Spring Cleaning: 5 Outdated Kitchen Tools You Should Toss Right Now

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Happy spring cleaning! Let's cut to the chase: get rid of all this crap you never use that's cluttering up the kitchen. Do it. I've decided that these five things are taking up the space preventing you from spreading your culinary wings and soaring like a food eagle.

Now please don't send me to the mines over any of these — I'm an experienced home cook and run Food Republic's test kitchen, and firmly believe that if chefs don't use these gadgets, neither should we. Okay, if a pro chef wants to use a balloon whisk that's okay. But in general, consolidate your cooking tools (or make space for better ones) by chucking these.

1. Egg separator

Since the invention of the egg separator, made to separate — you guessed it — the white from the yolk, man has grown appendages called "hands with fingers." Dump the clunky piece of plastic junk and be a man: crack egg into hand, widen fingers slightly to allow white to run through (into a bowl if you're saving 'em) and boom, separated egg, ready for Hollandaise.

2. Garlic press

Seriously, have you ever seen a chef awkwardly press garlic and poke-scrape the remainder out on television? And for those of us who don't own a dishwasher (read: myself), great, now all the dishes smell like raw garlic. Listen up: smash the dickens out of that garlic clove using the flat part of your knife, yank off the skin, then chop/continue to crush/generally mangle the clove until you have a pastelike substance virtually indistinguishable from pressed garlic.

3. Mortar and pestle

Here ye, here ye! We don't announce things with "here ye!" anymore, nor do we require the use of a mortal and pestle for...well, anything. Go ahead, name something you've pestled in a mortar lately. Coffee/spice grinders and Cuisinart Mini-Preps exist for a reason: we've evolved past smashing stuff with a blunt object to break it down into smaller parts. Besides, you'd be hard-press...uh, smashed to grind whole spices down to a fine powder with no woody bits and I don't imagine your neighbors would appreciate the pounding in any case. This thing's cool to keep around for antiquity's sake, you ancient Egyptian voodoo medicine compounder, but don't tell us you're actually using it.

4. Balloon whisk

I'm not saying you don't need a whisk, you do. But you don't need a balloon whisk, the classic round wire loop tool that gets steadily more impossible to clean the longer you let it crust over. What, you wash every dish right away? Instead, switch to BALL POWER! In the form of this whisk, which fits better into the crevices of mixing bowls, pots and pans. Never again will you wonder, "how do I clean the old batter out of this hellish cage?"

5. Cheap-o box grater

If you didn't buy your box grater from Microplane, toss it and replace it with one. Or better yet, free up your grating activity with a few different Microplanes. Seriously, how many sides of your box grater do you use? One, right? You don't use the slicer because it doesn't work, the sharp, pokey little stars because they don't work or the smaller-holed grater because it doesn't work nearly as well as the large one. Grant yourself grating mobility with handheld rasps in different sizes, or if you really need a box grater (you don't), invest in a good one.

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