Monday, 15 August 2011

Culinary artistry


My loyal garlic press manufactured in Eastern Europe and given to me many 
years ago by dear friend and New York´s  Hippest Hostess Ellen Swandiak

There is a proverb " a poor workman blames his tool´s.Good workmanship doesnt depend on the quality of the tools but on the way in which they are used, so to blame the tools for bad workmanship is to attempt to excuse one’s own lack of skill.In former times, a blacksmith for instance would have made his own tools, so the act of blaming one’s tools would rebound on oneself.The wording of this proverb also has a double meaning, in that a workman will remain poor without improving his skills, regardless of the quality of his tools, and thus never be able to afford better tools.The moral of the story: There are poor tools, but if you blame the tool you aren't necessarily a poor workman. If you're a good workman, you won't accept a bad tool, you'll strive to find a better one
In all my 15 years of kitchen duties I´ve never mastered the art of the knife. After all these years I still suffer from knife envy when I watch the speed and skill with which chefs chop, slice, julienne and dice.I don´t envy chefs their ability to julienne peppers or mince fresh herbs- its what they can do with garlic that gets me. They can smash a clove with the side of a broad knife and chop it to a purée, pressing the sides of the blade over the garlic to mash it with the ease of a child spreading melted chocolate all over its face. The purée is perfect of course  but it only takes them seconds to produce it.If I practiced every day I might get the hang of it. Because most of us don´t have enough time to become expert garlic mashers, the god of kitchen equipment invented the garlic press.


The Darth Vader of my gadget drawer, another loyal and trusted companion
this one is of french origins.

It looks like a lemon squeezer with teeth, or a mini meat tenderizer fitted into a nutcrackers handles. Put a peeled or even unpeeled clove of garlic into the box and with the holes on the bottom, then bring down the flat side of the press, squeeze the handles and Hello, Ola garlic presto!!!! Tiny pieces of garlic, soft enough to mash with a fork come
oozing through the other side. Run a knife across the press, and garlic purée is all yours. It´s all very simple that is until you have to extract the stray bits of garlic that didn´t make it to the other side.That is what I am convinced made the garlic press, bad press. It was tedious getting out all that mashed up gunk, and if you didn´t do an impeccable job, you knew it the minute you opened granny´s gadget drawer the next time.
So, for those of you like me with less than perfect knife skills, you can get by with without anyone ever needing to know our limitations.Yes along the way the food fashionistas will have branded us with committing a food fashion faux-pas, but I don´t give a flying foccacia.Having already fooled the world with this magnificent implement, I can leave the kitchen without a soul knowing I have been working with one of nature´s most odorous ingredients.Who says you can´t fool all of the people all of the time.

4 comments:

  1. hahaha absolutely..give me a garlic press ANY day !

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  2. I actually like to use my double-bladed mezzaluna . . . but a friend has given me a rather peculiar gadget that looks a bit like a robot from 2001 A Space Oddyssey . . . you've given me an idea for a blog post!

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  3. I actually have the "Darth Vader" version of your garlic press, inherited from my mother, and never realized it was of french origins. Cleaning out the garlic fibers is annoying but I still do it when I want freshly crushed garlic.

    And, it's a very handy nut cracker. You can use the teeth part for this depending on the type of nut you're cracking but for walnuts, I use the garlic compartment and just press down til I hear the crack. :)

    I've been known to use the teeth portion to crack lobster and crab claws and legs. And, of course, the plunger part is a wonderful cherry pitter. And an olive pitter if you buy your olives that way. :) A real multi-purpose gadget.

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