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Fat Guy

Kitchen items you'll never be able to replace

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There are a few invaluable (to me) things in my kitchen I fear I'll never be able to replace once they give out. I'll be able to get something like them, but probably not the exact same thing. For example:

- There's a small rice scoop that came with a Zojirushi rice cooker I got something like 13 years ago. Rice scoop is the technical term but it's really a little ladle. Its shape and size are just so great for serving everything from soup to tomato sauce to, as intended, rice. The angle of its bowl, the nape of its neck -- I've looked for another one for years but never found the exact same thing. This one came very close to meeting its maker a few months ago. I left its bowl kind of suspended on the surface of a pot of very hot tomato sauce, and it scorched a blemish into the bottom. Luckily it didn't burn through, so the usefulness of the utensil was not compromised.

- There's a hard, thin plastic spatula that came with a Bosch food processor I bought maybe 15 years ago. The food processor is no longer with us, but the spatula is. It's the ultimate scraper for a food-processor bowl, and it's stiff enough to cut brownies -- but without damaging the nonstick baking pan.

- I got some cheap, crummy plastic-handled utility knives at Zabar's about 16 years ago. They cost a couple of dollars each. I don't know why I think they're so great. By all gourmet standards of knives they suck. But I love them. They're true utility knives. I can use one for just about anything. If I'm just tossing together a quick salad, or slicing just a few mushrooms, or whatever, I use one of these cheap knives and throw it in the dishwasher. I've never been able to find the exact same shape and style of knife, and some day mine will all be gone (I think I have three left).

My beauties:

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I hope I never have to replace my Vitamix. It scared me today, but the overload limiter worked as it was supposed to. It's almost as integral to my kitchen as the stove is. Sad? Probably.

However, my go to item is a large stainless steel bowl that we picked up at Ikea a few years ago. It's perfect for chilling things in, making salads, finishing soups, whisking cream, eggs. It's perfect for a small family but also useful when we do big dinners with lots of people. We've seen similar ones, but not that exact size and shape.


Edited by tlm5150 (log)

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A broad-handled fork, with fairly widely spaced tines, 4 of them, that I believe was part of a WWII mess kit. It has US Army stamped in the handle. Not much larger than a typical dinner fork, it's perfect for mashing softened butter with herbs and garlic for spreading on bread or poultry, or mixing butter with flour for a beurre blanc. I also use it for scrambling eggs. I have no idea where it came from, it was in my mother's kitchen forever. I would assume it was from my father's military service.

Like you, the spatula/scraper that came with my food processer, but mine was with my Cuisinart. My Cuisinart still lives, but I rarely use the scraper with it, usually I use a really narrow silicone spatula. The Cuisinart scraper gets used for packing butter into my butter bell, scraping bread dough out of the KA bowl, anything that needs a sturdy scrape.

One I've already lost and am still mourning is a kitchen timer that was small (maybe 2x4 inches) with a digital display, with a really strong magnet on the bottom and a little keyboard where you could punch the minutes/hours in directly, rather than repeatedly hitting the "minute" or "hour" key. I got it as a gift 10 million years ago from a now-defunct kitchen ware chain called Lechter's (lord, I miss Lechter's.........). It finally went belly-up about a year ago, and the closest I could come to it was an Oxo model that I hated. Just hated. Still looking for something that I won't want to run over repeatedly with my car............

But don't touch my US Army fork. Ever.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Pierogi, I've seen those US Army forks sold here on the street markets of Janghowon and in the Namdaemun market. I'll ask how much one would cost. I might get myself one.

One kitchen item I cannot replace or get is the coconut/cantaloupe grater?( not really a grater but a tool that can make long strands of young coconut or cantaloupe for summer drinks in the Philippines). My grandfather used to make them during the war (WWII). Now only a handful remain in my family, coveted by my aunts and mother and sometimes held as a threat of not being passed on as an inheritance should you lose their favour. I'll get my Dad to take a picture of one of them.


Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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My mother has the ultimate grapefruit spoon – small, silver, with a relatively long bowl and smooth, thin edges. A run-in with the garbage disposal twisted the bowl in just the right shape to remove halved grapefruit segments intact. The spoon is “handed”, so one must remove grapefruit segments in a particular direction (clockwise, if I recall) to take full advantage of the twisted bowl.

Truly irreplaceable. :rolleyes:

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- There's a small rice scoop that came with a Zojirushi rice cooker I got something like 13 years ago. Rice scoop is the technical term but it's really a little ladle.  but without damaging the nonstick baking pan.

I have what appears to be the same scooper/ladle that came with a bunch of auction stuff. It has Japanese characters and some numbers on the back of the handle. If yours ever bites the dust, please post and I will send you mine as we do not use it.

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The Acme Safety Grater I inherited from my mother. The use of the word "safety" is a cruel joke: the thing is made of some sort of razor wire, strung tennis-racket-wise over a rectangular metal frame. It cannot be used without bodily injury. But potatoes grated on it make the only possible latkes.

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I could never really or completely replace anything I have that I have either inherited seasoned or seasoned myself be it a cutting board, skillet...pan or knife ..whatever ...if I have had it ...loved it and seasoned it ..it then becomes a living ..story filled and one of a kind item ..I think anyway ...these are the things I love to see when I visit someones kitchen..the seasoned stuff! ...even folks that are not big into cooking will usually have one piece of something well seasoned ..maybe a waffle iron ...

they may not be a one of a kind item but they become one of a kind ...hope this counts in this thread?


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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My list is far too numerous to state them all, but here are a few "essentials" that come immediately to hand.

gallery_17399_60_251431.jpg

The wine glass is present because it belonged to my grandmother and many of her "receipts" call for

"a wineglass full or a wineglass half-full of ????"

This is the wineglass she used. (Daum crystal, ca. 1915)

I supposed I could convert all the recipes to a regular measure. Glass full equals 3.5 ounces and half-full (there is a scratch on the side at this level, made with her diamond ring) is slightly less than 1.5 ounces.

However, I use it mostly because it connects me to my grandmother and through her to my ancestors.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Does it say "PI-2205"?

Ding, ding, ding- we have a match!

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This is the greatest day of my life.

PM me with contact info and I'll send it right out. I am worried about you being able to sleep at night. Long live e-Gullet!

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The Acme Safety Grater I inherited from my mother. The use of the word "safety" is a cruel joke: the thing is made of some sort of razor wire, strung tennis-racket-wise over a rectangular metal frame. It cannot be used without bodily injury. But potatoes grated on it make the only possible latkes.

The Acme Medieval Torture Grater is sort of a cult classic in latke-making homes. They show up on eBay and elsewhere with regularity. You'll be able to replace yours, for a price.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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gallery_7869_302_571062.jpg

Recently I decided it was time to replace my wire salad spinner because I was tired of sitting there refastening the triangular pieces fastened to the rim of the basket, and if you don't refasten them correctly the basket doesn't close properly.

After extensive searching of the internet, and even a trip to the local Walmart (and I hate going to big box stores) I finally located one of these on a website selling "antique" kitchen equipment. It even had the red rubber covers on the handles/feet. But, it was badly rusted, and worse yet, they wanted $55.00 for it.So I went down to the hardware store, bought a cheap pair of needle nosed pliers, gave them a good washing and drying and put them in, my small kitchen utensil drawer along with a nice new spanking clean phillips #2 screwdriver ( I don't like using toolbox tools on kitchen items, if you saw my toolbox, you'd know why).


"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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I have a Cuisinart PrepBoard Cutting Surface that I picked up somewhere - garage sale? charity store? can't remember. It is now so much the worse for wear that I would be afraid to bring it out in public but I keep hanging on to it because though it is useless as a chopping board, it has just enough of a lip on it that it's great for carving small roasts so that the juices stay on the board. Have never seen another one.

Most of the things I will never be able to replace aren't priceless antiques or heirlooms but things picked up at sales that are no longer manufactured.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I googled "ACME Safety Grater" just to see what one looked like, and it turns out we own one. Except I thought it was a pot strainer. You're seriously expected to GRATE with this thing? Really?

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My "can't replace it" item seems to be a little grapefruit knife I inherited from my mother. It probably came from Woolworth's. She used it to slice tomatoes without bruising their skins. I've found its thin serrated blade great for slicing freshly baked bread! (The tip also makes a dandy substitute for a philips screwdriver when I need to tighten the handle on my refrigerator.)

It has a yellow plastic handle (shades of the '60s?) with indentations for fingers and says Imperial Stainless on the blade. I've seen other grapefruit knives on eBay, but they have straight wood handles. :-(


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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One of the best tools ever from kitchens past was a triple-bladed mezzaluna knife. You could make serious work out of a lot of parsley in a short amount of time. This thing was older than dirt and I've not been able to find another one.

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gallery_7869_302_571062.jpg

Recently I decided it was time to replace my wire salad spinner because I was tired of sitting there refastening the triangular pieces fastened to the rim of the basket, and if you don't refasten them correctly the basket doesn't close properly.

After extensive searching of the internet, and even a trip to the local Walmart (and I hate going to big box stores) I finally located one of these on a website selling "antique" kitchen equipment.  It even had the red rubber covers on the handles/feet. But, it was badly rusted, and worse yet, they wanted $55.00 for it.So I went down to the hardware store, bought a cheap pair of needle nosed pliers, gave them a good washing and drying and put them in, my small kitchen utensil drawer along with a nice new spanking clean phillips #2 screwdriver ( I don't like using toolbox tools on kitchen items, if you saw my toolbox, you'd know why).

I can send you one, PM me if you would like.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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- The wok I've had for 15 years - even though one of the handles broke I can't bear to replace it. It's so wonderfully seasoned now that it's practically non-stick.

- The plastic rice paddle that came with one of my rice cookers. I know I can get bamboo or other plastic ones, but I don't know if I can get one that's exactly like this without paying for another rice cooker. I use it as my all-purpose spatula for everything. I mix batter with it, I stir soup with it, I scoop food into Tupperware with it. I use it far more than I use any regular spatula or whisk.

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I have a Krups Speedy Pro, a small processor/chopper that holds 2 cups. The plastic thingy that locks the top in place broke and I looked all over to replace this thing and found they no longer make this model or its replacement parts. I went on a mad search for something like it and couldn't find anything that was the right size! I finally discovered that if I poke a turkey lacing pin in the right place, I can get it to spin. I've been doing this for 2 years now! This thing really is irreplaceable.

My Mom's perfectly seasoned waffle iron that I inherited when she retired to Florida can't be replaced either. Also, my mother-in-law gave me an old but very useful spatula metal, very thin and a bit flexible. Great for slipping under and flipping or removing tricky, delicate things. I'd have no idea where to get another one.

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- The wok I've had for 15 years - even though one of the handles broke I can't bear to replace it. It's so wonderfully seasoned now that it's practically non-stick.

- The plastic rice paddle that came with one of my rice cookers. I know I can get bamboo or other plastic ones, but I don't know if I can get one that's exactly like this without paying for another rice cooker. I use it as my all-purpose spatula for everything. I mix batter with it, I stir soup with it, I scoop food into Tupperware with it. I use it far more than I use any regular spatula or whisk.

Do you have a photo of your rice paddle? I have several, having purchased several rice cookers over the years.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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We have an old manual cookie press, it must be from the 1950's. It is the only cookie press that will make our family's spritz cookie recipe. We've tried several pump action cookie press guns and they make cookies that are way too large and do not cook correctly.

The cookie press broke last year and we were lucky enough to find the same cookie press on ebay, it had never been opened or used. I've been considering buying several more to use as spare parts.

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