Is This the Most Useless Kitchen Utensil Ever?

by Anne Maxfield on June 27, 2016

Accidental Locavore Banana CutterIn the process of writing the story of the endless banana dessert, the Accidental Locavore found and ordered a banana slicer. Now this is something I normally would have scoffed at, but since I was writing about slicing bananas, it seemed like it might be something useful and amusing for the story.

Wrong.

I couldn’t find a way to work it into the text, so I thought some photos of it in action would add to the story.

Wrong again.

However, I learned some interesting facts about banana slicers.

It’s curved, theoretically to fit the shape of a banana. Maybe you’re supposed to bring it with you to make sure the bananas are bent the same way as the slicer. Maybe bananas in China are shaped differently.

My banana wasn’t the same shape as the slicer. This led to some strategic thinking. Do I want the apex of the banana to match the apex of the device? Or, do I want the ends to be perfectly sliced?

Accidental Locavore Banana ShapeTime suck.

Finally going with the curve, I bore down on the slicer.

Applying weight did cut the banana. It also left mushed banana on the bottom of my cutting board and the fruit in question.

Since there was crushed banana on the bottom of the “slicer”, it had to be flipped over and the pieces had to be pushed through individually. Not a pretty sight.

I was finally left with not-very-clean slices of banana (and for the record, this was a fairly firm banana) and a banana slicer that had lots of little sections to be cleaned.

Accidental Locavore Banana SlicerSince you can almost slice a banana with a bread knife, it stands to reason that any sharp knife will make quick work of a banana, not need alignment, make better slices and be a quicker clean up.

I went out and bought a couple more bananas and did a time trial. All times start with peeled bananas, and include slicing and cleaning of utensils.

Accidental Locavore Banana ContendersBanana slicer total time: 54 seconds (plus another 5 or so to reclean a couple of stray pieces). Disclosure: I allotted the straighter banana to the slicer.

Knife total time: 40 seconds (and I wasn’t speed-cutting a la Jacques Pepin).

Accidental Locavore Knife Sliced BananaMy verdict: Of all the ridiculous single-use kitchen items, this has got to be the most useless thing ever to hit my kitchen! Luckily, it wasn’t a splurge. From some Internet site, shipping included, it was less than $5. If, for some reason, you’d like to try it for yourself, let me know in the comments. I’m happy to send it to a good home. And if you think you have a more worthless kitchen utensil, please let everyone know!

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Maxfield June 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

Great idea! If I’m doing cherries that will be cut up, I just lightly smash them with the side of a knife–works for olives too.

Barbara Jo Lubitz June 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

Hi Anne,
I tend to steer clear of silly single purpose kitchen gadgets, preferring the concept of 101 uses for a particular thing. Adding to this concept, a friend recently gave me a fantastic tip for hulling strawberries. A simple plastic drinking straw. Stick it in the bottom end of the strawberry and it pops off the leafy cap in a clean push. There is little waste and other than a small hole in the end of the strawberry, no mutilation. This is especially good when you are using strawberries that will be cut up, so the small hole is not a problem.
Best regards,
Barbara Lubitz

Anne Maxfield June 28, 2016 at 9:59 am

I always think that someone must have been tasked with designing it…

Anne Maxfield June 28, 2016 at 9:59 am

I’ll send you mine if you want!

Anne Maxfield June 28, 2016 at 9:58 am

I’ve never seen a quesadilla maker–isn’t that just a frying pan?

Jan June 27, 2016 at 9:40 pm

This is a hoot! And ridiculous…

Mary @ LOVE the secret ingredient June 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm

How funny, I never expected much from those, but it sounds like it’s even worse than I could have imagined! There are so many one use utensils I have to scoff at too. Strawberry corers? Quesadilla makers? And surprisingly I’m sure the inventors have made a pretty penny!

Betsy Kent June 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

hahaha. Love this! I’ll be sure to cancel my order.

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