Words by Puddles the Monkey
So, you’re settling into uni life and getting used to the independence. Cooking your own meals is fun, right? Maybe you’re ready to branch out in to more adventurous culinary techniques. There are so many gadgets available, you're ready to buy them all.


Slow down, here are six kitchen gadgets you really don’t want to bring to uni…

Chip pan

The moments before disaster
Sounds like a lovely idea doesn’t it? Home fried potato wedges after a night out. Yummy. Fresh cooked fish and chips with your housemates? Yes please! Lazy Sunday donuts? Count us in. Third degree burns, delicio....wait a second.

Chip pans are responsible for 1/5 of all accidental fires in homes in the UK , and 4,000 people are injured in these kind of fires every year.

Chip pans work by heating oil to very high temperatures, in which you then submerge whatever food it is you want to cook. If you ever want to start a fire, oil is a great choice of fuel because it burns really, really, really well and is difficult to put out.

You might be thinking: Hey, it’s okay. If a fire starts I’ll just extinguish it with water from the sink over there, right?

WRONG.

If you throw water over a chip pan fire the whole thing will EXPLODE (thanks for nothing, everything you’ve ever been taught about fire). Even if you know that water won’t help, your tipsy housemate who just got back from the pub only to find the kitchen in flames might not. Just stick to the local chippy.

Danger rating::headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire: out of five.

Egg piercer


More evil than it looks
Are you constantly frustrated by boiled eggs that crack in the pan? Losing sleep at night because of it? You may want to consider an egg piercer. Or, you may want to pause for a long, deep moment of self-reflection.

Egg piercers are basically a spike on a spring for piercing eggs. Trust us, they really flippin' hurt when they stab you. And they will stab you. Or your housemate, who innocently picks it up wondering what it is (because seriously, who even has one of these?) before promptly maiming themselves. It’s 100% guaranteed that someone is going to get pierced, probably because you just chucked it in the bottom of the kitchen drawer without thinking.

What’s the benefit? They might help reduce the chance of your egg cracking when you boil it. Yup. That’s it. That is a pitiful risk:reward ratio. Leave it behind. Preferably at the back of some dusty forgotten Lakeland warehouse.


Danger rating::headfire: out of five.

Pressure cooker


A pressure cooker in its natural habitat
Pressure cookers work by trapping steam inside a sealed pot, which then increases the pressure and the maximum temperature the liquid can reach, making for faster cooking times. In the past these were renowned for exploding, we even use "pressure cooker" as an every day metaphor for tense or volatile situations.

If you do a little research on the internet about pressure cooker safety, most sites will tell you “Don’t worry! Long gone are the days of Grandma’s exploding spaghetti sauces. Modern pressure cookers are totally safe - if you follow these precise instructions with military precision and don’t deviate from the manual at all.” Alarm bells number one.

Alarm bells number two: most modern pressure cookers will boast of quadruple safety systems and fail safes. Any cooking equipment which requires that much safety backup is not something you want to be bringing in to a flat of first year university students.

Alarm bells number three: They require maintenance. You’ll need to replace the seal every year and check for general wear and tear, otherwise you risk the pot exploding. Go visit any university flat that’s been inhabited for more than a week and you’ll immediately understand why this just isn’t going to happen.

Danger rating: :headfire::headfire: out of five.

Mandoline


Stick to the music
No, not the musical instrument, although maybe you should leave that at home for other reasons.

A mandoline is a very sharp blade attached to a frame which you use to slice vegetables, a bit like a cheese grater except more deadly. As if cheese graters weren’t bad enough. One slip or lapse of attention and you’ll be grievously injured. The blades are so sharp that you might not even feel the cut initially. Just google “mandolin slicer injury” and you will be awash with stories of people losing their finger tips and not even realising until they look down and remember they were making shaved asparagus, not beetroot.

The more upmarket models come with finger guards which somewhat negate the risk of dismemberment when in use, although not completely. Some sites recommend that you only use the mandolin whilst wearing a special re-enforced protective glove. That’s right, this is a kitchen gadget that requires armour.

You can use all the protection you want, but you’re still going to have to wash it eventually. This means submerging the blades in soapy water which a) makes everything slippery and b) makes things difficult to see. Unless you can find protective rubber gloves, the potential for injury is high.

Danger rating: :headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire: out of five.

Butane torch


You don't need creme brulee that badly
It should be pretty clear that any gadget which involves wielding an open flame attached to a gas canister is going to be a bad idea.

According to Wikipedia, butane torches can reach temperatures of up to 1,430 °C, "high enough to melt many common metals, such as aluminum and copper, and hot enough to vaporize many organic compounds as well.”


Other than making creme brulee, there aren't many culinary uses for a butane torch. You'll only find yourself trying to justify your purchase by using it for increasingly vague reasons like toasting marshmallows, melting things into various shapes and pretending it's art, caramelising sugar on all your meals regardless of taste, taking up a smoking habit so you can light your cigarette with it... a slippery slope that's sure to lead to disaster. Or heart disease.


Danger rating: :headfire::headfire::headfire: out of five.

Classic German fire punch (Feuerzangenbowle)


This traditional and delicious fruit punch is made by setting a big cone of sugar on fire and allowing the resulting molten caramel to melt into a bowl of alcohol and fruit.

This is the holy trinity of kitchen madness:

LOTS of boiling sugar? Check.

LOTS of booze? Check.

LOTS of fire? Check.

If you're still not clear on why this is a bad idea, please ban yourself from your kitchen immediately.


Danger rating: :headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire::headfire: out of five.


More on TSR:

Why a slow cooker is all you need to take to uni

Chat about student life in our forum here

The unknown essentials you should pack for uni