Justify my love

This store is in Montpelier, VT. It’s one of our favorites.

Every time The Kid and I are near any kitchen store, we always go in.  Once inside, we play a game.  The game is called “Find the most ridiculous uni-tasker”.

A uni-tasker is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a tool or gadget with only one function.

Here’s a partial list of some of the most absurd, harebrained gizmos of all time:

  • An avocado tool. It’s basically a thin flexible piece of metal with avocado green and yellow plastic accents.  A paring knife and a spoon will do the same thing.
  • Strawberry huller. Exactly what it says, and exactly what you can do with a paring knife or your thumbnail.
  • A banana slicer—‘nuff said.

So when I bring something new into my kitchen, it had better have many functions, or be the world’s greatest doer of whatever it does do.

It needs to justify its existence and my love.

Fine mesh strainer: Not only is this used to drain pasta, potatoes, and what have you, it also works well for washing fruits and veggies.  I also use it to drain canned beans, tuna, and cooked hamburger.

Another use is a sifter.  Put in your dry ingredients and gently shake or knock against the side of the bowl.  You can also use it to sift powdered sugar or cocoa onto a desert.

Kirkland stretch-tite: When I first starting hanging out in restaurant kitchens, I noticed, then coveted something; awesome, sticky, stretchy plastic wrap.  This isn’t your mother’s Saran wrap.  This stuff not only sticks to everything (even stainless steel), it stretches to give you a crazy tight seal.  I buy mine at Costco.  And I’ve seen many people there buying it for their restaurants.

For a sandwich that will taste just-made fresh hours after you make it, wrap it tightly in parchment paper and slice it.  Then cover the whole thing with stretch-tite, pulling it taut.

This professionally-wrapped sandwich leads me to my next well-justified product,

Parchment paper: I once ran out of parchment paper, and I almost had to shut down my kitchen.  I use this for a million and one things.  I bake cookies on it, and then just slide the entire piece of paper with cookies right onto my cooling rack.  I line cake pans with it.  I use it as a rising base for free-form bread, and pizza dough.  I sift flour onto it, and carry it right to the mixer with much more control.  I wrap ribs in parchment, then secure with butcher’s twine before wrapping again in foil.  This keeps in all the moisture for long, slow cooking.

The ribs bring me to my next versatile item,

Butcher twine: Use it to tie bacon onto a piece of filet mignon.  Secure any kind of rolled meats; rollatini, stuffed cabbage, or even tamales.  Tie together sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, or any woody herbs, and you’ve got a bouquet garni.

Unrimmed AirBake cookie sheets: Cookies are one of the least often things I do with these pans.  With no rim I use it as a giant spatula, to move foil boats filled with russet potatoes.  To slide pizza on and off the racks.  I lay a cooling rack on top, slide it into a warm oven, and this keep fried items hot and crispy.

So, go through each room, evaluate everything, and make it justify its place in your home.  The spouse and kids you should probably leave alone, lest they turn an appraising eye your way.

Thanks for your time.

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