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Kitchen gadgets shelved

Common gifts, hard-to-clean items such as waffle makers on list of items that do not get used

Common gifts, hard-to-clean items such as waffle makers on list of items that do not get used

November 07, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Shane Williams said he's used the waffle maker he and his wife received as a gift three years ago maybe once or twice. Instead the Hagerstown couple ends up getting frozen waffles that just need to be heated up.

Cindy Ruark of Hagerstown said she rarely uses her waffle maker anymore because one of the legs fell off, but she thinks she'd use it if company visited.

Jane Fox had two waffle makers until she gave one away. The one she kept is a Belgian waffle maker she's had about 10 years and used twice, she thinks.

Tri-State-area residents might get kitchen gadgets, such as waffle makers, as holiday gifts. Or perhaps they already own some.

According to a 2006 report on houseware sales, kitchen electrics accounted for an estimated $6.4 billion in sales in the U.S. in 2005, said Debbie Teschke, spokeswoman for the International Housewares Association. Kitchen electrics are not major appliances, but smaller ones such as waffle makers, microwaves, toasters, blenders and food processors.

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Kitchen tools and accessories - handheld nonelectric tools - accounted for an estimated $9.9 billion in sales, Teschke said.

That might mean billions of dollars of kitchen equipment is collecting dust in cupboards.

Fox, 57, of Fort Loudon, Pa., said she hasn't been using her waffle maker because she's been on a diet for a long time, but she might try getting the waffle maker - stored in its box on a pantry shelf - out to make whole-wheat waffles.

What she does use often is a small food processor.

A lot of kitchen gadgets are touted for making a task easier. But Bill Spotten found cleaning his wasn't that convenient.

Spotten's family has a food processor (rarely used) for chopping vegetables and an electric griddle they don't use much either.

"I guess because it's easier to clean the cutting board and knife," said Spotten, 56, of Hagerstown. And the griddle is so big it's hard to fit it in the sink to clean.

Amanda Christman, 20, of Marion, Pa., said her hand-cranked apple peeler is worth the storage space it takes up even though she only uses it four or five times a year. The device makes peeling easier. Christman uses it to peel apples for apple pies and potatoes for cheesy potatoes.

"What doesn't get used in my house is an omelet maker," said Jean Crotty of Fayetteville, Pa. "I bought it. I went through that phase."

"I haven't used it in at least 10 years," she said, instead making omelets in a regular pan.

However, her George Foreman grill gets used frequently. "It's quick. It's easy. It cleans up well," Crotty said.

Karen Latsbaugh said her family hasn't used its Foreman grill in about eight years. She's not even sure it was unpacked after they moved from an apartment to a house.

Now that they live in a house, they use a charcoal grill, said Latsbaugh, 38, of Chambersburg, Pa.

The family also owns a potato ricer that Latsbaugh thinks has been used once to make mashed potatoes.

They got it after last Thanksgiving when she saw a friend had one. The ricer, which looks like a large garlic press, helps to make mashed potatoes that are light and not lumpy.

"I've always had a problem with mashed potatoes so we thought that would take care of the situation," Latsbaugh said.

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