Editor's note: You may recognize Donna Currie as our yeast whisperer; now she's adding gadgets to her repertoire with weekly reviews of home and kitchen helpers.
You know those wine charms that you're supposed to put around the stem of a wine glass so people know which glass is theirs? I've never seen the point in that. Maybe it's the type of parties I go to, but I've never seen that sort or confusion over wine glasses.
Beer cans, on the other hand... Uh, maybe it is the type of parties I go to. But I've seen beer cans and pop cans abandoned at parties because people set them down while mingling, and when they come back there are three identical cans and no one has any clue which is theirs. So they go find a fresh beverage and at the end of the night the hosts are picking up half-full cans of beer and pop that were abandoned during the night.
That's one problem that can be solved by the Beverage Barricade from Mom Invented (6/$2), a little plastic gizmo that fits on the pull tab on beer or pop cans. These come six to a package, in six different colors.
But color coding is only one purpose. This little gem also helps you open the can. Yet another thing that generally isn't a problem for me, but some of my more dainty friends don't like opening cans for fear of ruining a manicure or breaking a nail. I've seen all sorts of devices that purport to make can-opening less hazardous, so there's a market for it.
The third use—and yes, these little plastic tabs have yet another reason for existing—is that you can twist that pull tab around so that the plastic tab covers the opening on the can. That's the use that I found most...useful...and if you don't have any idea why, I can tell you a story about a buzzing fly and me spitting pop across the room on a nice summer night. Although the Beverage Barricade doesn't seal the can tightly, it also helps to thwart accidental spills—at least keeping them manageable. And if you need to store an opened can in the refrigerator, at least it's somewhat covered.
While these aren't quite as chic as wine charms, they're probably not going to be used at your next elegant dinner party. They'd be perfect at a barbecue or picnic, and particularly handy when kids are around. Or flies.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.