I'm always looking for fun gadgets that make cooking and food prep easier. Here are four that I purchased recently, with a review of how well each worked once I tested them out:
The minute I saw Bobby Flay use this on one of his Food Network shows, I absolutely HAD to have one. My kids love mangoes, but they're a pain in the neck to peel and pit. This splitter makes quick work of it, much like an apple corer, removing the hard, inedible pith in the middle with ease. It works much better with larger mangoes, though. When I tried it on the organic ones I got at the Co-Op market, they were too small and irregularly shaped for the splitter to work well. The halves with the edible part ended up being way too thin, and we barely got any fruit out of it. If you want to cube your mango pieces, then you can use the splitter on an unpeeled mango. If you want larger slices, I would recommend peeling the mango first, because I found it more difficult to get the peel off after it was split.
This one was an impulse buy, but it's actually one of the best of the bunch. It's far from a necessity when it comes to kitchen tools, and it's not exactly an ingenious design, but it's a neat thing to have. It makes sliced veggies look a little fancier than if you were to cut them with a regular knife. The kids loved the wavy edges, and anything that can encourage kids to eat more veggies is ALWAYS a good thing!
This is supposed make the job of chopping fresh herbs quick and easy. Now that spring is here and I've got a garden filled with thyme, basil, and rosemary, I thought this gadget would be a big help. Instead, it was a big bust. The herbs get all mushed up in the wheels, turning my beautiful fresh basil into soggy, bruised strips that have to be carefully pried out of the blades. It wasn't much better with the rosemary or thyme, so this one gets a big thumbs down.
I saved the best for last. I LOVE THIS THING! It was a great purchase, and has made peeling and slicing avocados a breeze. Once you split the avocado and remove the pit, all you do is slip the rounded edge of this slicer into the area where the avocado flesh meets the peel, and run it down along the inside of the peel, scooping out the avocado and slicing it at the same time. You not only end up with perfect avocado slices, but the shells remain intact, giving you the option to fill them again to use for serving (for seafood/avocado salad or guacamole, for example). Finally--a simple gadget that does exactly what it's supposed to do!