3 Kitchen Gadgets NY Times Food Writer Melissa Clark Can’t Live Without

Looking to up your cooking game? The first step is always making sure your kitchen is stocked with all the essential tools. New York Times food writer Melissa Clark does a whole lot of cooking—so she’s sharing her top three kitchen essentials that make cooking and baking so much easier.

Mini Mandolin

Opting for a mini mandolin is a lot easier than using a full-size mandolin. “I use [it] almost every day,” says Melissa. “I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to slice something really thinly with a knife, I get uneven pieces. This mandolin makes the pieces super even and it goes really fast.”

Melissa also suggests getting a mandolin glove to keep your fingers protected, although you can also use a dish towel—or some mandolins come with a little plastic piece to help protect your fingers. Just be careful not to cut yourself.

Mini Whiskey

“Using a smaller whisk works so much better when you have a small amount of liquid. [These are perfect for] a salad dressing or a little pot of hot cocoa or if you’re making yourself some oatmeal,” says Melissa. “What’s so great about these is I can hold them in my hand and get a lot of control and I can whisk really quickly , which is nice.” Plus, they’re really inexpensive and super cute!

Digital Scale

Say goodbye to dry cakes due to mis-measured flour. “This [digital scale] will guarantee you a perfect result,” says Melissa. “It is so much easier for baking, because instead of using measuring cups and measuring spoons and making a big mess, I can mix everything in my baking bowl and it’s a lot more precise. ”

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My Favorite Summer Gadgets: 2022 Edition

Just in time for summer, I gathered a handful of my favorite seasonal gadgets and took them on my favorite morning news show, CBS Mornings. Whenever I’m asked to pick tech products to recommend for a TV audience, I try to cover all the bases — expensive items and budget items, serious products and fun products.

You can watch the full segment above, and if you’re interested in any of the gadgets, I’ve gone into a little detail about each below. I thought the Ninja Creami ice cream maker would be the big hit, but the hosts (and everyone backstage) were surprisingly smitten with the light-up grill tools. My takeaway: You can almost never go wrong sticking a flashlight on something.


Especially during summer trips, everyone should bring a backup power bank along. There are thousands of choices, and frankly they’re mostly all fine. I happen to like this ambitious model that has a solar panel, wireless charging for phones, a flashlight and, most importantly, built-in USB-C, Lightning and Micro-USB cables.


I’ve tried old-fashioned ice cream makers, the kind with the big metal bowl you have to freeze beforehand and clean out after. It’s a pretty time-consuming process. The Ninja Creami flips the concept on its head — you mix your ingredients in little pint-size plastic containers, freeze those overnight (the Creami comes with three pint containers, extras are about $10), then the machine mixes up really excellent ice cream in 90 seconds. I was dubious, but now I’m a believer.

Read our full review of the Ninja Creami here.


This little box beams IR commands to your window unit AC, allowing you to control it via an app. That’s pretty basic, but I like that the Sensibo app can also set up schedules and target temperatures, plus geofencing to turn the AC off and on depending on if you’re in the house or not. For those of us living in apartments with window AC units, it’s a pretty clever upgrade. (Note that you need the AC’s remote to set it up. I couldn’t find mine, so I ordered this $8 knockoff from Amazon that worked fine.)

Read more about the Sensibo Sky here.


We didn’t get to this during the TV segment (but you can see it on the table). Still, my CNET Home colleagues highly recommended the new Ecobee as the smart thermostat to beat, especially because it has an air quality sensor, and it uses radar to detect human activity, instead of old-fashioned IR.

Read more about the Ecobee Smart Thermostat here.


Listen, you don’t actually need a smart thermometer for outdoor grilling. But, it’s kinda fun, and the companion app for this wireless unit offers easy color-coded warning lights — from green to yellow to orange to red — telling you when to take something off the grill.


The surprise hit of this TV segment, and frankly a pretty useful idea. I used to have a tiny patio behind my

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Gadgets Were Hot. Now They’re Not.

A lot of companies have been caught off guard by changes in our spending choices this year. Americans eager to travel and party after two years of staying largely at home are gorging on plane tickets and fancier clothes — and ignoring the patio furniture and soft pants that we splurged on in 2020.

Consumer electronics may be the flaming center of Americans’ flip-flopping shopping habits. Gadget buying has suddenly switched from hot to not, a change that will most likely bring pain and confusion for many companies — and potentially some great deals for people who still want to buy electronics.

In the early months of the pandemic, many of us were so eager to buy internet routers, laptops, video game consoles and other tech gear to keep us productive and cozy from home that some products were impossible to find. However, experts cautioned that people would definitely pull back on buying some types of gadgets until they needed them again.

The magnitude of change after two flush years of gadget purchases has surprised many people. From January through May, electronics and appliance stores make up the only retail category for which sales fell compared with the same five months of 2021, the Commerce Department disclosed last week. Best Buy said last month that purchases at its stores dropped across the board, especially for computers and home entertainment, and are likely to stay meh. And the research firm IDC expects global smartphone sales to decline this year, most sharply in China.

What’s bad for electronics manufacturers and stores could be good for us, but value hunters will need to be careful. Nathan Burrow, who writes about shopping deals for Wirecutter, the product recommendation service from The New York Times, told me that prices for some electronics are already being discounted. But a sale when inflation is at a 40-year high in the US may not always be a good deal. A discounted product might still cost more than similar models a few years ago, Burrow said.

The whipsaw in shopping habits has led Walmart, Target, Gap and some other retail chains to be stuck with too much of the wrong kinds of products. That’s true about some types of electronics, too, which means that more price chopping is likely during summer shopping “holidays” from Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Walmart.

Burrow predicts significant price breaks are coming for tablets, internet networking equipment, Amazon devices and some laptops including Chromebooks.

The research firm NPD Group said this year that consumer electronic sales would most likely decline in 2022 and again in 2023 and 2024 — but two previous bonkers years of electronics sales would still leave overall sales higher than they were in 2019. Despite the overall higher sales , this phenomenon of electronics sales unexpectedly going through the roof and then suddenly sinking is disorienting for gadget makers and sellers.

“It’s the unpredictability that makes everything worse,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC.

Making long-term predictions is

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Technology News

Big Tech must deal with disinformation or face fines, says EU

Expected to come into force in 2024, the DSA will apply to all online services that operate in the EU, but with particular focus on what it calls Vlops (very large online platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube) and Vloses (very large online search engines, such as Google) – defined as services that have more than 45m users in the EU.

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