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opting out of junk mail, and kitchen geekery

jcobleigh and I recently found out how to really actually truly verily permanently avoid getting credit card companies' unsolicited firm offers of credit.


We pass this on, as a public service...

Unfortunately, this doesn't enable you to avoid any of the credit card companies' unsolicited non-firm offers of credit (i.e., the ones that require you to fill out an application first).

But at least you can start somewhere.

In other news, America's Test Kitchen rocks, especially Adam in the Equipment Corner. I love how totally geeked out you can get on kitchen gadgets. Adam and his crew come up with ingenious ways to stress-test gadgets. jcobleigh especially loves this part and I'd say that about 30% of the time after watching the Equipment Corner, we decide that we just have to go out and buy the best gadget in the class under investigation. Especially if we've been silently experiencing pain/frustration with the current instance of that gadget in our kitchen. We look at each other and say, "Of course we need to get the pastry brush with the silicon core and the bristles that have holes in the center that maximize the amount of retained sauce by using surface tension to great advantage! Plus, it actually can be cleaned completely, rather than slowly accumulating stain and oil in the bristle roots and, because it's Oxo Good Grips, it has an ergonomic handle!" Etc.

They also inspired me to start using tongs on all sorts of things, which solved a number of my kitchen problems because I have trouble using spatulas reliably. Things slip off the sides or don't go where I want them to. Now, I flip the chicken without making a mess. (Or at least, without making as much of a mess. :)


I can never watch this show. You've been in the kitchen of Geek Valley 5.0; you know there is not room for one more piece of equipment even if it DOES replace an old piece of equipment.

Spring-loaded SOLID tongs (with added gummy bands as needed) have solved enough problems in my kitchen that three pairs -- two long and one short -- grace my overcrowded gadget drawer. The kind that's basically a bent pipe at the end, so that the centre is a gigantic hole, has been consigned to Goodwill.

The only time tongs are bad for flipping things is when a) the object to be flipped is fish, or b) the object in question would be aesthetically marred by the tongs (for example, cheese-topped meat). For the latter I use chopsticks -- living here has caused me to become a master of the chopstickial arts -- and for the former, if I have spatula trouble, I slide the food out onto a plate, invert onto another plate, and slide it back into the pan. Yes, that means two dishes to wash, but I have a dishwasher so I don't feel so bad.

Things I have that are subpar: my blender is not all it could be and has trouble with anything thicker than cream soup; my coffee grinder is blade-style and just kind of OK, though it gets points for being older than I am; I have yet to find a food thermometre that (a) is digital and instantaneous, (b) does both F and C (K is not required), (c) does not contain a long metallic wire that gets hopelessly kinked, thus rendering the probe unreliable, and (d) does not cost more than $100.

One of these days someone will make a food scale that is not ludicrously expensive, does tenths of a gram (yeast), but also does full grams up to 2.5 kg or so (the annual lussekatten challenge).

I want a manual pasta roller, but I don't have anywhere to anchor it except the dining room table and that's Not Okay... and mounting it on a permanent-yet-portable stand leads to storage issues, because, well, you've seen my kitchen.
Oh, and I want a three-burner grill, but not badly enough to actually do anything about it. I've learned to deal with the two-burner grill well enough to make do, because it's been so hot the last few weeks that everything from meat to corn to dessert has been baked, broiled or grilled on the gas grill outside so I don't heat up the already-hard-to-cope-with house.

Now that it's back down in the 80s I can face the idea of cooking indoors again -- we have had a lot of things like fish cooked "en papillote" (but Mexican style) and sauces that can be made outdoors like rajas con crema (which, when added to pan-fried fish -- yes, on the grill -- is astoundingly good).

I long for it to be cool enough for me to make a really proper ragu with rabbit and pork, cooked in milk (to protect it from the acid to follow) and then wine and tomatoes, and tossed with homemade tagliatelle or made into a really great lasagne dish with bechamel and pecorino. (On a tangential note, I once made a veal ragu and, as I was stirring the milk into the onions and veal, I realized that regardless of one's opinion of the Biblical basis of kashrut, there was no getting around the fact that this was seething a kid in its mother's milk -- the only way it could have been worse was actually to have cooked cabrito in goat's milk.)


I don't know what "ludicrously expensive" means, but My Weigh, who makes the scale I own, has one that does 0.1g up to 1200g for about $100 and 0.1g up to 2600g for about $130.