I like gizmos. Gizmos and gadgets to be more specific. I’m not sure what the difference is between the two but I’m sure there must be a difference and it’s probably an important one. But I do know that I love them both.
Before I get to the one “gadget” that I am absolutely smitten with, I need to offer some context. As your read the following take a moment to consider – what is the one item that you have in your kitchen that many would think is a simple gadget that you simply couldn’t live without.
We also have less than 4 feet of workable counter space and very limited storage in our kitchen. We have a single drawer which stores a mess of these things – enough space to hide anything that you are precisely looking for while not allowing you room to expand by a single other item. It’s a bit like pandora’s box – once you open it you may never be able to close it.
Alas, all is not loss – we, indeed, have more room to store things. An old flour container (which, despite being pretty, never actually contained flour) efficiently robs us of a remaining square foot of counter space to store every long tool we can jam in it. We store two types of tools in this space:
- spoons and other long-handled instruments of precision cooking that we use once a day or more.
- spoons and other long-handled instruments of precision cooking that we use once a decade or less.
Life is, after all, about balance.
All cheekiness aside, there are many things I love about our kitchen. There’s a massive exposed brick wall, open concept which means our kitchen is also our living room, main room and living space. Preserving space is thin but it’s never lonely. It’s great to host a party in and our dog loves to run around. I’m just trying to illustrate that there is not a lot of room to waste and we have to be selective on what tools we add to our lives. There are many things I want to add long-term – for now I collect a lot of patience and selectively add (and subtract) items to our arsenal of cooking tools.
We have purged many items over the years. I can think of a few:
- many broken/ inferior meat thermometers
- spoons and spatulas – especially broken ones. I’m not sure how one breaks a spoon although I seem to (there was the unfortunate incident of dropping one in a running food processor of course)
- a juicer
- bad glasses replaced by worse glasses (they broke frequently) replaced by no glasses
- a tortilla press. I didn’t use it once in 3 years and I often wish I had it – though I likely wouldn’t use it.
- cookie cutters (note to self: I haven’t made cookies in 20 years, probably don’t need any for a while)
- many different versions of measuring cups, spoons and other such devices.
Most of all I got rid of things that we were given or added to the kitchen that we never used and I simply don’t remember.
All of this got me thinking: If there was one inanimate object in my kitchen that I had a little bit of a man-crush on, what would it be? When it comes to gadgets, I’ve loved and lost – certainly this experience must help me discover some sort of passion for some remaining item in our kitchen arsenal.
The process of elimination took nanoseconds. I am simply in love with my microplane.
It is deceptively easy to clean, super affordable and something I use almost every day. I find myself consistently surprised at its many uses:
- Cheese. It is the King, Queen, Prince, Princess and Emperor of grating cheese. Super fine shreds which melt softly as they are eaten and add massive flavor to every bite of a salad, dressing or more.
- Grating spices. Frozen ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and even garlic in a pinch.
- Bread crumbs – grating stale frozen bread
- Zesting. Way faster than a speeding train – or even a zester. The pieces are not as long as a hand zester (which we also have) but it makes amazingly fast work of citrus as we learned with more than 40 lemons and limes last weekend.
It’s like my BFF in the kitchen – always there when no other tool is while not burdening me with the guilt of not calling for days on end. I find myself surprised on how often I use it (almost daily) and can’t imagine life without it.
Any other guilty pleasures out there?