Everybody loves kitchen gadgets, but is it possible to love them a little too much? While it's a great idea to get yourself some inexpensive countertop toys that make cooking easier, when you've, say, spent four figures on something that cooks exactly one kind of dish, your kitchen-gadget enthusiasm may have crossed over into obsession. Either that, or you're executive chef at Tao.
Whether you're a gourmet chef or just like to dabble in the kitchen, you'll be amazed at just how ridiculous something as simple as a corkscrew can get. We found eight of the most over-the-top kitchen tools out there, ranging from $50 to $60,000. Some are pretty awesome if you can afford them; others are simply ridiculous. Follow the jump to check them out.
WHAT IT IS When it comes to All-Clad pots, $50 isn't really a bad price — the company makes some of the nicest pans around. It's the perfect size for asparagus, but can't cook anything else — it's too skinny for pasta and may even be too skinny for some of the burners on your range.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT Unless you're extraordinarily wealthy or have some kind of obsession with asparagus, you'll feel guilty for making room for this pot in your kitchen.
Via Sur la table
2. Peugeot Electric Salt & Pepper Mills
PRICE $240 for both
WHAT IT IS Grinding your own salt and pepper can get tedious, and that's when these electrical light-up gizmos step in to do it for you. At least the $240 buys you the twelve AAA batteries it takes to run these mills, plus two spare light bulbs. In online reviews, some happy customers report that these liven up any dinner party. We think they should throw better dinner parties.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT We'd rather save $200 bucks and the landfills with some servacable wrist-powered mills.
3. Dualit Four-Slice Toaster
WHAT IT IS It's a nice shiny toaster that will heat up four — count 'em! — slices of bread. The removable crumb tray and an adjustable rear foot give it more flexibility than most models, though the slots aren't wide enough to hold bagels.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT We know that nice appliances can come at a premium, and that not everyone wants the ugly-but-serviceable $10 model. But for this price, we'd expect a toaster that prints the Mona Lisa or at least some kind of iconic symbol.
4. Viking Warming Drawer
WHAT IT IS A drawer that keeps your food warm. Just choose a temperature, and food that's done will stay warm while the roast is still cooking in the oven.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT We understand the appeal here — there are lots of ways a warming drawer could be useful, and some ovens come with them. But we're not about to spend two grand for a stand-alone drawer that's basically doing the job of a $45 hot plate.
Via US Appliance
5. Jura-Capressa Impressa Z6 Espresso Maker
WHAT IT IS This machine will make you some very nice, very customized cappuccinos and lattes that will beat a local barista's espresso any day of the week. The "luxury espresso center" can remember the drink preferences of several different people, and lets you choose between five coffee strengths and three temperatures. And it's fully automated— from when it starts by grinding the beans to when it cleans up after itself after it's done.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT This machine is seriously impressive, but for the same price you could go to Europe several times to sip espresso on a piazza in Italy.
Via Whole Latte Love
6. Kalamazoo Sculpture Grill
WHAT IT IS It's a grill! It's a sculpture! You can even get it fitted with a #1 Dad custom cooking surface. And according to Kalamazoo, it "cooks as great as it looks."
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT The grill has a solid, if wavy appearance. We like it, but it's no more a sculpture than is the kidney bean-shaped in-ground swimming pool you'd probably buy to go with it.
7. TurboChef Double Wall Speedcook Oven
WHAT IT IS Two ovens for the price of 10! Actually, the selling point of this TurboChef is its top oven, which purports to cook food 15 times faster than a normal oven. The company claims that the speed oven will cook a 12-pound turkey in just 42 minutes by using a patented combination of hot air and microwave technology. The bottom oven is a normal, high-quality convection oven.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT If it's in your price range, the TurboChef does seem like it would be awesome to have around. Consumer Reports says it zapped through a frozen pizza in four minutes instead of 23. But the magazine also complains that chickens and turkeys tended to be cooked unevenly, so it sounds like that magic bullet — speed-cooking technology — may not be all there yet.
8. Sveid Corkscrew
WHAT IT IS Why, the world's most expensive corkscrew, of course. While it's not solid gold or platinum, the fingertip lever — the bit you have to touch the most — comes standard in 18K gold.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE IT Given the country's angry, anti-executive bonus sentiment right now, if we owned one of these, we'd probably not letting anyone know about it. And what, exactly, is the point of spending $60K on a corkscrew if you can't use it openly to dip into your even more expensive wine collection?