Here's an oddly fascinating gadget: the Lekue silicone mesh bag ($15). And it's also a bit of a head scratcher. What does one do with such a thing?
Well, you put things in it that you want to cook in boiling water, and then remove them all at once without fishing around or draining. So, you could have a large pot of boiling water and have different vegetables in different bags. Cook them all in the same water, but remove each separately as they're done.
Who cooks like that? I really don't know. But you could.
You could also put a chicken carcass, aromatics, and vegetables into the bag and it would all hold together when you make stock. Then, just remove the bag. The stock would still need to be strained to get out the odd small bits, but the majority of the mess would remain in the bag.
It can also be used for foods that you want to remove from boiling water and then shock in cold water.
I've tested it with tomatoes, eggs, and a few other things, and it works like it's supposed to, stretches to hold more than it looks like it does, and cleans up easily. It was slightly easier remove cooked eggs in one fell swoop and plunge them into cold water, but it wasn't a life-changing difference.
I'm guessing there are other people who would find this indispensable. Or perhaps there's some genius use I haven't discovered yet. I'm certainly open to suggestions.
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.