Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Not the Which Report on kitchen equipment

How gratifying to receive a commission. Commenting on my post about pencil sharpeners, Lucy asked if my research team could investigate garlic crushers. I was delighted to comply but hadn't realised what an emotive subject this is. There was a hint that it might be in Plutarch's comment nominally also about pencil sharpeners.

My senior consultant (Guess who?) reacted noisily and definitively. "They're all rubbish. We've had several and none of them worked." By which she meant that anything calling itself a garlic crusher was to be avoided. However garlic can be crushed - by lateral thinking.

The perfect tool (on the right) is the Krups Type 203B which, oddly enough, is made in France. Garlic crushed in this very serious chopping mill stays crushed. But there are two disadvantages. Cleaning after use means sticking your finger into a cavity dominated by a sharp, twin-edged blade. Given its size it was also hideously expensive and was to some extent superseded by the food processor. My wife passed it on to me when I was going through my coffee-bean-grinding phase. I avoided damaging my finger-tips by cleaning it with a redundant pastry brush. Eventually I tired of its high-frequency shriek and I now use pre-ground coffee which I keep in the freezer.

Now, chez nous, garlic is crushed with the marble mortar and pestle. This is not only efficient but resonates with my wife's atavism and her aesthetics.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

The reason I asked was that I have had similar experiences to your chief technician: so many tools for this purpose have passed through my hands yet been unsatisfactory.

Plutarch is not the first I've heard to advocate the use of a large flat- bladed knife. Indeed, I do use this method, when the garlic is to be cooked out in a dish. However, when making garlic butter or mayonnaise, the pieces are simply too large and a finer crush is needed. The traditional galvanised, simple hinged kind with the incorporated olive/cherry stoner is pretty good, though the stuff oozes out rather messily round the sides. I am at present using one I think I bought at Lidl, which is supposed to render unnecessary the peeling of the clove. It has an inverse spikey bit that pushes the garlic out through the holes of the crusher, but then that part is difficult to clean without the use of a toothbrush, which item I don't keep around the sink, furthermore it has (quite unnecessary) rubber handgrips, which quickly come away leaving an uncomfortable rebate with pointy bits sticking out. Superglue has been applied by my domestic technician, but will only withstand so much washing, and superglue is not something I find works very well, or not without large wastage of the product and the inherent danger of sticking thumb and forefinger together...

So I think that crusher's days are numbered. We use a coffee grinder type thing like you show for spices, and if I am making a large quantity of onion, garlic and ginger paste, say, for a curry, I also use the goblet part of the Braun handblender, but then this ends up smelling of said alliums (I don't know if a Latin plural is necessary there or not, do Latin plurals work well?), which is not so nice.

There, I think my comment must be longer than your original post! I do like this blog very much, these intricate details fascinate me...