Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: Trudeau's Stress Less Kitchen Tools

DISCLAIMER: I received these product samples unsolicited and for free - and promised to review them completely honestly without receiving compensation. For details, please see my Product Review Policy.

Trudeau's Stress Less Salt & Pepper Mills

The salt and pepper mills are both large and easy to grip. The fact that they are quite large might be considered a con - they do take up a lot of space - but they are not unattractive and I think they would look fine on the table. To operate, you simply hold the slightly padded black knob and turn the handle - clockwise gets you a fine grind and counter-clockwise gets you a coarser grind. Both the gear in the center and the handle itself rotate. For me, the handle on the salt mill was a little tight (i.e. slightly more difficult to turn than the pepper mill) but that may be something that would loosen up with use. One other negative might be that as I moved them around from counter to table and back, they did sometimes leave a little salt and/or pepper residue on the surface where they were sitting. But overall I would say these are useful and probably easier to use than salt or pepper grinders that require a smaller, tighter grip. 

This pizza cutter is bigger than most others I have seen, so it will certainly take up more storage space, but I have to agree that it is pretty easy to use. What makes it so easy is that it's not just a handle on a circular cutting wheel - there is actually extra space for your thumb and forefinger to grip. I think this makes it easier to use more downward pressure while at the same time spreading the impact out over more of your fingers. It's also pretty easy to clean, because you can hold the cutter upside down to pop the cutting wheel off and wash separately. Popping the cutting wheel back in after cleaning is a little bit more tricky, however, so be careful.

As a disclaimer, I have to say that I don't own a regular garlic press - so I haven't really got anything to compare this to. When dealing with garlic, I've found it to be much easier to simply buy a jar of pre-chopped garlic to keep in my fridge - still fresh but no chopping/pressing effort involved. But I did test out this garlic press and I will say that it is pretty easy to use. You put the garlic clove in the press chamber, put the press on a flat surface (which is a tiny bit tricky because the press will balance on two small, padded points), and then press the top handle downwards using your body weight to minimize the effort. The key here is that you have to follow the directions to actually make it easier - if you don't it still can take quite a bit of hand effort to press the garlic. I thought the best thing about this garlic press was that the press chamber swings open, which made it easy to clean.

I had a little bit of trouble with this one. The spring-loaded door (where the un-grated cheese goes) was not that easy for me to open or hold open while I tried to put the cheese inside. Also, the compartment inside is not very big - which means the cheese will need to be cut into relatively small pieces to fit in there. However, once you get the cheese inside, the grater is easy to hold and operate - which you do by turning a crank handle similar to the ones on the salt and pepper mills. You can even reverse the product for right or left-handed use. But while the label says "grated cheese falls vertically with no wrist torsion" I did not really find that to be true. For me, the grated cheese stuck up inside the grating chamber and I had to knock the grater on the counter or stick my finger up there to get the cheese to fall. Perhaps this would not be a problem with a harder cheese, but on the softer cheddar that I used it was problematic to get the cheese to come out. Additionally, this product was very difficult for me to clean. I had to try to hold the spring-loaded door open while washing it and, in the end, I wasn't very successful in getting that compartment or the grating chamber clean. Unless the product comes apart (which I can't obviously see how to do) or can be put in the dishwasher (which it doesn't say on the label) I think cleaning this product will be problematic.

UPDATE: I put this in the dishwasher to see if it would get cleaner than I could do by hand. It didn't. I'm still not sure how to clean it.

I have to admit that I totally failed in the use of this product. This may be user error on my part - perhaps I was doing it wrong - but I tried multiple times to follow the short directions on the label and I was simply unable to succeed in opening a can. The problem was that I could not get the can opener to properly latch on and puncture the can. The directions say "Open handles and align can opener on top of lid positioning the cutting mechanism along the side of the can. Close handles." There's even a little picture. But though I tried to replicate this several times, in the end I was totally unable to do so. I did apparently manage to cause a small invisible leak in the can (liquid came out when I held the can upside down) but I couldn't seem to puncture the can so that I could move on to step 2 of the directions and cut it open. So, though this may be user error on my part, I did not find this product at all easy to use.

UPDATE: Ok. I had APL try this can opener when he got home today and he totally did it on the first try. For one thing, this can opener cuts the can along the seal of the can, not through the lid - so it doesn't open exactly the same way as a regular hand-held can opener. This is actually a very nice feature, because it doesn't leave any sharp edges afterwards. Once I saw it was possible, I tried again - but I still had some trouble getting the can opener latched on properly (i.e. I still failed at step 1). But APL insists that it was really easy to do once you got it on there properly. Next time I need a can open, I think I'll try again - because APL also said it took a lot less strength and effort than a regular can opener. So, yeah, like I said: user error!!

ONE LAST UPDATE: I successfully managed to open a can of olives! And it was actually pretty easy. ~;o)


Mandy said...

Great review. LOVE your vote belly picture at top of blog. You look great!

~Mariah~ said...

MANDY: Thanks! ~:o)