Cooking Tools and Gadgets

Benefits of a Touchless Soap Dispenser and Faucet

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Benefits of a touchless or automatic kitchen soap dispenser and faucet.  If you have recently been to a newer restaurant, airport or hotel bathroom then you may have noticed that many places have touchless faucets and soap dispensers. They are pretty cool and sometimes fun to use, but what other benefits are there? 

Today we’ll focus on the kitchen since that is where I spend most of my time.  In fact, I have a touchless soap dispenser in my kitchen, read about my simplehuman soap dispenser sensor review.

Here are some of the clear benefits of having a touchless soap dispenser and faucet in the kitchen:

1. Messy Hands
There are often times when you’re in the kitchen and your hands get dirty. For example if you’re mixing dough, cutting meat, or removing shells from eggs. A touchless automatic sensor can be a big help. Now you will really be cleaning your hands rather than getting your faucet dirty.

2. Germs
I believe airports have sensor based faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towels mainly because it prevents the transmission of germs. An airport has thousands of travelers from around the world or country each day and the easiest way to transmit germs is through touch. And a kitchen faucet often has lots of germs on it so it’s only logical to have a sensor faucet to prevent transmission of germs in your house.

3. Easy to Use
This is a no brainer, stick your hand out and bam! you get soap. What a concept and super easy to use. I guess it might be more complicated during the initial set up but not by much.

4. Quicker Clean Up
The quick automatic sensors make your clean up much faster, even if it is only by a few seconds. But after using it for a while those seconds can add up.

5. Convenience
Do we really need automatic windows in our car? Probably not, so we definitely don’t need automatic soap dispensers and faucets but once you try it you may never go back. They are very convenient to use and you might miss it if it was gone.

6. Less Clean Up

What’s the point of washing your hands only to have to wash the faucet and soap dispenser after you use it. It seems counter intuitive and if you have paint or oil it may make the situation even worse. So skip the clean up clean up and just wash your hands.

7. Go Green and Save
I admit it, I am not great at turning off the water when I’m in the kitchen and my wife lets me know every time! So a touchless or automatic faucet is great for me, especially if my hands are full when washing dishes. It’ll probably save me 30% in water everytime.

8. Great for Kids
Kids love gadgets and anything that is new and cool make them want to use it more. So this may help them keep their hands clean!

So do you take a chance and do the benefits outweigh the negatives. One thing that I’m sure of is that over time the technology and design will improve and become more efficient and more reliable. It will only get better from here on out.

What do you think about touchless kitchen systems and are they a godsend or just more problems and things you have to fix at home? Leave you comments below.

How a touchless faucet should work:

Or sometimes it fails miserably:

Simplehuman Soap Dispenser Sensor Review

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Great things can come from new technology but sometimes they don’t work perfectly. In general I have doubts about our world being filled with complex electronics because I often find that simple well built devices work just as well and often last longer (old washing machines, letterpress, car engines). But don’t get me wrong I love my programmable thermostat, my iphone, satellite radio, and of course my computer in which I’m using to write this post.
In any case, I diverge. I wanted to talk about the simple human sensor pump soap dispenser and give a quick review. Touchless sensor based soap and faucets are nothing new, in fact they were patented in 1991. In the past few years there seems to have been a boom in touchless soap dispensers, probably because the patent ended. The most notable dispenser is probably the simplehuman sensor pump. They generally cost about $40 bucks but costco had a great deal for 2 at $50 I think? At first they work perfectly but after a few months one started to make a a louder motor noise than the other one. Then after a few more months the pump stopped all together. I replaced the batteries, switched it on and off but nothing fixed the problem, it was done. Luckily Simplehuman has one of the best customer service departments around. I contacted them via email and simply sent in the old soap dispenser. In a few days they sent me a newer model (refurbished) and it worked perfectly. Still didn’t know what the issue was but the problem was solved.
Unfortunately after a few more months the 2nd of the original sensor pumps had problems. This time the simple human light on the soap dispenser pump would flash and no soap would come out. Sometimes the soap would come out sporadically. I opened the battery department and noticed that one of the batteries had gone bad and started to leak, so I cleaned it up and replaced it with new batteries. (By the way, if you ever had a battery leak in a device’s battery compartment, then simply clean it with a q-tip and some water and baking soda. It’ll neutralize the leak and clean the contact points.) Then a month or so later the same problem occurred and I had to replace the batteries again and clean the contact points. So by now, I thought either the big box of Duracell batteries were bad or there was something else causing the problem. And what do you know, after another month the same thing happened again. This time I looked closely at the battery compartment and compared it to the new model Simplehuman had sent me. The battery compartment was raised slightly in the newer model and the seal for the batter compartment also seemed to be tighter. Simplehuman must have realized that the old battery compartment was being compromised with water, especially since the soap dispenser is right next to the faucet and dripping wet hands. So now I had two choices, I can go through the replacement process again or I can try to keep the soap dispenser dry. I took the easier option, keep the sensor pump dry. All I had to do was keep the dispenser slightly raised from the counter. A couple of toothpicks worked, some paper towels also worked, the options are endless but it was a simple solution to a poor design. So far so good, I’ll update the post as needed if the problem reoccurs.
In summary, I think that the product is great when working but if I had to replace batteries and deal with other problems frequently then I’d just go back to my $2 plastic bottle of soap. I was very close to going back to the old school soap pump, but the benefits of a touchless soap dispenser and faucet is still very enticing.
If you browse the internet, there are many positive and negative reviews about the pump. A lot of them complain about it not working correctly or not working at all. But I think the saving grace for simple human is their customer service and return policy. They are very customer oriented and I’m glad to see a company like that still focuses on the customers. But if too many touchless soap dispensers break then it may not be worth their time replacing all of them. Only time will tell.

And here’s one more cool picture for the road. I had a little bit of white hand soap left on the bottom and added a lot of clear hand soap and you can see the outcome. Pretty interesting, kinda like my old lava lamp. Next time you refill try a couple of different color soaps and see what you get. By the way it only lasted for a few days before mixing together.

Chinese Braising Spice Packet for Pork Belly

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Over the years there have been a lot of requests for the ingredients to our recipes and often people can find what they need in a local Chinese grocery store. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to everyone and sometimes you don’t live next to a Chinese market or don’t want to buy all the ingredients just to use once. This is a common problem among weekend warrior cooks and Asian Enticement has come up with a simple easy solution, the Chinese Spice Braising Packet.

Chinese Braising Spice Packet
The Chinese Braising Spice Packet combines all the spices that you need to make our famous Chinese Braised Pork Belly dish. The packet is an undyed natural reusable muslin drawstring bag that contains all the necessary dry ingredients for the perfect Chinese braise. All you have to do is place the spice packet into your braising liquid along with the other wet ingredients. Simmer for a couple of hours and then you’ll have a wonderfully delicious braised pork belly. You can also use the spice packet to braise many other meats such as chicken, lamb, and beef.

*Shipping is only available to

Contiguous US (lower 48 states)

Sold Out (sorry we are out of spice packets)

Special Offer: BOGO – $8 for two
If you buy one spice packet we’ll give you another one for free. So you can share it with a friend or simply save it for use in the future.
Try it today.

Shun Chef Knife Comparison and Review

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Let’s talk knives: Shun vs. Global vs. Henckels vs. JA Henckels International vs. Forschner

People often talk about pots and pans with me but never knives.  Maybe it’s a subject no body ever thinks of or it’s not interesting. But honestly it wasn’t until last year that I realized the importance of having a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s definitely one of those things where you don’t know what you’re missing until you try it.  Just like riding first class on an international flight, dining at a 3 star Michelin restaurant, watching the sunset on a beach, the birth of your son/daughter, attending a U2 concert, well you get the idea.  It was simply night and day after I used a good knife.  Makes me wonder how many people do not have a nice sharp knife.  So everyone go get a good knife if you don’t have one and if you do make sure you keep it sharp.


Prior to my purchase I had an inexpensive J.A. Henckels International Everedge Plus knife set, cost $50 on sale.

My fiance has a 20cm G-2 Global cook’s knife (aka 8″ chef knife) and a Global santoku knife.

My friend Linda has a J.A. Henckels Twin Pro set which includes an 8″ chef’s knife.

I’ll focus mainly on the chef’s knife as this is the most important knife in the kitchen and thus if you are going to buy one knife make sure you at least get a good chef’s knife.

Why I love my Shun

1. It’s sharp

2. The handle fits my hand perfectly

3. It’s well balanced and light

4. It’s beautiful