Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nachos Grande Review from CSN Stores: 4 Piece Gadget Set

A few days ago, I mentioned that CSN Stores had agreed to continue their sponsorship of my blog into the year 2011.  As usual, the representative at CSN sent me a gift card that I could use to purchase anything I wanted from their vast assortment of goods.  As many of my readers know, I enjoy cooking as well as baseball cards...and I'm a professor - my latest shipment from CSN covered all three of those aspects of my life.  I bought a box of 2010 National Chicle* (which I mostly bypassed when it was first released, better late than never on that one).  I also bought a red grading pen (I've been having fun trying different pens from CSN's crazy amount of pens available - my favorite so far is either the red Pilot G-6 pen I ordered last year or the red Pilot Precise Grip that I ordered this time around).  Finally, I ordered a four piece kitchen gadget set - and that is the focus of today's review.

*for the record, I still haven't opened my box of cards from CSN (as of the time of writing this post) - I've been trying to sort through all the trade envelopes and other mail first!

Hoffritz - 4 Piece Kitchen Gadget Set Review:
(see item link here)

The gadget set comes with 4 different utensils.  I tried to scan my actual utensils, but it may be easier to see what I got based on the photo in the product link since the scans are kind of blurry.

First, a lemon zester.

The lemon zester was one two utensils that I wanted out of the group of four.  I forget where I found it, but I was looking at a marinade recipe that needed some lemon zest...and without the zester, how could I do that?  (Work with me here, I know you can zest without a zester but still.)

Apple corer:

Ok, I admit - I have no idea what I'll ever use this one for.  Is it really that difficult to core an apple yourself with a "regular" knife?

Next, an ice cream scoop:

Now, I thought I didn't need the ice cream scoop either - after all, I already have three different ones in the house, but I must admit:  This is a really nice ice cream scoop.  I like a scoop with a bit of weight behind it, which this one has.  I also like the shape of the scoop itself, it's a bit larger than many similar scoops which should allow for larger chunks of ice cream to go in my bowl.

And finally, the reason I bought the set in the first place:  a vegetable peeler:

I had an old veggie peeler, but it simply wasn't getting the job done any more.  That's what prompted me to look for a new one - and when I saw I could get a peeler plus 3 other utensils (even if I didn't need them all) for basically the same price as a single peeler - well, I was sold (literally)!  In the photo above, the blue is simply a protective film over the blade - a nice thought so that people don't slice their fingers when opening the package!


In general, I'm happy with the set of 4.  The ice cream scoop is suitably heavy (perfect weight) and the veggie peeler is suitably light (makes for easy maneuverability).  The zester has a surprising amount of weight for its size - which is what you want in a zester to make the job easier!  The apple corer, however, feels a bit cheap.  It's really the only gadget out of the four that doesn't seem up to the appropriate quality in both weight and design (the metal "corer" end doesn't wrap around and sit perfect flush - it's no big deal in terms of functionality however).

I like how each of the four gadgets has a plastic black end with a hole in it for hanging the utensils.  I don't think any of these will get enough use to warrant me hanging them up, but it's a nice option to have.  The only real complaint I have is with the write up of the product itself on CSN's web page.  The page says that the utensils are made in the USA but each had a sticker on it clearly indicating that it was made in China.  It's probably nothing more than a typo on CSN's page, but for some people that's a big deal (not for me however, so I won't dock CSN for that).

In terms of shipping time and packaging, everything was perfect (which I've come to expect with CSN as this is my fifth order from them).

Overall score:
7.5 / 10

Bottom line:  A nice, solid group of utensils.  No true "wow" factor but plenty of useful attributes.  Perfect for light to medium use.


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