This post kicks off our series by Deborah Baldwin on the wide world of kitchen gadgets—the necessary, the extraneous, and the utterly ridiculous. Even though slow food is about simple flavors and handmade dishes, every home cook enjoys a gentle assist sometimes. Some of the slow-tech tools we’ll explore in this series can deliver magnificent results.
I can’t think of a better place to launch the Slow Food Gadgeteer than here at Zabar’s, the New York food emporium, where I am standing among the vegetable peelers. Did you know that Zyliss makes one with a battery?
Zabar’s opened its overstuffed cookware department in the mid-1970s, at the height of the last competitive cooking craze and—never mind e-commerce—it’s still going strong.
The goods are one flight up, on the mezzanine level, which means you must shoulder your way past the brie and smoked fish and climb some stairs.
Every time I do this I’m reminded that half the fun of owning a gadget is the thrill of the chase. Will they or won’t they have the diminutive ice-cream scoop I so desperately need for making chocolate truffles?
Now some people will say that a wise chef relies more on her wits than on her batterie de cuisine. The food writer Michael Ruhlman has whittled his kitchen necessities down to about a dozen items, and that includes salt. Or as my husband, Irwin, likes to say, Give me a sharp knife, a cutting board and a cast-iron pan, and dinner is on its way.
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But even your Slow Food Gadgeteer has to draw the line somewhere. For example, I am not convinced we need the latest Thanksgiving Day trickster: a perforated pad with handles called the Sili Sling, which allows you to forgo the usual turkey fork-lift operation by hauling it out of the pan like an injured horse.
Or at least not right now.
Deborah Baldwin is a New York writer who does some of her best thinking in the kitchen.
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