There’s a pretty good article in the New York Times this week about those specialized kitchen gadgets that end up in the junk drawer and never get used. Whether we got them as gifts or bought them during a weak moment at the kitchen store, we all have them.

_”There’s something about a kitchen tool suited to a single task that casts an irresistible spell for many cooks. The Williams-Sonoma catalog, to cite a highly visible example, is a Venusberg of culinary charms, but temptation lurks everywhere.

“Dennis Nyback, a film archivist in Portland, Ore., bought a commercial butter slicer at a thrift store. At the time, it seemed like a brilliant acquisition. ‘It was green enameled metal with stainless blades and had a sort of mass guillotine action’ he said. ‘A solid one-pound block of butter could be made into a few dozen pats with one fell swoop. I didn’t expect it to change my life, but I did expect that if I ever encountered a one-pound block of butter I would be prepared. That day never came.'”_

Of the gadgets in my kitchen that never get used, the one that stands out is a spoon made to separate egg yolks. Isn’t that what the shells are for? But, I do have a thrift-shop worthy gadget that’s indispensable. When I moved into my grandparents’ house, I inherited all the stuff nobody else wanted, including a personal-sized keg of Hamm’s; an incredibly awesome, two-sided Ursula Andress puzzle; and, buried in the basement, Grandma’s Saladmaster Deluxe.

Once I dusted off the Saladmaster and gave it whirl, I discovered it was perhaps the greatest invention ever, on par with Ron Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman and the Smokeless Ashtray. I grew up using Mom’s box grater, which shred more knuckles than it did cheese or carrots. The Saladmaster grates a block of cheese in seconds flat. Carrots? No problem. I even used it to process a bunch of cucumbers when I was canning pickles last fall. The slices were so thin, they only had one side. It was, in the words of the late, great Billy Mays, “Amazing!” But wait, there’s more…

Is there a kitchen gadget you bought hoping it would change your life, but didn’t? Or even better, a gadget you can’t live without? Post it below and I’ll pick a winner and send them the ultimate kitchen gadget–a Sushezi At-Home Sushi Maker.