Friday, March 12, 2010

Slice me, Zest me

Cressida Campbell; Pumpkin and cleaver.

Kitchen gadgets are the work of the Devil sent to tempt and tease until you actually purchase one. Once you lapse you are doomed to a life of regret and frustration. Buy in haste and repent at leisure. Long may you regret  the money which could have been better spent. Oft will you struggle with the frustration of getting the thing to do any of the tasks of which  you had expected it might be capable.
No one who cooks is immune from the lure of the kitchen gadget. I currently lust after my friend's gorgeous, new, apple green Kitchen Aid  mixer which leers at me from her kitchen bench. However loyalty to my 'retro' Sunbeam Mixmaster - we have been making cakes together for 35 years give or take a month or two - makes this one temptation I can resist.

Gimmicks aside there are, as the Mixmaster proves, some kitchen gadgets  worth possessing. My current favourite is a newly aquired Microplane zester. Having struggled for years with a little gizmo which was both difficult to use and almost impossible to clean I am now happy to zest anything and everything. The Microplane is effortless, and very efficient due to the fact that it is incredibly sharp - I am not game to have anything smaller than a lemon between me and the cutting surface.
Another favourite is my Zyliss V-slicer. My desire to own a mandoline was the butt of some  predictable family jokes until they actually bought me one. I had envisaged something fairly basic but the Zyliss is the Rolls Royce of slicers and mine cuts both slices and juliennes (if that is a noun) of different thicknesses. At first I thought it was a bit of a contraption and felt intimidated not least of all because I could barely get the thing out of the cupboard without drawing blood  (perhaps I just have a fascination with sharpness). But with a bit of practise I am now much more confident and wouldn't use anything else for slicing eggplant and zucchini and especially potatoes for a gratin.
So the Mixmaster, the mandoline and the zester get used regularly because thay all do what they are supposed to do and are designed to be efficient and easy to use. What then of the other bits and pieces of equipment which fill the drawers and cupboards? Would throwing them away compound the sin of greed with the sin of wastefulness? Surely my hope that I may find a use for them one day counts as a saving grace?

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