Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kitchen Gadgets I Could Live Without But Prefer Not To

In the Victorian times of my great grandmother and great aunt, households who could afford it had silver or silver plated cooking and dinner utensils that included such single-tasking items as a bone marrow extractor, pickle fork and pierced relish spoon, all done up in the fancy silver flowers and scrollwork of the times.

Today, although the materials are a more affordable stainless steel or even wood, single-tasking implements abound in kitchen stores and catalogues. Take these, for example: The long one with the larger bowl is an olive spoon, made to reach to the bottom of an olive jar without tipping the jar upside down and losing the precious juices.

The shorter, smaller one is a caper spoon, able to fit into the narrow opening of a caper jar. It's almost a perfect teaspoon measure, so if I take a heaping spoonful from the caper jar, letting the brine drain back into the jar, I can multi-task by extracting and measuring at the same time. Actually, when I think about it, both spoons are multi-taskers. I use the larger one for extracting caper berries as well as cocktail olives and the smaller one not only for capers, but for getting my green peppercorns out of their jar while leaving the brine behind. Until, of course, I get to the bottom half of the jar. Then I'll have to use the farther-reaching one.

Can I live without these gadgets? Of course I can. But then I'd have to press my spoon against the inside of the jar to drain off all the liquid before lifting out the contents. Or, worse yet, strain a whole jar of capers into a bowl, take what capers I need, then pour the brine back into the jar. I've actually done that (insert squiggly Cathy-face here). *Sigh* I'd rather have my spoons.


Mimi J. said...

A caper spoon is a great idea — I never knew they made 'em.

I bought a tomato scoop about a month ago - before it was featured on Becks & Posh. It's great

But really, what I cannot do without are good knives. They need not be costy. Just good.

Nerissa said...

Oooh... a caper spoon is a faboo idea! I HATE having to lose any caper juice when trying to retrieve a spoonful.

What I really need is a good chef's knife. I can't believe I've survived this long without one. I'll probably have to buy it myself because my family and the frog probably won't gift it to me. They are terrified that I'll cut off my fingers since I can be such an utter clutz.

christine said...

Mimi & Nerissa,
Yes, good knives are required items in a cook's kitchen. I have an old Henckels chef's knife that was my dad's that I couldn't do without - although it needs a good sharpening.

sher said...

I want oneof those too!! I have a jar of capers that need it desperately. :):) I'll add oit to my list of must haves.

Jann said...

I have neither of these tools....look what I have missed!

christine said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I want you to know that when I googled "caper spoon" nothing came up. But when I googled "olive spoon" the entire first page was devoted to them - sterling silver ones! I kid you not.