What’s the Most Useless Kitchen Applicance?

Princess and her dollWhat’s the most useless kitchen appliance? After my experience this week I’ve concluded it’s the garbage disposal.

I lived for years without a garbage disposal (not allowed in my Chicago building). I did have a disposal in my last apartment, and managed to clog it numerous times. Through that process I learned that you cannot put celery or onions down disposals. And I never have since then. But canned cat food? Who knew?

Yes, after a particularly stressful, long day at work this week, and a long, tense visit to the vet with Princess, we came home. I scooped out the tiny (let me stress tiny) remains of her canned cat food from earlier in the day, ran cold water (always cold), turned on the disposal, put the cat food down the disposal, and poof. Huge explosion of gunk came up at me (horrors). It flew all over the counters, all over the floor, all over my clothes. And rapidly, very rapidly, both sides of the sink began filling with water.

After much messing around, I gave up and showered, changed clothes, and decided I really didn’t have much of an appetite for dinner.

The next morning I called the apartment complex and they promised to send someone out while I was at work, which they did (hooray, they really are fast). When I got home that night the sinks were empty, but there was also a snide message from the maintenance man reminding me that this was a “garbage disposal” and not a “garbage can” and that my drain was clogged with cat food. Well, since I barely put a tablespoon of cat food down it the night before, it means that the cat food had been clogging up the drain for days (amazing it didn’t smell).

I started to write an angry letter back to the apartment management about the nasty tone of the note. Fortunately, I did a bit of research on garbage disposals first. I still think his tone was horrible, but from what I’ve learned, I’ve been putting all kinds of bad things down the disposal including tea leaves, egg shells, anything with fat (meat, fish, cat food), anything with much fiber (all the vegetables I eat), anything the swells up (pasta, rice, grains, etc.). Basically, they’re describing Princess and my entire diet. So, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that it’s much safer to ignore the stupid garbage disposal and empty my trash a bit more frequently than I already do.

So what about you, are you the master of a garbage disposal, or do you ignore it? And what’s your most useless kitchen appliance? And what’s Princess doing at the top of this post? Well, it’s her food that really started this whole episode. And let’s face it, she’s much cuter than the mess from my exploding garbage disposal.


13 thoughts on “What’s the Most Useless Kitchen Applicance?

  1. Tee

    LinnieGayl: So, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that it’s much safer to ignore the stupid garbage disposal and empty my trash a bit more frequently than I already do.

    When we first moved into our house eons ago, I wasn’t used to a garbage disposal. This one had not been taken care of very well, so I basically ignored it and never used it. Eventually, when we got a new sink and new plumbing, I asked them to take it out and don’t replace it. I’ve never missed it and I don’t have to worry about what not to put down the drain. I think you made the right choice, LinnieGayl.

  2. Missie

    Oh Linnie! What a mess!! *blech* :-(

    But yes, as you’ve learned, there’s really almost nothing that one can put down a garbage disposer. (A former brother-in-law was a builder and said that it’s “properly” referred to as a disposer, not a disposal. *shrug*) I don’t have one and I don’t miss it — we have a compost for the compostable (sp?) items (tea leaves, veggie trimmings, and the like) and for the things that can’t go into the compost (anything with meat or dairy, for example), if it will be a while before our trash goes out, I put that kind of trash into a Ziploc-type bag (I save ones that have only held bread and such for just such purposes, but I will drag out a new bag if need be) so that the trash is sealed up and won’t start smelling before we want to take the trash out.

    As for the most useless kitchen appliance — hmmm. I’m pretty careful about what I get to use in my kitchen — I don’t want things cluttering up my cabinets — and my friends and family are pretty good about only giving me kitchen items that they’re sure I would use. I was given a special pan for poaching eggs that I’ve never used, so I guess it gets the most useless prize in my kitchen.

  3. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Thanks, Tee and Missie; the thing seems even more useless after your comments.

    Missie, someone wanted to give me one of those things for poaching eggs once. I said no; I have no problems poaching eggs in a regular pan.

  4. LeeB.

    I have a garbage disposal in my current apartment but don’t use it mainly because it’s noisy. There is also one at work and people put tons of things down it. But sometimes they forget to turn it on so there’s often lots of food remains in the drain. Totally looks gross.

    Glad Princess is better.

  5. Victoria S

    LinnieGayl, I am the garbage disposal(disposer) master. I have lived in my house since ’89 and it’s only clogged up on me twice, and I use that bad boy every day. I have put all those things you were told NOT to put down my disposal, and with the exception of the Thanksgiving Day Celery Debacle (one of the 2 times it’s clogged up) have only had one other problem. I don’t put any meat or fish in it though, but pretty much everything else goes down. I don’t have a pet , so I wasn’t aware of the cat food restriction…hey does that apply to dog food too?

  6. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Victoria S, I bow to your skill :) Clearly I don’t have it. Oh yes, I can imagine the celery debacle — what a mess that is. I’m guessing if cat foods forbidden dog food must be too.

    Lee, the noise doesn’t bother me, but I’m not dealing with that mess again.

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  8. Leigh

    I like my garbage disposal. I have lived in my house for 12 years and I don’t remember a problem unless you count silverware that I didn’t catch. I am more limited by thoughs of my septic tank than the disposal. I tend mostly to put in left overs and veggies,fruits.

    I would say the most useless tool is the electric can opener, expecially now that so many cans have the pop tops.

  9. Tee

    Leigh: I would say the most useless tool is the electric can opener…

    Hmm–don’t have one of those either. Am I a throwback to the caveman era? :)

  10. Leigh

    Tee, I don’t have one either – but I did at one time. It quit and I never replaced it,

    Some people never use the microwave but I have to say it is my necessity.

  11. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    Interesting Leigh. I do have an electric can opener but think I may be one of the only people who has one. And I do rarely use it anymore. As you mentioned, more and more pop-tops. I’ve been thinking about getting a non-electric one just recently.

  12. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    I should add I bought my electric can opener about 6 years ago when I had a wrist injury and pretty much couldn’t grip anything. I was completely unable to use the non-electric one. But thankfully that problem’s gone.

  13. Lynn M

    I’ve never had a problem with my garbage disposer, although I generally tend to use it just to catch the smaller stuff that doesn’t get scraped off plates into the garbage. I can’t imagine life without it because I hate cleaning out the drain filter/trap thingy when it gets filled up with slimy food scraps as I’m getting dishes ready to load into the dishwasher. I am curious – why the cold water only? I had always thought that I should run my disposer with very hot water so that any fats or oils would remain as liquid as possible and thus flush through thoroughly.

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