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.