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Boomer’s Journal: Beat, mash, crush, pulverize

As I reached for my egg beater the other day it suddenly dawned on me. Most of my kitchen gadgets allow me to relieve any stress and/or aggression I might have, simply by preparing a meal. Seriously, just think about it. Our kitchen gadgets sound pretty dangerous.

When my husband asks me what I’m doing in the kitchen I can simply say I’m following old, traditional recipe directions that tell me to beat, mash, crush, chop, grind, grate, pressurize or pulverize whatever it is I am preparing for his next meal. Life sure is wonderful.

I’ll start with my egg beater at breakfast. Why have a picture-perfect poached egg when you can beat the living daylights out of one and make several of them scrambled instead. It’s much easier to serve to a crowd.

When it comes to potatoes I’m definitely mashing them.  After I’ve overcooked them because I forgot them boiling on the stove, I will use my old 1970s circa masher, add cream and top with butter or gravy. All of this, of course, after I have peeled the nutritious skin of the potato off, and washed the good stuff down the drain. What’s not healthy about that?

I’m going to cut up my onions into tiny pieces using a chopper. I’m going to either slice or grate my cheese. I’m going to grind my coffee beans.  I’ll use my mother-in-law’s old food mill to crush and press my cranberries or strawberries for juice or jam (not really, but it sounds good).

When I’m in a real hurry I‘ll use a pressure-cooker to speed up the time needed to cook meat for tenderizing. That of course, after I have pulverized and tenderized the meat by using a heavy, hammer-like meat mallet to pound it as hard as I can in order to break up the membrane that makes it tough. Yes, I’m having a good day in my kitchen, and I haven’t hurt anyone.

It’s all in fun that I look at my kitchen gadgets in this light. Bee Wilson wrote, in her book Consider the Fork: A History of Invention in the Kitchen, “The early experiments of our primitive ancestors cast a long and complex shadow over the meals we eat. As we kit out our kitchens with every conceivable culinary device, it’s salutary to be reminded that behind the shining chrome and plastic, the elemental components of human eating are still a pot, a fire and a knife.” She added, “Our kitchens are filled with ghosts. You may not see them but you could not cook as you do without their ingenuity: those potters who first enabled us to boil and stew; the pioneers of gas and electric ovens; the scale-makers; the inventors of egg-beaters and peelers.”

Remember that the next time you find yourself beating, mashing, crushing, chopping, grating and pulverizing in your kitchen. Bon appétit!

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