Posts Tagged ‘garlic gadgets’

Garlic Gadgets: Cool Tools or Waste of Space?

February 3, 2010

So I need to come out. I am, indeed, a (gasp!) garlic press user. Not sure when this habit started or why I can’t kick it.

But, well, I used just last night. Okay, I know I’ve probably lost any pro chefs who have stumbled upon my posts. I’m probably losing some of you savvy home cooks too.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a gizmos gal. I don’t own a food processor, microwave, toaster oven, or other large kitchen appliance. In theory I’m down with the idea that all you really need to whip up a feed is a good knife, cutting board, and a pot.

And yet somehow I find myself reaching most nights for that unwieldy metal object that’s a pain to clean and takes up too much room in the drawer where I store the veggie peeler, can opener, and the like.

Who knew what a culinary faux pas I’ve been committing all these years? Or that so many people had such strong opinions about the usefulness, or lack thereof, of this kitchen aid.

I’ve had a crash course in the whole discourse around the garlic press, viewed by some as an unnecessary, ridiculous, pathetic, even heinous addition to any cook’s toolbox, in a recent story by food writer Felicity Cloake in The Guardian.

Cloake quotes a bunch of culinary big guns on the matter of mincing over pressing.  Anthony Bourdain, for one, doesn’t hide his disdain for the press. “I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic.”  Cloake’s conclusion? Crushing works well for salad dressing but for all other purposes…carry a big knife.

Judging by the loads of comments — 135 and counting — the Brits take their garlic mincing, chopping, or pressing very seriously. Many reveal their scorn for the offending implement.  Some admit to a preference for a grater, microplane, or mortar and pestle. A few brave souls speak out in favor of the humble garlic press.

One man even ‘fesses up to owning “the most effete garlic gadget imaginable…it’s a poncey little pipe of silicon rubber in a nursery shade of blue, its ends apparently trimmed with pinking shears.” Most of you real cooks won’t have a clue what he’s on about. Alas, I do, because I own one of these as well — at least mine is clear — and find it the handiest dandiest device. Here’s how it works: You pop whole cloves, skin and all, inside the tube, give it a roll and a press under the heel of your hand, and hey, presto, out pop perfectly peeled cloves ready for pressing. I mean mincing.

So, dear readers, where do you stand on the great garlic debate? Do tell.

And do you have any other kitchen gadget lurking in a drawer that you’re actually ashamed of and only get out under the cover of darkness?

Just curious. Your secret is safe with me, no culinary judgments here.

Let’s face it, anyone who owns an egg slicer and a garlic press has no business sniffing at the kitchen tools favored by others.