What is this kitchen gadget?
January 12, 2020 8:08 PM   Subscribe

What is this kitchen gadget used for?

It's not even an antique - it's a common brand (Oxo) that I found in the back of a cabinet in my kitchen. I don't remember where it came from, maybe a gift from someone more culinarily inclined than myself?

Picture here: https://imgur.com/a/b5R3kzQ

There are two plastic panels that can be pulled out of the main column from the top, as seen in the second photo.
posted by Mallenroh to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it some type of adjustable measuring tool, where you can measure out a variety of amounts of something in the same tool?
posted by mccxxiii at 8:12 PM on January 12

Yeah it’s just an adjustable measuring cup.
posted by aubilenon at 8:15 PM on January 12

With the shape and the way the graduations are marked, I wonder if it's perhaps part of a grater or chopper; the grater would replace the clear sliding panel on the back, so you could grate into the body of the thing and tip it on end to measure your progress; the clear panel would then enable you to store grated food in it if you grated too much or whatever.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:02 PM on January 12

Looks like it’s an adjustable measuring cup used especially for trickier semi-solids, like purées or peanut butter that are difficult to get out of a regular measuring cup. You push the peanut butter through so it completely comes out of the container without leaving half of it behind, if that makes sense.
posted by canda at 10:15 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

If it's an adjustable measuring cup -- and it certainly may be -- it's not like anything that comes up on an image search for 'oxo adjustable measuring cup' or variations thereof. Plus, how would that explain the purpose of that removable back piece? (on preview- maybe as canda says to pass stuff through? but I still don't see how that works mechanically given these pieces)

The gentle curve and rounded edges on the tops of those two pieces are curious. Maybe it's intended to hold something like a plastic bag, so it can be filled with a measured amount? That might also explain the MAX FILL line on the back piece, which I've never seen on any normal measuring cup (and why would you have a MAX FILL line on a normal measuring cup, anyway?). For the graduations to mean anything though would require using specific bags of a consistent size, possibly OXO branded or at least a pretty common standard measurement.

Just spitballing here, sorry I don't have a better answer. Curious though. OXO has made and retired any number of weird gadgets over the years, shame there isn't some sort of master directory or anything.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:27 PM on January 12

Looks like this OXO grape & tomato slicer - do the sides of the tool have gaps where you can run your knife through?
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 2:55 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]

It's a measuring cup with tare ability, intended to collect chopped veggies/etc, and for making salad dressing. Particularly useful for salsas, dressings and other sloppy things.

The front slider with graduations can be lifted to zero the measurement to what is already in the cup. The back is a catcher that makes it easier to scoop in sloppy chunks and pour in liquids.

Say you want to make vinaigrette without getting a lot of things dirty. You zero the cup, pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar. Then lift the front slider until it's zeroed on the top of the vinegar, and pour in 1/2 cup oil. Then you zero it again and add a 1/4 cup of chopped basil/tarragon/cilantro and some pepper and salt and maybe some walnut crumbs or feta just to be crazy.

It saves you from having to add fractions, right?

That's my best guess. It's just the sort of almost useless but still potentially marketable kitchen tchotke that could sell through during a big salad craze and someone would use once or twice until they realized it was easier just to use one big measuring cup (without moving parts to clean) and some grade 3 math.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:08 AM on January 13

wheek wheek wheek, that's definitely correct. It looks like a fancy version of that questionable life hack for cutting baby tomatoes after sandwiching them between two plates or boards.

The benefit of the life hack (apart from the cost) is that the distance between two plates is adjustable.
posted by confluency at 7:18 AM on January 13

Ah, the weird flanged top is to guide a knife in between the sides, I get it. Good catch wheek3.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:04 AM on January 13

Thank you wheek wheek wheek! That's exactly what it is. I don't think I would have bought a slicer like that, maybe it was a gift from when the kids were toddlers and you're supposed to cut their grapes in half... Apparently I didn't find it useful because it's been sitting unused in a cabinet for who knows how long!
posted by Mallenroh at 9:16 PM on January 13

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