It's a little bit sexist to assume that your mother is yearning for a kitchen gadget this Mother's Day. It's also a bit forward of us to assume that's what you're planning on getting her. Not that a gadget gift doesn't have hit potential -- kitchen goodies last longer than flowers, are less frustrating than waiting hours for a booth at On The Border and could be a subtle compliment to your mother's cooking prowess if you get her the right one.
The following five gadgets are not the right ones.
(If you think this is cliché, just wait until Father's Day, when we can bust out all the tired jokes about grills and novelty aprons and toilet seat covers.)
Pizza scissors It could be that I have no kitchen prowess or that the quality of my tool was subpar, but the one time I tried to use pizza scissors ended in despair. It hacked my poor Red Baron into something like a paper snowflake. I was two steps from dumping glitter on my pizza and hanging it from the fridge.
I hesitate to subject my mother to such a level of frustration and scalding cheese. It could easily turn into "The year Brooke melted my hands off, and then insisted that she loves me."
Better to stick with a traditional pizza cutter. Or, if your mother is Nick Rallo's mother, a Star Trek pizza slicer.
Fondue pot I love fondue. I love fondue parties. I'm the only person I know who doesn't boycott The Melting Pot because of the lull between courses ("But look how much fun we're having!" I'll protest to my frowning dinner mates. Ten times out of 10, they will continue to frown.) I'm also the only person who doesn't get what is so lame about a pot of bubbling cheese. (On a related note, make sure to check out my forthcoming book, How Come No One Comes to My Parties.)
But, it seems that there is something very wrong with fondue. A friend's mother told me that fondue pots remind her of the '70s and make her feel outdated. "Plus," she added unnecessarily, "all that cheese gives me digestion problems."
Whatever you tell your mother on Mother's Day, giving her something that translates to, "Remember when you used to be young? Here, have something that will make you feel like you gnawed on an old tire" probably isn't high on the list.
Juicer While I could have fallen victim to the same ineptitude that plagues me while using pizza cutters (and, OK, while serving tables), my juicers have always been colossal disappointments. They chew and grind my vegetables with enough vigor and noise that it sounds like a symphony of weed whackers in my kitchen, and I'm still left with a stringy, lumpy stew of carrot and orange rind. And the mess, after I'm done scrubbing a stubborn orange stain, leaves my counter top smelling like a trash can.
So I think juicers are worthless. I'd rather get my mother a nice blender and supply of blendable things. Plus, now that Jack LaLanne is dead, I think we can officially say that juicers are uncool.
Not that "uncool" has ever deterred me. I'm still obsessed with making juice. Anybody know a worthwhile juicer (that is, an appliance, not a professional athlete)?
"Germ Killing Ultra Violet Cutting Board System" While it does look pretty cool and futuristic, I can't get past this appliance's subtle message: You're getting lazy with the Dawn, and your cutting boards are nasty." It reminds me of that one year we got my mother an air purifier, and as she opened she said, "Oh? Oh." Which meant, "What, like my kitchen smells or something?" And no, Momma, it doesn't. We just thought the box looked cool.
I also don't like the idea of something with "ultra violet" in its title sitting on my counter. I feel like I could get melanoma if I step too close.
Anything that says, "We don't acknowledge your new diet." A bread maker, a deep fat fryer, an ice cream maker, an espresso machine, that thing that toasts bread and poaches eggs at the same time. Congratulations, you just got your mother something that is currently useless, insensitive and thoughtless. Who's ready for On The Border?
Addendum: If your mother isn't on a diet, then especially don't get her that triple-tiered thing that grows sprouts.
Unless your mother teaches third grade science and is all about closely observing photosynthesis, a sprout grower is kind of a lame gift (and from a fondue-and-sprout enthusiast like me, that's saying something). Instead, splurge a bit and get her an Aerogarden. Aerogardens are, with complete sincerity, the coolest things imaginable and completely worth the price. I mean, I guess you could save time and money by purchasing your flowers and herbs at Walmart, but that would mean that you took your mother to Walmart for Mother's Day.