15 Incredibly Specific Kitchen Gadgets You Didn't Know You Needed

Look into any kitchen in the country and you’re likely to find an assortment of utensils, small appliances, and gadgets that don’t serve much purpose beyond collecting dust. (Really, you probably don’t need those pewter corn cob holders.) But a fear of clutter shouldn’t dissuade you from picking up a few things that are not only unique but serve a practical and useful function in your home—even if it is incredibly specific. Check out 15 of the best gadgets you’ll be proud to show off.

1. Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer // $10

A Snap 'N Strain colander from Kitchen Gizmo is pictured

Kitchen Gizmo, Amazon

Straining pasta, vegetables, and other dinner fare from boiling water remains one of the more unpleasant tasks in the kitchen. Make life easier with the Snap ‘N Strain, a silicone strainer that works on any pot or bowl and allows you to drain liquid with one hand.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Whisk Wiper // $17

A woman uses a Whisk Wiper to clean pink frosting off a whisk.
Whisk Wiper, Amazon

One of the minor inconveniences of using a whisk is how difficult it is to clean afterward. The chore typically involves trying to isolate each individual loop with a sponge, usually with less-than-perfect results. The Whisk Wiper is a whisk that comes with a pre-fit wiper designed to nudge that last bit of batter off the utensil, preserving both your baking mix and your sanity.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Grate Plate Ceramic Grating Plate // $25

A Grate Plate ceramic grating plate

The Great Plate, The Grommet

Why grate over a plate when you can grate on a plate? This stubbed ceramic dish grates and collects your garlic, hard cheeses, ginger, and other goods. Choose one of five colors: blue, pearl, red, teal, or yellow.

Buy it: The Grommet

4. Flamekiss Egg Cooker Pan // $36

An egg cooker pan from Flamekiss cooks two sunny side up eggs

Flamekiss, Amazon

If you find yourself struggling to keep your poached or fried eggs separate, consider this partitioned pan from Flamekiss. The surface keeps your eggs divided into three perfectly round serving sizes.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chef’N Emulstir 2.0 Salad Dressing Mixer // $15

A Chef'n Emulstir salad dressing mixer is pictured

Amore Kitchenware, Amazon

Prepackaged dressing too boring (or too unhealthy)? Mix up a specialty recipe with this handy mixer that stirs together oils and other ingredients. When you’re ready to pour, a few squeezes will emulsify the contents.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SCI Cuisine International Square Egg Press // $14

An SCI Cuisine Square Egg Press is pictured

SCI Scandicrafts, Amazon

Make your snack a conversation starter with this unique food modifier. Place a hot hard-boiled egg into the chamber and twist. As the egg cools, it will conform to the shape of the container and emerge as a square.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Fromaggio Cheesemaker // $299

A Fromaggio cheesemaker on a countertop

Fromaggio, Indiegogo

If you can stand a little delayed gratification, this innovative at-home cheesemaker—which is fully funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo—could lead to a delicious outcome. The countertop appliance allows cheese enthusiasts to mix milk, cultures, and rennet, then heats the ingredients and separates the whey. It can produce cream, mozzarella, provolone, and even yogurt. The Fromaggio is expected to ship in March 2020.

Buy it: Indiegogo

8. Souper Cubes // $20

Stop struggling with bags of frozen soup and use these silicone trays that allow you to pour and freeze soups, stocks, or smoothies into 1-cup ice cubes that you can reheat later.

Buy it: Sur La Table

9. Erupting Volcano Microwave Cleaner // $12

An Erupting Volcano Microwave Cleaner is pictured

Souqu, Amazon

Stop contorting your body trying to get into all the crevices of your microwave. This volcanic assistant uses vinegar and water to steam off particles and odor by “erupting” inside. A quick wipe-down finishes the job.

Buy it: Amazon

10. OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer // $10

An OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer is pictured

OXO, Amazon

Trying to pierce the tough exterior of an avocado can sometimes require medical attention, with botched attempts connected with serious nerve and tendon injuries. To avoid gouged palms, try this safety utensil that uses a serrated edge to easily puncture the avocado. You can also pit and use the fan blade to slice your newly-cracked superfood into seven serving slices.

Buy it: Amazon

11. The Pomegranate Tool // $20

Seeding pomegranates can be a messy exercise. This helper allows you to place a halved pomegranate over a grid, cover it, then strike it with a heavy spoon to dislodge the seeds. All the shrapnel will be contained.

And if you're looking to make your other home fruit consumption even easier, Sur La Table also sells equally specific prep tools for kiwis, pineapples, and mangos.

Buy it: Sur La Table

12. Prepworks Progressive Onion Chopper // $17

A Prepworks Progressive Onion Chopper is pictured
Progressive, Amazon

Take some of the emotion out of preparing onions with this dicing assistant. Just place an onion section in the tray and close the lid. The portions fall into a 2-cup measuring container, no tears involved. It can be used to dice tomatoes or peppers, too.

Buy it: Amazon

13. American Bench Craft Cast Iron Handle Guards // $29

American Bench Craft Cast Iron Handle Guards are pictured

American Bench Craft, The Grommet

Cast-iron pans are a kitchen must, but their searing-hot handles and corners aren’t always a pleasure to grab. Keep your hands from sizzling with these classy leather guards.

Buy it: The Grommet

14. Automatic Pan Stirrer // $25

Stirring up dishes can be a nice way to zone out, but not if other kitchen tasks are taking up your attention. Enlist some artificial intelligence with this whisk that stirs itself. Just set the timer and watch it go.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

15. Turbo Pot Rapid Boil Pot // $56

A Turbo Pot Rapid Boil Pot is pictured

Turbo Pot, Amazon

Worse than watching paint dry? Waiting for water to slowly come to a boil. Speed up this glacial kitchen task with the 3.5-quart rapid-boil Turbo Pot, which uses aluminum fins at the base to rapidly conduct heat and bring water to a boil over a gas stove or open flame 30 to 50 percent quicker. (No electric stoves, sorry.) The company also makes a 2.2-quart saucepan ($46), an 8.1-quart stockpot ($76), and a 2.5-quart tea kettle ($59).

Buy it: Amazon or Walmart

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

12 Quirky Books for Imaginative Kids

Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

Though childhood classics like A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are never truly go out of style, each year brings a new cache of funny and fantastical books that will feed the expanding imaginations of young readers everywhere. From a self-conscious sewer monster who wants to make friends to a gluttonous dinosaur who gobbled up Christmas, this guide has the perfect quirky story for every kind of kid on your holiday gift list.

1. Rumple Buttercup // Matthew Gray Gubler ($9)

This whimsical tale about a self-conscious sewer monster is written and illustrated by Criminal Minds star, and king of quirk, Matthew Gray Gubler. While cute characters and a simple message about embracing your individuality make it a great gift for very young kids, its absurdist humor makes it a laugh-out-loud read for older kids and adults, too.

Buy it: Amazon

2. President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath // Mac Barnett ($8)

president taft is stuck in the bath
Candlewick/Amazon

Mac Barnett’s good-natured retelling of William Howard Taft’s infamous (though unconfirmed) bathtub blunder teaches children two things. One, history is far from a tedious list of names, dates, laws, and battles. And two, even the most stately world leaders have embarrassing moments.

Buy it: Amazon

3. It’s Only Stanley // Jon Agee ($15)

it's only stanley book
Dial Books/Amazon

When strange noises wake the Wimbledon family at night, they assume their dog Stanley is cleaning or fixing something; in reality, Stanley is transforming their house into a rocket ship that will carry them to an alien-inhabited planet. Fans of The Secret Life of Pets and Phineas and Ferb’s Perry the Platypus will love this rhyming read-aloud (and surely wonder what their own pet is up to when they’re not around).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge // Megan Frazer Blakemore ($6)

frankie sparks and the big sled challenge
Aladdin/Amazon

Third-grade inventor Frankie Sparks is back for the third book in her STEM-inspired series, and this time, she’s about to learn that the hardest part about creating a competition-winning sled is less about sled-building and more about team-building. Great for elementary school kids who love to create anything—be it art or architecture—as well as anyone who’s ever had to work on a group project.

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! // Mo Willems ($10)

the pigeon has to go to school
Hyperion Books/Amazon

Mo Willems’s original pigeon book was Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, a thoroughly riotous, award-winning tale about a pigeon trying to convince readers to let it drive the bus when the bus driver asked them not to. In the latest story, the headstrong pigeon pivots to something it very much does not want to do—go to school. It sends a message about the value of doing things you don’t want to do, but, most importantly, it’s also really funny.

Buy it: Amazon

6. The Glass Town Game // Catherynne M. Valente ($11)

the glass town game
Simon & Schuster/Amazon

Catherynne M. Valente spins a riveting fictional tale from the true story of Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë’s childhood in a Yorkshire parsonage, where they passed the time dreaming up an intricate fantasy land populated with toy soldiers. In Valente’s novel, the fantasy land comes to life, complete with whale-sized flies, Champagne flutes that play music, and fire-breathing porcelain roosters, and the siblings must use all their wit and imagination to figure out how to get home. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland meets The Chronicles of Narnia, and perfect for fans of both.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Lambslide // Ann Patchett ($13)

lambslide
HarperCollins/Amazon

The internationally bestselling author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth is just as clever when it comes to writing for kids. In Lambslide, a group of lambs mistakenly hear lambslide instead of landslide and begin a farm-wide campaign for an actual slide for lambs. With quaint illustrations, endearing characters, and an engaging plot, this is the type of book that ends up in the family for generations.

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Book With No Pictures // B.J. Novak ($9)

The Office alum B.J. Novak turns storytime into a full-fledged comedic performance with The Book With No Pictures, a book filled with nonsense words and phrases like blork and blaggity blaggity, which the reader has to read aloud. For parents, it’s a blueprint for embracing their silly side. For kids, it’s a chance to see their parents not seem so parental.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Spencer’s New Pet // Jessie Sima ($14)

spencer's new pet
Simon & Schuster/Amazon

The author of Not Quite Narwhal returns with another adorable story, this time about a boy who must avoid sharp objects in order to protect his balloon-animal pet dog. The mostly black-and-white illustrations (except for the dog, which is red) give Spencer’s New Pet a refreshingly old-fashioned feel, and the tale itself is sweet, evenly paced, and timeless.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Serafina and the Black Cloak // Robert Beatty ($8)

serafina and the black cloak
Disney-Hyperion/Amazon

When children begin disappearing from the Biltmore Estate, Serafina, who secretly lives in the basement, knows the culprit is a mysterious man in a black cloak who prowls the corridors at night. This novel has everything a quality middle-grade fantasy needs, including secret passageways, a forbidden forest, unknown magic, and a scrappy heroine. And the chills and thrills don’t stop at the end—it’s the first in a series of four (so far).

Buy it: Amazon

11. The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas // Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter ($18)

the dinosaur that pooped christmas
Aladdin/Amazon

This jolly, strange story about a ravenous pet dinosaur who gobbles up all of Christmas is hilarious enough on its own—and perhaps even more so when you consider that it was written by British punk rockers Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter from the band McFly.

Buy it: Amazon

12. This Is a Taco! // Andrew Cangelose ($16)

this is a taco
Lion Forge/Amazon

A high-spirited, unique squirrel named Taco provides color commentary on regular squirrel facts in This Is a Taco!, a book that is much more than a factual guide to squirrels. In it, Taco embellishes, acts out, and sometimes completely changes the facts to be truer to his personal experience as a squirrel, which involves being opinionated and eating lots of tacos.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

8 Adorable Products You Can Buy for International Sloth Day

Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon
Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon

It’s that time of the year again, folks—the time when we all collectively lose our chill over a slow-moving, two- or three-toed mammal with an adorable squeak and poop that defies physics. That’s right: International Sloth Day is coming on October 20. Here’s a list of must-have coloring books, onesies, and Christmas sweaters that you can pick up to showcase your love of one of the internet's favorite animals.

1. Cuddly Microwaveable Sloth; $23

Microwavable sloth for International Sloth Day.
Intelex/Amazon

Warm your heart and your body with a plush sloth that doubles as a soothing heating pad. The toy is filled with millet grains and dried French lavender, a combination intended to help you get to sleep easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hanging Ceramic Sloth Planter; $19

FattyBee Ceramic Sloth Planter.
FattyBee/Amazon

This flower planter pulls double duty, communicating both your love of sloths and your appreciation for plants. And it makes a tasteful piece of hanging home decor, too.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Coloring Book on Amazon.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Amazon

Sloths themselves are already works of art, but you’d be forgiven for wanting a few more sloth-related crafts in your life. Now you can make your own masterpiece with this detailed coloring book. All you'll need are some colored pencils and you'll be ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Farting Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Farts Coloring Book on Amazon.
M & L Coloring Books/Amazon

But maybe traditional coloring books aren’t your thing. You’re in luck: Amazon sells a coloring book for the crowd that both loves sloths and laughs a little too much at farts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sloth Socks; $14

Sloth Socks on Amazon.
Good Luck Socks/Amazon

These socks are ideal for people who might not want to wear their love of sloths out in the open but are very comfortable showing it off on their ankles.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Sloth Onesie; $60

Tipsy Elves Sloth Onesie on Amazon.
Tipsy Elves/Amazon

No list of sloth-related products would be complete without a cozy onesie, and this one from Tipsy Elves is perfect for either pajamas or a last-minute Halloween costume. This onesie even comes with zippered pockets and cuddly sloth claws!

Buy it: Amazon

7. Sloth-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweater; $45


Tipsy Elves/Amazon

Why not celebrate the upcoming holiday season with this sloth-themed ugly Christmas sweater? You’re sure to be the hit of any holiday pub crawl or office Christmas party.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Sloth Mug; $13


Mika Mugs/Amazon

Really, what says it better than this mug? You just really freaking love sloths, and there’s nothing wrong with that, so be sure to declare your feelings along with your morning cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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