Saturday, May 23, 2015

Don't UseThis Any More

RHYS: As I said in an earlier post this week, I have been weeding out unused and unwanted items. Among the things I found stored in my garage was a big box of kitchen stuff, including these three attractive molds. They date back to the good old days when I served ham and asparagus in aspic with the asparagus arranged like spokes of a wheel, or when I made, gulp, jello salad with fruit in it. It has been many years since I made jello anything, except for after upset stomachs. When I was first married the older housewives gave me recipes that included either jello, cream of chicken soup or cool whip.
So even though they are pretty, I'm tossing out these three. Along with my ceramic fondue pot
So how about you, Reds and readers? Which items around your house have become obsolete? Has your style of cooking changed dramatically over the years? Do you ever use jello, cream soup or cool whip?
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Not obsolete, but I've gotten rid of a number of cooking items my dearly-missed late father-in-law gave us. He liked my cooking, and somehow that translated in his head to me wanting gadgets - usually ones that implied I would be making convenience food from scratch. Thus: a pizza stone, an enormous stand-alone rotisserie, a pasta cutting machine (for those times I, a working mother of three, wanted to toss together some home-made pasta for my family,) a large plastic rolling pin that could be filled with ice... the list goes on. I would always thank him profusely, jam the latest item in the back of the walk-in pantry, and try to remember to get it out when he visited. I don't believe I dared actually give the various things away until after he had died.
As to obsolete ingredients, we use spray "whipped cream" out of a can, unless it's a very fancy dessert for guests. I do still use Cream of ----- soup in several favorite recipes, including He Man Tuna Noodle Ding Dong and Mom's 1960's Pot Roast. My concession to modernity is to buy the low-sodium versions. Finally, I don't make Jello anymore, although it was a huge favorite when my kids were young. One cooking item I got rid of that I regret was an amazing Jello brain mold, (that would be a plastic mold, that when filled with pink Jello, creates a facsimile of the human brain, not some neurological fungal disease) purchased at the Jello Museum itself, in Le Roy, NY. I didn't use it and didn't use it.... and the year after I gave it away Youngest came looking for it for a science presentation. Sigh.

HALLIE EPHRON: Isn't that always the way it is? You don't need it until you throw it away.
My 'don't need' is a meat grinder. The kind that you attach to the counter. I've used it to make pate (layers of duck, veal, pork) but not for years. I really should throw it away but it was my mother's. Also a green porcelain standing milkshake machine which makes the world's greatest milkshakes, but do you know how many calories are in one of those babies? Still, I'm keeping it because it's swell looking.
And weirdly I've been acquiring cast iron frying pans, now that I get the hang of how to use them and why they are so extolled by cooks, and getting rid of teflon or circulon or whatever coated frying pans that really are junk.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ah. The bread machine. GONE. I used it a couple of times, and it did make a lovely fragrance, and delicious bread, but yeesh, it took up counter space, and eventually, (soon, actually), I realized it was a space-eating carb-creating waste. It's in the basement. I think.
Don't sneer (not that you'd sneer!), but I dumped my coffee grinder. Messy and unnecessary. Blender, well, I hardly ever use it, so it's in a cupboard. With the Cuisinart, which for years was a big staple.
My mom always said "You'll never use anything you had to take out of  cabinet."  And she was right. And since I am trying to de-clutter my countertops, that means--it all goes.  And now, the proliferation of carry-out containers. Right? But that's another blog.
Fondue will come back.
LUCY BURDETTE: Julia, I desperately want the pizza stone, the pasta maker, AND the rotisserie. I would have loved Ross's dad I think! And what a compliment that he loved your cooking. Hallie, your milkshake machine is a beauty. you could make smoothies (I'm thinking mango), fewer calories than the shakes. And Hank's mom, as usual, was right. that's why when I replaced my broken Cuisinart with a monstrous machine that is supposed to do everything, I decided to leave it out. Besides, it might be too heavy to pick up:). You notice I'm not offering to give anything up--though I'm not sure you're on target with the fondue Hank, but I'm ready.

RHYS: So what are you ready to discard? What is cluttering up your kitchen? And who still makes things with jello, Cool Whip and cream of chicken soup????

And Hannah Dennison has picked Susan D and Betty Jo English as her favourite comments. Contact Hannah at to arrange for a copy of Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall


  1. I haven't made Jello since the children were small but I do still occasionally use the cream of something soup. I was at a chocolate party last night and the Cool Whip was getting spiced up to be used as a dip. But Cool Whip is definitely not something you'd find in my kitchen.
    My coffee grinder has a full-time job, so it's not going anywhere and my Colorado daughter would tell Hank she's absolutely right about the fondue pot. But since I don't have molds and I've already tossed all the extraneous plastic stuff, there's not much left to toss out of my kitchen.

  2. I just found one of those fish molds! In the upstairs kitchen in a cabinet. I think I'll make it into a beach toy for the grandchildren..they can use it for sand molds!

    Joan: a chocolate party??? Details!

  3. that just what I was going to say Hank, A CHOCOLATE PARTY???

  4. I USE my "Jell-O" mold ... for salmon mousse. It's a wonderful summer treat that, beautiful and delicious. One day I'll post the recipe. But I'd love one of your fancier ones, so discard one in my direction, SVP.

  5. Old coffee makers of various sorts finally went after I got used to the Keurig the husband brought home out of the blue. He's also the one who uses the bread maker, but we got rid of the mixer with all the attachments, including a blender and a grinder. Never used any of them. The one thing taking up way too much storage space that I can't seem to get rid of is my mother's hand-painted china--many place settings and all the serving dishes. I'm never going to use it. Our only dining table seats six max and on the very rare occasions when we entertain, it is more likely to be a cookout using paper plates. I have a feeling the niece I've named as literary executor is going to get stuck with this, too.

  6. Hallie! The canisters behind your wonderful milkshake maker - we have the Barley canister that matches them. Actually, we have a collection of wonderful old porcelain Barley canisters and hunt them out since our last name is . . . Barley.

    Anyhooooo - we have a teeny kitchen. One that Donald refers to as a "one butt kitchen." So anything that didn't fit comfortably on the countertops when we moved in was given away. I agree with Hank's mother; if I have to take it out of a cabinet to use it, it's never going to get used. Besides, my cabinets seem to be filled with way too many pretty dishes because I have a thing for pretty dishes and have a hard time resisting "just one more."

  7. I also need details of the chocolate party.

    I have a bread machine. I only stopped using it weekly when people got away from eating the bread. But I keep it because I make homemade pizza and it is fantastic for making pizza dough.

    No Cool Whip. I prefer real whipped cream (I have a KitchenAid mixer, so it is dead simple to make), but the kids like the spray can. I should make my grandmother's "ambrosia" - whipped cream with sliced fruit.

    I have my mother's electric carving knife - the one she got as a newlywed in 1971. Still works. Love it.

    But the thing I should give away is the electric frying pan my mother insisted I have. "No home is complete without it." I don't think I've ever used it. It doesn't take up counter space, but it's sitting in a cabinet and I'd really like to free up that space.

    I keep thinking I want a blender and food processor, but the idea is probably more attractive than reality. As with so many things, right?

  8. I do use cream of chicken soup to bake chicken breasts with spinach. Not only the fastest "good" dinner recipe I possess, but delicious.

    Someone sends us a box of juice oranges every year, and I drag out the juice squeezer. It's probably time to heave the heart-shaped cake pans.

  9. In NYC we just don't have the cabinet space for these kinds of things — maybe that's a good thing in the long run?

    Also, never cooked with Jello, cream of anything or cool whip.... I think it's a generational thing?

  10. Oh how I wish I had the meat grinder. My mother used to make ham salad in the summer time, and it can't be done without a grinder. The Cuisinart just makes chunks of ham into paste.

    The blender is in the basement, can't remember the last time I used it. I still use the food processor, mostly to chop cranberries and occasionally other things.

    I don't used cream soups although we always have a can of whipped cream in the fridge. I make a green jello with pineapple and cottage cheese and mayo a couple of times a year, when we have ham, like at Christmas and Easter. It is a tradition in my partner's family. Don't gag. It is actually pretty good.

    Yesterday I cleaned out all that collection of kitchen knives, keeping only the good ones, of which there are maybe a dozen. Now I can't figure out how to get rid of them. The recycle? What if some picker gets cut? Oh wait, no one could get cut on those knives. You could safely ride bareback on one of them. Out they go to the curb!

    Kitchen purchase rule now in effect: Only buy things that are needed and have MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE! Most of what I do can be accomplished with a sharp knife and a cutting board.

  11. I have all my mom's and my grandmother's kitchen stuff, and I use a lot of it, if only once a year. But my grandmother's hand grinder is missing some of its parts since one of my friends who was dogsitting while I was at a conference took it upon herself to purge my kitchen (without asking).

    I tried to make excuses for her bad behavior based on diabetes-induced erraticism (I once had a diabetic secretary who shredded everything she was supposed to have filed, and a newly-diabetic client who burst into tears in the conference room when I told her I'd have to do some research into the copyright ownership of a photo she wanted to use).

    Unfortunately, "friend" became self-righteous about what she'd done, and we are no longer friends.

  12. I'm (gulp) beginning to downsize, but unless it's a duplicate, there's very little in the kitchen I don't use and like, Lucy Burdette, would have loved Julia's father-in-law's gift giving style. What I'd really like is Julia's He-Man-Tuna-Noodle-Doodle recipe. I don't know what it is, but I know my husband would love it. Care to share, Julia?

  13. I would be elated to take those molds, Rhys. Someone put my large one in the dishwasher and it stripped off the shiny finish. That's when I learned to my horror that it is all but impossible to find them now.My family is nostalgically attached to having a jello mold at a holiday mea1. My mother-in-law is entirely to blame for this, but there it is.

  14. I still use cream of whatever soups in the wintertime for one-pot meals occasionally. No jello, no cool whip--we use the stuff from a can, too.

    When I moved into this house, I instituted a rule--can't keep it unless you use it--works for the kitchen nicely. That said, hey, keep the fondue pot--how can you make chocolate fondue without it???

    And much of my kitchen stuff was acquired from estate sales, moving sales--I love knowing that something else was well-used and loved in the kitchen!

  15. My mom made a Jello mold for every holiday meal. I refused to eat them. Now that she is gone, I looked into making them-- an incredible amount of work, under-appreciated.

    But there was also a wonderful orange juice and Jello dessert, with a graham cracker crust, that I loved. Still looking for the recipe and the spring-form pan.

  16. Every once in a while, I post old Jell-O horrors on Facebook. The things some people thought needed to be shaped and congealed--yeesh!

    I have a meat grinder. I can never get rid of it. Once in a blue moon, I made my grandmother's shrimp boulettes, and a meat grinder is a necessity. Gone for good at my house--two mini quiche makers. TWO.

  17. We have a seafoam-green Oster (your's is probably Hamilton Beech) milkshake maker, minus the cup. And Kaye, my husband's name is Donald but I'm the one who referred to our kitchen as a "one-butt kitchen" for years until we took out a peninsular.
    I have two big juicers and a breadmaker in the basement. Also there's a box of china I ordered from a home shopping show about 20 years ago. It had looked better on TV--have never used it.

  18. I have my mother in laws meat grinder and still use it to make shepherd's pie. It ,ugh to even have been her mothers!

  19. Chocolate Tasting Party . . . you get to sample a variety of yummy Dove chocolate products and try out some easy recipes [the Cool Whip was mixed with a Chai Tea Mix] . . . then there’s something cooked especially for the party --- we had chocolate chipotle chicken tacos. Like all home parties, you can buy different chocolate things like candies, baking mixes, cooking sauces and rubs . . . it’s all yummy!

  20. Will you people please give those unwanted molds and appliances to a charity thrift! You may think it's junk but to someone else it's "retro." Meanwhile, Jell-O is coming back in handy for tending an aged parent who has stopped eating. And you reminded me of a Jewish friend who made a great salmon mousse and a wicked whiskey sour. I have a few appliances I use maybe once a year, but they are on the top shelves of my cabinets and nothing else goes there because I can't reach them without a ladder.

  21. Never mind a chocolate party, what we need to throw is a yard sale!

  22. I have the springform pan - and a lot of other pans and gadgets my mother and grandmother had. Some I actually use, some are still around for nostalgia. Other things, like the huge, industrial-looking meat slicer that has been in the cabinet above the refrigerator for 26 of the 26 years we've lived in this house should probably go. As well as the several versions of George Foreman grills I had to have. Or all the gadgets I probably bought at the same time Julia's father-in-law did. When granddaughter moved out I felt proud for giving her half of my kitchen. Then she moved back home. Figured if I didn't need it while she was gone didn't need any of that again, but I think the box is still in the storage shed. Getting ready to start a kitchen facelift and everything that doesn't get used won't be going back into the new kitchen.

    I still use the cream soups in some recipes (did we ever actually eat a bowl of those?). Will never make Jell-o again since it comes in cute little individual cups now. Hubby loves Cool Whip (ugh) but since I believe in the "you won't use it if it's not on the counter plan" too (plus it's too heavy for me to move around much) I can make "real" whipped cream easily since the Kitchen-Aid is sitting right there.

  23. Michele, I'll post He Man Tuna Noodle Ding Dong next time it's my recipe day. I do seem to have become the JRW specialist in ridiculously fast foods from the 1960s.

    Susan, I do think it's a generational thing. If your mother was married and cooking for you in the 50s and 60s, those short-cut items like Cool-Whip, Jell-O and Cream of ---- soups were the shizz. By the time the 70s rolled around, moms had switched to cookbooks like LAUREL'S KITCHEN and THE MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK. If you were ever served something with mung bean sprouts in it, your mom learned to cook in the 70s.

  24. My daughter had a fondue party for the Mad Men finale! I agree -- it will return.
    And that milkshake machine could produce great summery alcohol drinks, like pina coladas.
    I finally own a real Kitchenade mixer, which sits out, but I use my cuisinart quite a bit even if I have to get it from the cabinet.
    Getting rid of excess serving dishes and "pretty" stuff.

  25. Oh my gosh. I have more dishes, glassware, etc in my kitchen cabinets than I have food. A lot of it is family stuff. I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I do de-junk from time to time. Got rid of the handy dandy beercan butt chicken stand thingie. Heard the recipe is great, but never cooked it or tried it. You've inspired me today to put the cookie cutters in the box for the church thrift shop. I haven't made cut out cookies in years. I used to make drop cookies for my dad and father-in-law but they're both gone now in just the last few months. I have a couple of metal jello molds hanging on the wall as decoration. I just found a bag of individual metal molds. Where the heck did they come from? I know where they're going--thrift shop! As for the cooking. I still will use jello for the traditional family "green stuff" for holidays. Sounds more accurate than angel's delight. I don't cook much but if cream of something is needed I'll buy the low sodium version to use. And I'll either whip cream or use the real stuff in an aerosol can. No redi whip for me.

  26. Rhys, I know I wrote a comment for this blog. Wonder where in the ether it went? Sigh. Anyway, what fun.I've just done a huge clear out in my dining room. I kept my trifle bowl, my pudding mold (wishful thinking on both counts), my dedicated apple pie dish, but oh my gosh, did I get rid of a load of stuff--including jello molds. In some previous house I think I hung them on the walls for decoration--they were never used. I also have away the salmon mousse mold, which I might regret considering the recipes today.

    And I have away my the fondue set years ago. If it makes a comeback, I'll just have to buy a new one:-)


  27. I love Lucy's take on how to use the neglected tools . . . and am now craving a smoothie. I have a bread machine in the pantry, and use it for baking bread in the summer, when I don't like to heat up the oven. I long ago gave away hand-cranked ice cream machine and grain grinder -- just not enough strength and stamina to use them. Coffee grinder went to Freecycle in the last move, along with a French press coffee maker, and I just gave some extra pans to a niece for her new home. I should ask if she had a use for an immersion blender, which I've never gotten the hang of.

  28. Oh, and Deborah Crombie, you are partly to blame for my lack of sleep last night . . . _A Finer End_ was wonderfully riveting! Good thing I can have a lazy day today. ;-)

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  30. Discard?

    I mean… do you see what I have in my mouth? It's an old chopstick that I got at Children's Hospital in Boston—a long time ago. I make my own combination keyboarding aid-page turners with old chopsticks, modeling clay, and spit, and you think I'd throw something away?

  31. we had jello salad at every Holiday meal and a lot in summer

    I still have a tupperware mold I got in the 70s and do occasionally use it

    Mostly if we are having someone one over as it takes up more room in fridge than a bowl of jello

    Christmas, was layered, red jello then green jello and it would have fruit and chopped walnuts in it

    Ive used the mold for rice/veg salad, looks pretty on a plate

  32. Once again, the Reds have hit upon a timely topice for me. Today, starting at 6 a.m., my daughter, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and I had a garage sale. One of the benefits of all the house work I'm having done is that I had to empty closets of clothes that I've had for almost ever. What didn't sell, I'm dropped off at Goodwill.

    What I especially enjoyed about this particular weeding and garage sale is that it seemed there were certain items that mateched up with people who needed them and need them at a much reduced price. I had a portable sewing machine that still works which found an owner whose mother who taught her to sew and she wanted to sew for her kids, but she hadn't been able to afford a sewing machine. I originally had $30.00 on it, but I let her have it for $20. I even sold some books, only 50 cents for hardbacks and paperbacks, and they found some good homes. One 12-year-old girl and I talked about reading, and she was telling me some of her favorite authors and series. I ended up giving her some books free.

    Oh, the jello sure takes me back to my childhood. I identify orange jello with my mother taking care of me when I was sick. And, no, I can't remember the last time I fixed jello. I wish I'd gotten my mother's meat grinder that attached to the counter, the one she used to grind up the cheese for her homemade pimento cheese, for which she also made her own mayonaise.

    And, Joan, what fun the chocolate tasting party must have been!

  33. This isn't actually a gadget I threw out, but I did weed out cookbooks. And, in the bottom of the drawer was a Holly Hobby cookbook for children. It was my daughter's. So I sent it to her daughter who is nine. Gone from my house, but not totally forgotten!

  34. Jello is something I haven't made for years but I remember when no family gathering or potluck supper was complete without at least one quivering creation. Some were pretty good and some were pretty awful. My Jello molds are long gone now except for one. ..... the BRAIN mentioned by Julia. In my teaching day I would make a Jello brain for my fifth grade class every Halloween. The color varied but it was always a big hit. A few brave students even dared to eat some. Maybe it's time to find that mold and surprise the family with some brain food.

  35. Oh the fish mould! Mom was so good at turning it out on a plate successfully. Hmm, where IS it now? We CAN'T have pitched it when we cleaned out Mom's house a few years ago. After all, I still have Grandma's meat grinder, somewhere in the basement (I'm a vegetarian).

    Meanwhile, it was the waffle iron that nearly got the chop. Hadn't used it in years, since I managed several spectacular waffle fails. However a few months ago, I dragged it out of the cabinet and before pitching it, I weakened to give it one last chance. Somehow, the waffles came out excellent. So it lives on, for now. (The difference? I used spray oil this time.)

    And the bread maker? Fortunately, when my daughter inexplicably gave me one fro christmas, I was brave and heartless enough to say, sorry, I'll never use it. Please go get your money back.

    My mom's old 1940s juicer? She gave it to me some years ago and I loved it, used it a lot, but I'm afraid it finally broke from metal fatigue. I still can't bear to part with it.

    Coupla thoughts for weeding: take pictures first. And Mom's old cookie cutters -- tie a ribbon on them and hang from the Christmas tree.

    Gee, I wish we could have a Jungle Reds Kitchen Tool Swap. I could give Ellen K Grandma's meat grinder. If you're ever in Toronto, Ellen, come and get it.

  36. For a fast lunch, I will make cream of chicken soup and add cooked asparagus or broccoli . . puts the greens in. I also still make a dynamite chicken & cream of chicken soup (gravy) in the oven Grace Tabor's cookbook. I found I've bought more pans that I didn't have before (jelly roll pan, new pizza pan - replacement, restaurant baking sheets - cookies, etc). Things I have needed all those years and didn't have. I love baking. . . cooking, not so much! I gave my juicer away and I hand juice. My old-fashioned nut 'grinder/chopper' gave up. . .no long 'sharp' enough. But I still have it. . . and yes the rolling pin for the pie crusts. Love the Blog ladies. Blessings, Janet