April 28, 2005


I have two new kitchen toys: a small "ice cream" scoop with a bar-release, and a pasta fork.

Those of you who have heard me objecting to single-use items cluttering up the kitchen (knives, toaster and coffee-maker excluded on the grounds of sheer volume of usage) might be a little surprised, but I actually love gadgets. The magpie aspect of my personality likes things that are shiny, small, and nifty while the spartanist futilely rails about the lack of overall portability in my life.

It's not like I fall victim to as-seen-on-tv items like the perfect pancake or batter pro or butter dispenser products, and I don't think I own anything sold by Ron Popeil. I do have a hard time justifying single-use gadgets, though. I tend to think long and hard before adding something else to my kitchen hardware. Even the olive pitter, which I had on my Christmas wish list a couple of years ago, I felt silly about acquiring (although it's a sleek, beautifully crafted metallic device) and ended up justifying on the basis that it could pit not only olives, but also cherries. Two uses! To be fair, it's the same usage on different items, but that doesn't really matter, does it?

My rationale for the ice cream scoop was similar. All it does is scoop, really. But it can be used for ice cream, or cookie dough (ah, the memories of my first job in Vancouver, at Teddy Bear Donuts Cookie Factory!) or - as in the case of last Sunday - falafel. Totally justified! I've already used it for two of its potential uses.

The pasta fork was a little harder to grit my teeth and buy. It cost under three dollars, but it just looks ridiculous and I felt a little silly buying it. However, in the past few months I have been developing a master recipe for spicy soba, which are types of Japanese noodle that are susceptible to clagginess if drained in the classic colander method. Portioning the final dish, using forks, was a bit annoying, too. The pasta fork has solved this dilemma entirely. Works like a dream, actually. It may look a little silly, but I no longer find myself struggling with the noodles. As far as I know, this device only performs the one function. Can I give it points for being able to accommodate multiple types of noodle? Being useful to more than one cuisine?

Optimistic with my latest acquisitions, I have pinned a list to the fridge of all the gadgets that I am currently attempting to rationalize. I may need a bigger kitchen, if I succumb to them all.

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