Williams-Sonoma's evil plan to rob us all blind.

Yupsters, we need to talk.

About how so many of us register at Williams-Sonoma when we get married or move to a new house.  About how we might turn the pages of its catalog with such loving fingers, about how we aspire to a certain kind of cook's heaven where everything you could possibly envision doing in the kitchen has a very specific appliance or utensil designed just for that purpose.  About how Williams-Sonoma seems hellbent on perpetuating this myth in our lives by trying to sell us more shit we don't need.

Let's get one thing straight -- all you really need to cook a decent meal in the kitchen is 1) a knife and something to cut on, 2) a pan, 3) something to stir with.

I've seen at least 1 or 2 Williams-Sonoma catalogs floating around Garry's apt, and I've been downright appalled at the unabashed waste it so gleefully promotes.  I experience similar shock and dismay when I somehow find myself at a Sur la Table store.  I'd like to share some of the more absurd items I found and humbly ask: why in heaven's name would anyone actually NEED that?  I'd love to hear about a) your favorite unnecessary kitchen item or b) your argument for their existence.

Williams-Sonoma Products (and what I would use instead)

Salad Scissors $24.00 - it's called regular kitchen shears!  or a knife!
Nutmeg Grinder * $25.00 - it's called a coffee grinder, or regular grater!
Batter Dispenser * $29.95 - it's called a measuring cup!
Icing Spatula $32.00 - it's called a knife!
Straight Rolling Pin $18.00 - it's called a wooden dowel!
Avocado Slicer * $15.00 - it's called a spoon + knife!
Mozzarella Slicer * $25.00 - it's called an egg slicer!  Or (gasp) a knife!
Brining Bags, $16.00/Set of Four - it's called a ziploc bag!  Or a bucket!
Avocado Masher * $20.00 - it's called a fork!
Chocolate Bar Brownie Pan $29.00 - ... you're kidding, right?
Pizza Sticks Pan & Cutter * $24.95 - it's called a knife!  Or a pizza cutter if you wanna get fancy!

Other Products

Pig & Cow Molds $59.00 - ... I have no words for this.
Quesadilla Maker * $29.00 - do you think the Mexicans use a quesadilla maker?
Cake Tester * $2.50 - it's called a freaking toothpick/chopstick/knife!
Cinderella Waffle Maker * $34.99 - awwroaraargh
Oster Egg Cooker * $32.00 - it's called a pot
Treat Dipper * $44.99 - it's called a pot!
Tomato Slicer - it's called a knife!
Ceramic Pie Weights - it's called a can of tuna or something!

* Hint: if the product name ends in an "er," especially the word "maker," you probably don't need it.

27 responses
lol -- i agree except for the spatula and the rolling pin. in defense of (wannabe) pastry chefs everywhere, you actually can't properly frost a cake with a knife. ditto with the straight rolling pin, which some people prefer because it gives you more control and is lighter weight than the kind with handles on the end. that said, you can get similar versions at restaurant supply stores for much less. so in conclusion, i blame the marketers. :)
ps. you can't put a can of tuna on a pie crust and stick it in the oven. the real trick is to use uncooked beans. :)
LOL yupsters
Good work - name and shame Steph! I totally agree. Doesn't stop me from coming to worship at the temple of W-S whenever I come to the US from my native London though. I just stand in front of the wall of pointless utensils and swoon... I bought a wooden rice spoon once. My partner still laughs at me, but I treasure that spoon. But Cinderella waffle makers? WTF??
A lot of these W-S gadgets are similar in usefulness to those funky Japanese gadgets you see as jokes -- like a fan mounted on chopsticks to cool your nooodles.
"Quesadilla Maker * $29.00 - do you think the Mexicans use a quesadilla maker?"

Exactly. Great post. And you can buy the cook books cheaper on Amazon. And if you really need these things you can find most anything they sell Hell Mart, Target, etc.

they are all nice:))
thanks step:))
I'd also blame the people who are putting this crap on their wedding registry. I went to one wedding in particular a few years back (vague so you can't figure out which :) ) and it had the most ridiculously expensive, stupid crap on the registry.

$50 spoons, $300 pots, $300 sheets. Tons and tons of stuff you would:
1. probably never buy for yourself
2. definitely never buy full price
3. don't even need

The whole idea of a gift registry where you walk into a store (or see a catalog) and just pick stuff out that you want makes no sense. These stores take advantage of that by charging high prices. People don't compare prices or products with other stores, they just buy what's on the list. And these gift registries online tend to get you with high shipping charges.

When you get married, chances are you already live somewhere (not with your parents) and therefore you have what you need to live. Presumably you already cook food and eat things. It's ok to want upgrades on some of your stuff when you get married, but using it as a way to get all new overpriced everything is wasteful. It may not be your money, but it's still wasteful consumerism.

I feel like boycotting expensive gift registries all together. Can you do a registry at Amazon?

Of course you can do a registry on Amazon!  That's probably what I would go with.  I heart Amazon.
I totally agree.  I just go in with a set budget for a wedding gift and shipping charges be damned (if they are exorbitant, it means I can't get a higher quality item).   I have started considering getting a more unique, handmade item off etsy.com or something.
PS. A lot of newlyweds abuse the registry system by registering for all this expensive crap and then returning it all to BB&B for cold hard cash.  Which means shipping is still a sunk cost -_____-
I totally agree, although I'd buy a offset icing spatula since it's very useful (using a regular spatula just can't get the smooth surface) in making perfect icing surface. but not an icing spatula from your picture - that's called a butter knife!

My unnecessary kitchen gadgets?...hmm gotta be my vacuum storage machine. I bought it because I thought I could use it to wrap cookies, muffins...etc, but it's not great at all for various reasons (stick to tupperware or tin foil for that). But I am able to make sous vide (have not tried yet) with the vacuum; who knows...one of these days when I have gazillion hours of doing nothing and can wait in front of the sous vide.

Wow, I never thought about people selecting expensive items with the intention of returning them. That actually makes a lot of sense. That's also a good reason why these guys need to charge so much for shipping. If many items are going to be returned, they can't just throw it in like Amazon can.
Hehe. Great fun AND questionable utility. I'm guilty of being a gadget guy, so kitchen stuff captures my imagination too. Did you know even Wal*Mart has a wedding gift registry?

I'll pass on most of this stuff. We've got a pastry spatula already, though.

But I'm keeping my spiral pineapple peeler/corer, thankyouverymuch.

@Napoleon OMG the fruit utensils are the worst!!
Oh yea. Wal*Mart has had a registry for a while. And not only that, you can get married in one lol. Not just in the South but Utah also.



I would probably just ask for cash or gift cards instead of going through the trouble of registering and returning gifts. If I have mush say in the matter that is.
This is the best thing you ever posted, Steph!
haha this is a pretty good list of ridiculousness :)

i have to confess we have a mickey mouse waffle maker that we got from a disney outlet store once, yummmm.

I don't like unnecessary kitchen gadgets around. They just get in my way. Great post!
they are all nice:))
thanks step:))
A lot of these W-S gadgets are similar in usefulness to those funky Japanese gadgets you see as jokes -- like a fan mounted on chopsticks to cool your nooodles.Use a Wedding Planner
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