Many cooking experts like to advocate for a minimalist kitchen, equipped with a relatively small amount of gear -- just a few essential items. You don't need a knife block with a dozen knives, they say -- just a chef's knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. That thousand-dollar set of pots and pans? Skip it: All you need are a frying pan, a saucepan, a stockpot, and maybe a cast-iron pan. Gizmos and specialized tools like pickle-pickers and banana slicers are widely derided as just taking up space.
The general philosophy for these kitchen minimalists is that if a tool can only be used for one task, it's not worth your money.
But we were intrigued by some of gadgets sold on Quirky.com, a hub for amateur inventors who want to get their products off the ground. Users submit product ideas to the community, and if enough people commit to purchasing a product, the company will go ahead and manufacture it to be sold through the site, with the inventor getting much of the profits. The community has produced such brilliant offerings as a flexible power strip that bends around furniture and a dustpan that cleans dust and detritus from the broom.
The site has also developed some very cool inventions for use in the kitchen. There's the Stem, for instance, a little nozzle that you stick into a lemon or lime so you can spray the juice on your food: Not only does it save you from having to take out a cutting board and knife, it also promises a more even coating of juice on your salad or salmon. It costs $4.99.
There's the Pluck, which allows you quickly separate eggs without getting your hands messy. It costs $12.99.
There's also the Glide, a plastic clip that attaches to the base of your knife and allows you to quickly remove chopped garlic or onion that gets stuck to the side of the blade when you're chopping. It costs $7.99 for a package of two.
We loved the idea behind all three products. But at the same time, it's hard to deny that these are perfect examples of single-function products that you could probably do without. You can separate eggs using your hands. It's not that difficult to chop a lime in half and squeeze the juice out with your hands. And if there's garlic or onion stuck to your knife, you can wipe it off with your finger, or with a butter knife, or even just with the side of the cutting board.
So we decided to try these out. Sheri Silver, a curator for our sister site KitchenDaily and founder of the lifestyle blog Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, stopped by AOL's test kitchen to put these gadgets through the paces and see which ones were worth the cost. See the video above to find out which ones passed the test.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.