I'm not sure what to think about the All-Clad Stainless Steel Flavor Infuser, which showed up in Williams-Sonoma's online fall catalog. fall On the one hand, genius: even if I have cheesecloth handy in my kitchen (a 50/50 proposition), I rarely have the patience to assemble and tie a proper bouquet garni. This gadget saves the trouble, letting you just drop your herbs into the 3-inch stainless steel mesh ball, latch it shut, and drop it in a soup or stew. The attached, 9-inch handle makes it easy to remove--not to mention lets you encourage infusion by stirring the herb sack through the broth.
On the other hand: $40. Despite my intense and sometimes irrational love for kitchen gadgets, I have to wonder whether the handle really adds much value to a mesh strainer that can be found elsewhere for one-tenth the price.
What say you, readers: Is this a genius invention or a waste of hard-earned money?