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Touring Wisconsin Food

Guess The Gadget! What IS This Strange Thing Found In The Kitchen Drawer?

Anybody know what this gadget in the picture is? My family’s stumped. I found it next to easily-recognized, useful kitchen tools in my late mother’s kitchen drawer. My mom was a very practical woman; therefore, I give this thing the benefit of the doubt and am willing to believe this gadget serves some useful function. gaget-1 After all, some entrepreneur took time, effort and money to produce it, and others took money to market it so that somehow it ended up in our kitchen drawer. But what unaddressed need in the human condition prompted such an outlay of resources?

Do you have a similar gadget in your kitchen drawer? Do you know what it is? If yes, then do you use it and is your life better for having one? Would anyone guess that it is currently 3:39 a.m. as I write this? Just minutes ago I awoke with this pressing question burning my brain and I had to ask it of the food-blogging world. Yes, I am a fortunate soul who’s blessed with superfluous worries. Now I’m passing my luck on to you. If you need more clues to successfully guess this gadget, then click on “Continue reading…” for possibly helpful, contextual information about my mother’s kitchen and read other folks’ ideas on what they think its function is.

My mother ran her own kitchen from the late 1950’s into the mid 2000’s. She was not typically a ‘saver’. Out-of-date, superfluous items were discarded without second thoughts. (So why was this gadget left in the drawer?) The gadget is olive green, which folks active in the 1970’s will remember was the gross color du decade. Its possibly 1970’s origin fits with another bit of contextual information. My mother’s own mother died in 1972, leaving her dad to fend for himself in the kitchen. My grandfather loved gadgets and was an early adopter. My parents were the first on Grandpa’s block to drink martinis  chilled by plastic ice cubes. And if a guest preferred scotch, then Grandpa readily retrieved from his pocket a tiny cylinder of “Lemon Mist” that he would spray into the guest’s drink. The aerosol spray was a time-saving gadget, – no need to peel that lemon twist. Perhaps this gadget in my mother’s kitchen drawer had been a gift from Grandpa and she had kept it for sentimental reasons? I don’t know, my mother was sentimental about her grandmother’s gold-rimmed china which she stored but thought too nice to ever use. Her keeping this plastic gadget for sentimental reasons is a stretch of her profile. Perhaps you wonder if my grandfather gave it to her, she stuck it into the drawer, then forgot she had it and therefore never got around to throwing it out. Possibly, but Mom’s discomfort with clutter extended deep into her cupboards. Plus, I do vaguely recall as a child seeing her holding it in her kitchen. Sadly now, I’ve blocked out what she did with it.

As you stretch your imagination to guess the function of this kitchen gadget, I’ll tell you what my family and coworkers suppose it to be.

First, I though it might be a recipe holder. It’s got a magnet on the back of one of the round ends, an open slot, and a sharp, metal tooth (resembling a chick’s egg-tooth). I tried attaching the gadget to the refrigerator, slipping a recipe card into the slot, and pinning the card to the tooth, but the card fell out.

My son thought it was a tool to remove splinters. (He’s been plagued with them lately and is looking for a substitute for that sewing needle.)

My daughter was sure it was a toe-nail clipper. In the kitchen drawer? – YUK.

Showing how the two ends flexed together, my brother thought it might be small tongs for holding food. “What food?” I asked, “a strip of fajita meat or a french fry?”

My dad guessed it might be helpful for clipping articles from a newspaper. His guess may have some promise.

(Next Morning, 6:00 a.m.) Yesterday I took the gadget to work and asked my co-workers at Wisconsinmade.com what they thought this gadget might be.

Renee guessed you could dry small things with it. Just stick something wet on to the tooth and hang the gadget on the refrigerator. We didn’t test this.

Vicki then suggested a busy mother could hang a small infant on the refrigerator while she prepared dinner. (It’s been a long time since Vicki had a small infant in her kitchen.) We didn’t test this guess either.

Katie demonstrated that the tooth was sharp enough to cut paper. She thought the gadget might be helpful in opening up packaged foods.

So there’s the list of our guesses about this gadget’s function. What’s your guess? Please let us know so we can put this issue to rest.

6 Comments

  1. It’s lime green, so my guess is that you use it to cut through the peel of a lime so you can…hmmm…never mind

  2. Hey Melodee,
    Are your guessing that this gadget may have been another attempt at getting citrus peel into cocktails? A noble cause, though perhaps elusive to attain without the standard kitchen pairing knife.

  3. Perhaps a wrapping paper cutter?

  4. I think it is for opening Potatoe Chip/Dorito/Frito/pretzel bags so that you don’t have to pull them apart and have chips flying everywhere you just grab the top of the bag with the gripers and swipe across removing the top of the bag

  5. Yep, I’m starting to agree that this gadget is more suited to tearing than holding. Perhaps I should sharpen it and test the limits of what it can cut. Perhaps I should alert the FAA about this potential passenger-plane hazard.

  6. Interesting writing! Are there any predictions that you maybe willing to divulge in order to illustrate your second section a bit more? cheers

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