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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mrs. Scissorhands



Many chefs will tell you that in addition to a knife, the most useful kitchen tool is something you already have: your hand.

It’s hard to make money following this line of logic, however. So manufacturers have done the next best thing: sell you hundreds of gadgets you can use to enhance your hands’ functionality. There is no end to the variety of attachments you can buy for your hands. Before beautiful photography was applied to household items, it was simply enough to list them to make a housewife salivate. Now, glossy catalogues push their wares and our buttons by describing such things as luxury items.

For example:

Our heritage lemon reamer, hand-carved from sustainable tropical wood by artisans who have spent years developing their ancient craft, is the only juicer you’ll ever need. Designed to fit perfectly into your hand, it allows you to produce as little or as much juice as you want, effortlessly. As you slide the carefully beveled tip into the soft center of the sliced fruit, each wooden ripple pushes the ripe folds apart, so that all it takes is a gentle squeeze for each swollen sac to release its liquid, which then flows along the grooves to drip straight into a bowl placed underneath, or directly into the pan, if you prefer. Clean up is easy: simply rinse and rub with a touch of olive oil to preserve the wood’s condition and sheen, and store in its own velvet-lined drawstring bag.

The extensive list above names many items you might not find so easily today (bird's nest fryer), but curiously omits a juicer of any kind, which makes you wonder how on earth a housewife could squeeze oranges.

Probably with her bare hands.

How many of the illustrated gadgets can you name?

Cooking for Young Homemakers, Culinary Arts Institute, 1964

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