Gadgets to make cooking fun

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A good sharp knife, a whisk and a meat thermometer are among the must-have items in any well-equipped kitchen, according to many chefs.

But what about the gadgets that are kooky, cool and just fun while still having a measure of practicality? Every kitchen should also have a few of those. In a world full of serious problems, what better place to enjoy a good laugh than where the meals are made?

BestProducts.com had the same in mind with a list of "37 Cool and Quirky Kitchen Gadgets You'll Actually Want to Use" in a May post by Sally Kaplan.

Among her top picks is a Chef Al Dente Singing Pasta Timer. Drop the chef, made of high-quality plastic, into a pot of water and it beeps when the water is boiling. Plop the pasta in and when it's ready, the chef starts belting out a song to tell you it's perfect: "Pasta fun, pasta done, the food we love to eat … "

Also on Kaplan's list are the miniature sushi rice or egg molds. You can put a warm hard-boiled egg or scoop of warm rice in the molds, close them and put briefly in cold water. Open up and find your food shaped as a fish, star, bear or rabbit.

Another one we like on the list is a Tour de Pizza Bicycle Pizza Cutter. The wheels are the cutters and yes, it comes with a little stand so you can show it off when it's not slicing through that delicious homemade pizza. For recipes, see our own Lucy Herrman's delectable pizza offerings online at taosnews.com/stories/remembrance-of-pizza-past,40251? ("Remembrance of pizza past" on taosnews.com).

But our favorite is the Ototo Nessie Soup Ladle, shaped as what we think the Loch Ness monster might look like, if we could ever see one. It made the people who helped choose these out of Kaplan's list all go, "Awwwww!" It is made of durable nylon and machine washable.

BoredPanda.com also lists Nessie as No. 1 on its list of 25 cool kitchen gadgets.

Another off this list that we particularly like are custom engraved rolling pins made by Valek. These pins are made with with cats, dogs, intricate flowers or, of course, dinosaurs. Imagine bringing cookies to work with these designs imprinted in the dough.

A few others we like: salt and pepper shakers shaped like magic wands, a hedgehog cheese grater and, just for Halloween, the Fred Brain Freeze ice cube mold that gives you brain-shaped ice.

Having fun yet?

All of these gadgets are available online.

Find out more:

"37 Cool and Quirky Kitchen Gadgets You'll Actually Want to Use"; bestproducts.com/eats/gadgets-cookware/g1764/cool-kitchen-gadgets

"25+ Of The Coolest Kitchen Gadgets For Food Lovers"; boredpanda.com/kitchen-gadgets

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