Saturday, August 26, 2006

In Praise of Kitchen Tools

Before I started cooking a few years ago, I didn’t realize how many recipes called for citrus zest. What I did realize, soon after trying, was how frustrating it was to grate zest on my standard box grater. Yet, I did it for nearly four years – scraping my fingers, struggling to clean the grater, and ultimately capturing very little of the flavorful zest. But standing in Bed, Bath, and Beyond with a mom eager to buy me things, I knew exactly what I wanted – a Microplane grater. Since then, my cooking life has been transformed, and I don’t say that lightly. I now look forward to zesting. It is a pleasure to watch the thin threads of peel materialize effortlessly on the grater. Cleaning the tool requires only a quick rinse, and my dishes taste better – dare I say, zestier – than ever.

So what took me so long? It wasn’t that the Microplane was expensive, ditto the salad spinner and tongs – tongs! – I finally brought home. The answer is… I don’t know. Perhaps I’m still mentally stuck in a time when I have zero disposable income. Perhaps I feel like I have enough stuff and should be able to make due without more tools taking up room in my limited kitchen drawer space. Or perhaps I’m just lazy. But, after the resounding success of the Microplane grater, I resolve to be proactive, to quickly acquire the tools that will making cooking easier and my food tastier. Next on my list is an instant-read thermometer. No more turning sadly past beef, poultry, and pork recipes that require the handy implement. I am saying “yes!” to the instant read thermometer – the next tool to rock my kitchen world.

I’m sure I’ll pick it up soon.

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