Saturday, April 4, 2020

D is for Doohickey

You may call it a thingamabob or a whatchamacallit, and maybe it's regional, but in my family, if you can't remember what something is called, you call it a doohickey. 

The etymology of the word is vague, but according to the website Today I Found Out, it appeared in print for the first time in a 1914 edition of Our Navy magazine and referred to gadgets on ships that the sailors couldn't remember the name for. It spread to airmen by the 1920s and within a couple of decades, its use spread to the general population and has been used as a placeholder for any object one couldn't remember the name of. 

Following are three of my favorite doohickeys (doohickies? doohicki?) that I don't know what to call but couldn't live without, starting with the fizzy bottle cap doohickey.

Several years ago, I was looking for stocking stuffers in a local kitchen store when I stumbled upon this:

After pouring soda out of a 2-liter bottle into a glass, my husband would always squeeze the bottle before screwing the cap back on, saying it made the carbonation stay in the product better. I, of course, never did it and couldn't tell a difference. This little cap was supposed to do what my husband did and I refused to do to a soda bottle.

By golly, it worked! My husband was so thrilled with it that he looked on the interweb and found and bought a package through Amazon of a dozen for not a lot more than I paid for one cap at the fancy kitchen store (which was around $5.99). We use them all the time - even ME!  All you do is replace the original cap with this one after you first open the bottle and pour a drink, then once it's screwed on tightly, pump the button on top until the bottle fills with air and you can't pump it anymore. Next time you open the bottle, you get that perfect "Pffffffffffffttttt" sound of a fresh bottle of soda.

My husband, a belt-AND-suspenders kind of guy, thought maybe we should have a back-up supply of bottle cap doohickeys, so he went on Amazon a year or so ago to order more, aaaaaaand he couldn't find them anymore. Anywhere. When I searched for them for the purpose of this post, I found they are now available at Minty Paradise, where they are selling them for the low, low price of $11.97 EACH, discounted from $23.97. Yikes! Knowing what I know now, I probably WOULD buy one for $11.97, but it by damn better never break!

My second featured doohickey is this one:

I had a time looking it up, since I had no idea what to call it. It's a scraper, but if you look up kitchen scrapers, this is not what comes up. It's shaped like a piece of bread, but don't even bother adding that to your Google description, because it won't help a bit. I did finally find it listed on Amazon, but now that I need the link, I can't find it. It's made by Norpro, and I'm pretty sure you might be able to pick one up at kitchen stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, because my dad bought this one, and it was shortly after he discovered the wonders of Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought stuff from there all the time.

I use it to loosen dough that I have rolled out and also to clean dough off whatever surface I used to roll it out on. I use it to scrape baked-on food off of pans (think stuck cheese on a pizza pan, which is what I used it for last night). I use it to scrape food from the edges of pans when a spatula won't do the job. It's a wonderful little tool.

You need this scrapey doohickey. Go get one.

My final featured doohickey is this little piece of magic:

Years ago, at a Pampered Chef party, I was looking for the cheapest thing I could order and someone recommended this tool. One end is used to open 2-liter bottles (which you can then cap off with the fizzy bottle cap doohickey). There is a slit at the very tip of this end that you can use to slide under a pop tab and lift it up with out killing your fingernails. The opposite end is used to break the seal on jars the first time you unscrew one. It has a strong magnet on the back, so it can be stuck to the refrigerator, and I love it.

Here's the bad news: Pampered Chef discontinued them, but it is possible to find them on eBay.

Got any can't-live-without doohickeys at your house?


  1. I have used the word doohickey before to refer to something for which I couldn't remember the actual name. It's convenient to have a word for things you can't remember or for which you never knew the actual name. I can't think of any good examples although I like the ones you provided. That fizz keeper seems especially helpful. Weekends In Maine

  2. One womans doohicky is anothers thingamajig...I cant think of any right now...
    Cant believe you took on the A to impressed!

    1. I think I was crazy to sign up for it when I did, because had life remained normal, I don't know when I would have had time to write anything.