Reviewed by Louise Totton
It’s so easy to go all out and splurge on the latest kitchen gadget – be it a new air fryer, treating yourself to an ice-cream maker, or nutri-blender. But what about the little things? The everyday, simple tools that we literally use and rely on, on a daily basis. It seems like we’re happy to go out and blow £100+ on a smoothie maker, but baulk at the idea of spending more than a couple of pounds on a potato peeler. We seem to just get on with the fact that opening a tin of soup can be a dangerous and sometimes bloody battle, and that peeling potatoes is supposed to be hard work that culminates in a sore hand and me swearing I’ll just buy frozen chips in future!
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way; if we just put a bit more thought into the basic tools in the kitchen, I think we would all find food preparation and cooking far easier and less painful! OXO Good Grips have made well designed and ergonomic food preparation tools for years – my mum always swore by them and I always found using them when I was cooking there so much easier than the things I had at home.
I was set a small set of OXO products to try out for myself at home, to see if just changing the basics really does make kitchen life that much easier. I was sent:
- OXO Good Grips Y Peeler
- OXO Good Grips Soft Handled Can Opener
- OXO Good Grips 1 litre Angled Measuring Jug
- OXO Good Grips Hand-held Spiralizer
The first item that I wanted to try was the can opener (RRP: £12.99) – mainly because I have been putting up with the same awful one for longer than I want to admit, and I have no idea at all why I didn’t get around to buying a new one! Like all Good Grips stuff, the can opener is designed with the user in mind – the handles are chunky and easy to hold comfortably. They are made from a soft and slightly rubberized plastic, making them very grip-able, which is especially important if your hands aren’t as nimble as they once were. The knob is also very large, so it is easy to grip and turn and it doesn’t dig into your hands or skin like metal ones do.
Of course, the most important thing is how well it performs – and I have to say that it’s fabulous. It seems to anchor on to the side of the can very securely and firmly at the first time of asking – you don’t end up wondering if it’s on properly and trying to get a good grip two or three times. And it opens the tins smoothly, cleanly and with the minimum of effort, without leaving jagged or dangerous edges on either the can or the lid.
The metal parts are made from stainless steel, so it should continue to look nice and shiny, and the build quality feels excellent. I’m delighted with it – it just does the job that it does incredibly well and with the minimum of fuss!
The next item that I tried out was the Y Peeler (RRP: £5.99). I much prefer the Y shaped peelers to the longer type – I find them easier to hold and to peel with, and first impressions of this one were very good! It is made from the same combination of stainless steel and a soft grip plastic as the can opener, and has the same chunky feel to it.
In addition, the peeler also has further rubberized grips at the top, making it even more non-slip. As well as peeling spuds and veggies, it can also deal with eyes and blemishes with the potato-eye tool above one side of the blade.
Just as the name would suggest, the Good Grips peeler is fantastically easy to hold and grip, even with the wet hands that you will inevitably get when preparing freshly washed fruit and veg. It stays securely and firmly in your hand, and because the blade is so razor-sharp, peeling is a breeze. It copes well with potatoes, even slightly older ones that can sometimes be harder, apples, mangoes, carrots, even avocados, and is honestly so much easier and quicker than my old peeler – I have no idea why I put up with it for so long!
The 1-litre measuring jug (RRP: £13.19) is another fabulous OXO innovation – it’s a measuring jug that allows you to see the how much liquid is in the jug from above, you don’t need to crouch down to get your eyes to the same level as the liquid!
It works because it has an angled surface within the jug, which allows you to read the measurements in either ml or fl.oz, and you can also read the measurements in the traditional way, up the side of the jug, should you want to. It wouldn’t be Good Grips if it didn’t have an over-sized, rubberized handle, and this one also has a comfortable, textured recess for you to rest your thumb in so that you can steady it when you’re pouring.
This is a great measuring jig – the markings are clear and easy to read, it’s great to grip and hold, the spout is a super-accurate pourer and the jug just looks great too. It’s dishwasher safe on the top rack and can also go into the microwave, although not with oil inside. The innovative ‘over-head’ way of reading the measurements is so simple, but just makes using it so much easier than any of the other jugs I’ve previously used. Yet another winner and way of making food prep easier!
The final product I tried was the hand-held spiralizer. I don’t actually have anything to compare this to, as I have never owned a spiralizer before. For those who don’t know, the concept is simple – you can turn veg or fruit into spaghetti-shaped lengths, and then use these in the place of carbs if you are trying to eat more healthily.
The spiralizer (RRP: £16) is about the same size as a teacup and is made from clear Perspex. Towards the top of the Perspex cup is a green rubberized grip and a green, removable handle. The handle is lifted off, the veg is then pit in its place, on top of a blade, and the handle is then pushed on top of the veg. The handle has little plastic grips on the inside to keep hold of the veg, and the idea is that you then twist it clockwise like a key.
And hey presto – out of the bottom of the spiralizer comes spaghetti’d courgette, carrots, potatoes, cucumber – whatever you want to put into it! It is fabulous for making little light Asian style salads with just a couple of vegetables and some seasonings, and it just as good for making the courgetti spaghetti that lots of people seem to be talking about.
It is easy to hold, to grip and to wash (it is dishwasher safe, although I hand—wash mine. I like the green colour too, as it somehow seems more fresh, summery and salady then the black rubber and I am over the moon with the results. It’s a great way to either make prepping veggies that but quicker, or to help you create a more unusual summer salad than the bog-standard ones!
I have loved trying out all of the OXO Good Grips products. They all just do what they do incredibly well, with the minimum of fuss and almost without you noticing, which surely has to be the hallmark of a product that is just very, very good!