Even though I don't own a crank handle sifter anymore, I have always loved sifting flour through one. Ever since I was a little kid I've loved using a sifter — the cranking motion, and sffft-sffft-sffft sound as the flour is pushed through the mesh screen, they were irresistibly satisfying.
Another tool that is loads of fun is the Chef'n VeggiChop. Some cooks look down their noses at little choppers like these, but that's fine. I'll keep my VeggiChop all to myself! Seriously, the VeggiChop is so great for extra-quick chopping. It doesn't pulverize nuts like my food processor, and it's fabulous for pie dough and biscuits since, again, it doesn't immediately pulverize the butter into sand-sized specks. But beyond all that, it's just fun to use! It's like an old-fashioned pull toy, and you get a good shoulder workout when chopping something.
And finally, I adore my Benriner mandoline. There's something so fun and satisfying about slicing vegetables on it.
I honestly believe that play is an important element of cooking. Why not have some fun in the kitchen? Yes, we can all get along with a knife, a cutting board, and one cast iron skillet, and you know that we here at The Kitchn are big fans of keeping it simple. But the kitchen is also a place for play and enjoyment, and you should use tools that give you at least some pleasure.
A grim focus on total minimalism and utilitarianism is a little too Puritan for my tastes. Could I chop every tomato for my salsa by hand? Sure! Do some people think that the VeggiChop is a total waste of space? Yes. I would argue that it has significant functional merit (at least in my kitchen) but other than that, it's just fun to use, and I am willing to make space for one or two gadgets like that in my kitchen.
Chef'n says that their top-selling gadget (by far) is their hilarious Garlic Zoom Chopper. Is it silly? Yes. Is it unnecessary? Of course. But it also appeals to a sense of play and fun in the kitchen, and for some cooks, that is irresistible. Even though I don't own a Garlic Zoom, and probably never will, I can't entirely condemn the sense of play that produced it.
My kitchen is small, and my storage is limited, so I try to keep things to the basics. But, for me, at least a few of those basics are things that are truly fun to use! Hopefully they are all at a good intersection of fun and functionality.
Do you have some tools that are just plain fun? What are they?