Right Tools for the Job

I don’t need much equipment to put out a good meal. Pots and pans, of course. Wooden spoons and a whisk. Bowls. A sharp knife and cutting board.

For one year we lived in a 12-by-24-feet cabin in New Hampshire, with no electricity or indoor plumbing. I drew water from a creek. I had a camp stove to feed a family of four, plus a dutch oven for baking, which was a metal box that fit over one of the two burners. I boiled water on the wood stove to wash the dishes. We ate simply but well enough.

Now I have a lot more equipment than that— plus electricity and indoor plumbing — but not as much as other cooks and certainly not like the ones I watch on TV.  The only electric appliance I have is a lemon juicer I got for free. I guess you could say I am a hands-on cook.

Recently I acquired two tools that have make my kitchen work easier. 
The first is a shrimp deveiner. It’s made of red plastic and looks more like a broken handle. I bought it at a fish store in Ann Arbor for a couple of bucks. Shrimp is an ingredient I like to use, especially for Mexican and Thai food. Living a thousand miles from the ocean it’s a reliable seafood. Certainly it is easy to remove the shrimp’s shell by hand. But I was wary of using a filet knife to remove the black vein, which is an intestinal tract, from two pounds of shrimp. 
How does it work? Surprisingly well. 
The other recent acquisition is a salad spinner. For years, I’ve dried freshly washed lettuce and other greens with toweling or a salad bag. Greens from the garden often need more intensive washing than store-bought. I ordered a salad spinner after seeing my friend, Janet, use hers. Voila. The power of centrifugal force does a much faster and better job.

Now I ponder how my life would change with a mixer or food processor.