Monday, June 18, 2012
I enjoy cooking. I also like equipment. Our closets are stuffed not only with sporting equipment and fishing gear of all sorts, but also fat fryers, highly specialized pots and pans, and zillions of tongs, wooden spoons, and spatulas. All are used, but some quite rarely. The other day I ogled a mandolin (a device for precisely slicing vegetables) at a specialty cooking store in Burlington. I have long coveted one. While I could almost justify purchasing it (who doesn’t want perfectly sliced potatoes), I wondered just how much I would use it.
According to an article in The New York Times (Dining: March 21, 2012), people often buy specialty kitchen products only to have them languish in cupboards unused and mostly forgotten. Purchased with great enthusiasm, cooks too often find out that the purchase does not make cooking easier or better. Realistically, not many home cooks need a pasta dryer. Still, the siren call can be almost irresistible. Cooks strolling through food and kitchen supply emporiums can find it hard to resist the attractively displayed bright, shiny, high quality equipment, each accompanied by a description of mouthwatering delicacies that will inexorably follow. If traveling, it can be hard to resist purchasing an item used to make a food special to the area. Last year, after a trip to Switzerland, a friend of mine bought a beautiful device for making raclette (a dish in which cheese is melted over small pieces of meat or vegetables). While the dinner he made during my recent visit was terrific, our dinner together was the first time he used the device.
While I have made some excellent purchases, I am still a bit sick over the heavy ribbed cast iron double griddle I recently purchased to sear steaks during the winter. The steaks did have nice grill marks, but did not taste better and the griddle was next to impossible to clean. It has not been used again. So, while I ogled the mandolin, I eventually resisted the temptation to purchase it. I informed the helpful sales clerk that I have sliced potatoes with a knife for a long time and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (or until the next shiny mandolin catches my eye).
Noted by WVR, MD
*This filler excerpt can be found in the June 2012 Pediatrics print journal p. 1090, or via online here.
Posted by Dr. Lewis R. First at 12:01 AM