most people (especially most people outside the state of Montana) would respond with a blank stare when Jeanette Rankin’s name is mentioned.  So without further ado, a brief infographic on Jeanette Rankin:


Is your interest piqued? Do you want to learn more about this incredible woman? Here are some resources where you can learn more about Jeanette Rankin:

Setbacks and Roadblocks: When Things You Can’t Control Derail Goals

“Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.”  -Marsha Petrie Sue (Author, public speaker, and motivational coach)

The above quote appeared in my day planner today and the timing could not be more apropos.  The Chef and I are both experiencing some setbacks and roadblocks albeit in very different contexts.  These setbacks got me thinking that maybe a setback or a roadblock isn’t just an end to one goal but rather that it can be the beginning of a new (and perhaps even better) goal.  It may sound cliche, but life is about the journey and not the destination and sometimes the best discoveries are made when you have to make a detour or take an unfamiliar path. Continue reading

Making Workouts More Accessible: ClassPass vs. Fitmob

Note: I was not paid or offered any goods or services in exchange for this review. I opted to take advantage of introductory month offers at both ClassPass and Fitmob and decided to share my review here. 

I love a good workout class. Whether it is boot camp, barre, spinning, yoga, or something different, there is always something about a fitness class that is good for motivating me not only to actually show up to workout but also to challenge me to work muscles I wouldn’t normally work if left to my own devices. And there is always something so satisfying about that perfect level of soreness you experience when you got a good workout in. I’m not talking about a debilitating level of soreness but rather that soreness that says “you rocked your workout yesterday and you are on your way to increased strength and stamina!”

Workout classes are also great for staving off boredom and allowing you to be flexible in your training. Feeling a little sore after an intense long run? A yoga class might be just the thing you need. Or feeling like you’ve been too heavy on the cardio? Maybe it’s time to throw in a kettle bell class or a boot camp. But seeking out different classes can be a challenge because different classes are usually at different studios with different fee structures. It can get expensive if you want to engage in different workouts at different studios each week. It doesn’t usually make sense to take on a package at any particular studio and paying a la carte and spending around $20 per session can bust anybody’s budget.  But now there are two new products on the market that make working out at multiple studios a breeze: ClassPass and Fitmob.   Continue reading