Reprint: An Afternoon in Mom’s Kitchen

Remember when I said I was planning to bring some of my best Blogger posts over to my new WordPress? No? Well, I did.

This is one of my earliest blog posts ever, and one of my most popular ones, originally posted on 12 July 2009. I’ve since learned to cook some things (out of necessity) and have never required a single item on this list, which further proves my point: you seriously do not need this much kitchen stuff. The only piece I think I’ll ever use with a recipe is item #1 (and mayyyybe #4).

An Afternoon In Mom’s Kitchen – from, 12 July 2009

I went to my mother today to ask her if I could keep my chopstick rests in a kitchen drawer. As the appropriate drawer was an organizational disaster, this simple request led to a bit of an organizing party, and a lesson in the great knowledge of fantastic inventions that is evidently required for modern cooking.

I couldn’t believe the contraptions she had in there. I’ll admit I don’t exactly cook, but at least to my amateur eyes, the amount of gadgets seemed quite absurd, each one more specialized than the last. Egg separator I understand, and orange peeler, but pickle fork?

Here are some of the ones that I found noteworthy for various reasons. The picture is given, followed by an explanation, so if you don’t scroll too quickly, you can try to guess what it is! Of course, if you cook often or enjoy kitchen widgets, you probably won’t even have to guess.

lemon zester

1. Lemon zester

There are many ways to remove the zest from a lemon, but apparently not one is so great as the lemon zester. I didn’t even know what zest was until today, or that it’s edible. Apparently, it’s the outer part of the skin, the colorful part, and is quite flavorful. Other citrus fruits have zest too. It makes foods zesty.


jar opener

2. Jar opener

My mother claims this is the best invention ever. If you have a tight jar lid and don’t have a man around the house, you stick the tip of this thing under the edge of a jar lid and squeeze the handles. Air gets let in and voila, the jar can be opened. WikiHow says you can do the same thing with a bottle opener or a teaspoon, but that’s just not as cool, now, is it?


onion holder

3. Onion holder

This is for holding an onion in place while you cut it, so you avoid slicing any fingers. I didn’t bother to ask if it would be acceptable to use it for other vegetables as well, or if it was onion-specific.


egg slicer

4. Egg slicer

I used this all the time as a kid, when my mother would make hard boiled eggs. I would slice them, pop out the yolk from each slice, and eat just the white part, because I thought the yolks were disgusting. Nowadays, to avoid the yolk, I just eat them not sliced and carefully.


fizz keeper

5. Fizz keeper

It has a chicken on the top, so I assumed it was somehow related to basting or something of that nature. I forgot that’s just the Pampered Chef logo. It’s actually meant to keep sodas from going flat, something about using pressure to keep the CO2 in the bottle, but as I read in a couple places today, this apparently doesn’t work. Oh well.


boil-over preventer

6. Boil-over preventer

My initial thought, at first glance, was that a stray can lid had gotten stuck in the drawer. It actually keeps the water in pots from boiling over, somehow. According to the internet, sticking a wooden spoon across the top accomplishes this as well. Ahh, kitchen physics.


pineapple core-er

7. Pineapple core-er

My mother says this is also the best invention ever, but since she uses it less frequently than the jar opener, that one probably wins. Anyway, yes, it makes nice little pineapple circles for eating, without having to fight your way through the tough outside with a knife.


fancy-cucumber slicer

8. Fancy-cucumber slicer

This slices cucumbers in a fancy way. I have no idea why this is necessary and in fact the gadget that Mom has for straight slices is much cooler (and faster).


egg puncher

9. Egg puncher

This pokes a hole in an egg and is somehow related to soft-boiling them. The lock position is important so you do not stab yourself accidentally.


english muffin opener

10. English muffin opener

An English muffin opener, I tell you. My goodness.


This has been a blog reprint by Rae Botsford. For newer thoughts, come find me on Twitter or Google+, and for real writer updates, like my Facebook page.

Recommended Posts


  1. Hi from sunny Sydney Rae,
    I don’t know if your blog still operates, but I came across it looking for a boil preventer, while it does. Hadn’t heard about the wooden spoon, but for a pasta pot, it’s hard to keep up the heat without the lid, so the preventer does a good job. BTW, the lemon zester is also great getting hard butter spread. Best, Mike

    • Hello! I love that you found this blog accidentally. I do update it occasionally as part of updating my writer website, but I don’t post as much random stuff as I used to. And now I even eat the yolks of hard-boiled eggs. When cooking pasta, I try to just keep an eye on it and turn it down if it’s threatening to boil over. We usually don’t put in as much water as the box calls for, which leaves a lot of room for error. Your idea to use a lemon zester to spread hard butter is interesting. Thanks for commenting!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *