Monday, July 24, 2006

Dumb Design

Swivel Spoons by Chef'n

photograph picture silly Chef'n Swivel Spoons

Enough of the colourful rubber already. I'm not here to buy fruit-flavoured condoms: Please, Sur La Table, get this crap off your shelves and provide us with some decent, tried and tested classic kitchen products instead! I'm for all for innovative, if it works better than the original, but can you honestly tell me you put this through your test kitchen before fobbing it off to your loyal customers?

On their website, Chef'n put forward several reasons for purchasing a set of Swivel Spoons:

Chef'n say: "Swivel Spoons add fun to baking"
I say: "huh? Did you ever try baking with a swivel spoon?"
Chef'n say: "They are sure to spice up your kitchen"
I say: "Yes, if your idea of 'spice' is a picture of me ranting and cussing like a mad woman"
Chef'n say:"Nesting design saves space in cluttered drawers"
I say: "You'd save even more space if the spoon heads nested inside one another"
Chef'n say: "Adds modern design detail to any kitchen"
I say: "Good design is for a purpose, not merely for show. something you seem to have forgotten."
Chef'n say: "Top rack dishwasher safe"
I say: "A recipe often calls for several measurements from the same spoon, some wet, some dry. This necessitates washing the spoons by hand as you go along. Since it is IMPOSSIBLE, because of the small, deep, hard-to-get-to seams, to dry the inside of the smaller spoons after washing by hand, any dry ingredients thereafter become caked to the spoon."
Chef'n say: "Sturdy Glass Fiber PP frame"
I say: "And why is that supposed to impress me?"
Chef'n Say: "Soft Rubber Grip"
I say: "Yeah, and soft rubber spoon heads which attract dry ingredients such as fine flours. Even if the spoon was dry before use, it is difficult to shake it all loose from the spoon."
Chef'n say: "Four clearly marked measurement sizes; 1 Tbsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1/4 tsp"
I say: "Well, I'd hardly expect anything less from a measuring spoon, would I now?"
And I also say: "The underside of the spoons is just grey, so when I am frantically searching for 'those green measuring spoons' in my appliance drawer, if they happen to have flipped upside down as they seem want to do, then I can never find them quickly."

Chef'n Swivel spoons: Purchase at your peril. You have been warned.

PS Coincidentally - another blogger, Nika, was mentioning Chef'n today and having a much better time with her gadget. She was compelled to rave about her experience, whilst I was compelled to rant. It's good to know Chef'n isn't 100% dud.

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Childhood Food Memories

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Dumb Design


  • At 23/7/06 21:46, Blogger Kalyn Denny said…

    I think I'm with you on the spoons. For some reason, I can't handle measuring spoons in a set that have to stay together. I always take them apart, so that right there is a dela breaker for me.

  • At 23/7/06 22:08, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Ha ha ha! What fun. Gasp. Sigh. ::snff::
    Then again, the spoons look great next to your kiwi fruit picture.
    (Sam: This is not the sort of comment that merits a reply, OK? xx)

  • At 24/7/06 05:17, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    So much anger in this one...she may not make a good kitchen Jedi (hehe j/k).

  • At 24/7/06 06:19, Blogger Alanna Kellogg said…

    What about the price? That's what's slaying me about so many useless "good designs" ... the premium price for zilch value. I'm guessing $12.95.

  • At 24/7/06 09:26, Blogger Catherine said…

    That was great...I needed a good laugh this morning.

    I remember seeing this nifty measuring spoon that just had one head with a sliding size adjuster. Clever, but then I realized I'd be washing and drying it endlessly.

  • At 24/7/06 12:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How do you hang these things? I hang most of my kitchen tools.

    The color - it is the type of color that dates itself very quickly. I know retro is "in" but this green didn't look good in the 60-70's and has not improved with time.

    Well seems I have saved some money by hanging onto my old aluminum tried and true spoons. They work, are accurate, hang, coordinate with all my other tools.

  • At 24/7/06 13:18, Blogger susan said…

    you tell 'em sam! haha. i too cannot stand useless kitchen stuff. i mean, there is barely enough room and money to support even the purchases of quality products, foods, books, and equipment. (i'm sure all of us have a very long list). why waste money on a dumb tool?

  • At 24/7/06 15:01, Blogger Lynda said…

    I'm with Yoony. I am a "kitchen gadget junkie," but there are so many useful gadgets vying for my attention (not to mention so little storage space in my kitchen) that I can't imagine wasting my money on useless ones.

    I actually like the color (my kitchen colors are lime and marine blue), but why couldn't they take a good design and make that lime green??

  • At 24/7/06 15:37, Blogger Rachael Narins said…

    Hilarious. I love it. Though, one of the things I like about SLT is that they usually really try things out before putting them on the shelves. (Unlike WS) I guess this one was a miss. DOH!

  • At 24/7/06 21:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cat -

    I am the idjit who BOUGHT that sliding-head measuring spoon. That and the matching measuring cup.

    I use neither of them any longer (even though Alton uses his cup a lot), and have finally chucked the spoon.

    Needless to say, they would NOT have made Sam's Utensibility survey.

  • At 24/7/06 22:57, Blogger Dagny said…

    You can't dry them completely when you handwash them? That is completely wrong. That's why I stick with my lovely set of old school metal ones. If they were good enough for my grandmother, they're good enough for me.

  • At 25/7/06 07:46, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess this proves new and improved is not always the case.
    Thanks for the warning

  • At 25/7/06 07:48, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for the warning. The design does look pleasing and modern, but my first thought was that dry ingredients must cling to it in a bad way! I guess I'll be sticking with my old metal spoons for now.

  • At 25/7/06 08:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hilarious! I love it.

  • At 25/7/06 09:17, Blogger Sam said…

    Kalyn - I like the set idea since i am always losing the separate ones, it's just I dont like this particular set!

    Cookiecrumb - well you are getting a reply anyway

    Wmm - don't talk to me about jedi

    AK - actually $5.95! - you can forget about applying for the price is right, eh?

    Catherine - i used to have one of those in the uk. And i hated it.

    Maureeen - thats an idea - hanging them, well not these, obviously, but then I wouldn't lose the spoons. Unfortunately I have nowhere to hang stuff in my rented appt's kitchen and I am sure the landlord wouldnt like me to start drilling holes everywhere.

    Yoony - yes why did I waste money on a dumb toool. I should know better than to be attracted by the colour.

    Lynda - I guess the disigners athemselves actually thought it was good. oh well.

    Rachael - yes I would have thought that SLT would have tested it - maybe they did but didn't try washing by hand then drying and reusing. I doubt they also tested losing the spoons in a cluttered draw of appliances.

    Fatemeh - I am in ijut too since I had that spoon when back in the UK. But I didnt have the cup.
    I think less gimmicky the better in these cases.

    Dagny - that is my biggest gripe - can you see from the closeup of the spoon head I took - the water is stuck in the grooves and i can't get it out, not even with a serious attempt using a tea towel. Load of old rubbish.

    Nicole - new and not improved might be a better description.

    Bizofknowledge, good self-advice I think.

    Jennifer - I don't love it - it's horrible ;)
    But I am glad you like the post!

  • At 25/7/06 11:35, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you so much for warning.

    That is exactly the sort of thing I would be charmed by -- it looks as though it matches my kitchen walls -- and then I would be irritated the first time I realized that I couldn't get all the clingy bits of spice out.

  • At 25/7/06 12:01, Blogger Julie said…

    That is really funny--I was in Crate & Barrel last week and they were selling a nearly identical set of spoons, though not in that fetching green hue. Needing new spoons, I was attracted by their novel design, picked them up and attempted to pull them apart and take a closer look. I could barely pry them apart to see what size measures they actually were, and I even use my opposable thumbs and everything! I tossed them back in their little bin in disgust. Sorry for your irritating experience, Sam. I totally understand.

  • At 25/7/06 12:12, Blogger kitchenmage said…

    Yet another new and improved design that isn't. How special. I'm sticking with my ancient, battered set of metal spoons that I think were my grandmother's.

  • At 26/7/06 14:23, Blogger Guy said…

    Heh, yeah.

    My drawers are kept semi-neat by NOT buying such things. Lame.


  • At 26/7/06 23:42, Blogger David said…

    The first thing I do with sets of measuring spoons is break 'em apart. Otherwise, forget it. The OXO meaasuring spoons are the best (and they sit flat on the counter, so you can measure things out and rest them until ready to use.)

    Still, those green ones are awfully pretty...but beauty can be so fleeting.

  • At 29/7/06 03:01, Blogger lobstersquad said…

    Hi Sam
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and for putting me on your blogroll. Huge honour!


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