The right tool for the right job

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016

Am I remodeling my kitchen? Am I making any major changes?

Nope! No new appliances, no leaking faucets, no lack of ice cubes in my icemaker.

All of my small appliances are working fine.

So why do my drawers look like my husband’s workshop? When I open the drawers I think, “What are these things doing in here?” But I need every one of them. If you have ever wrestled with a jar, a can, a bottle, or a sealed bag to get them open you know what I mean.

This is what I have to keep in the drawer that contains various knives of absolutely different sizes.  Even some of those don’t really look like they belong. The kind I mean that look like meat cleavers to butcher hogs. It’s used on its side to bash garlic bulb like Rachel Ray or to cut open boxes to get to the inside bag to cut it open with the scissors.

The scissors need to be extra heavy duty, not just some old school scissors. You need them because some bags that are supposed to open and reseal, never seem to work and you end up just cutting the bag open.

But included in that drawer is a pair of pliers. I need them to open bottles and to pull the little tabs that supposedly keep the food product sealed and pure.

Remember, that in early times food was sold from a barrel or a tub and sold wrapped in paper or in a brown grocery bags.

I also have a nutcracker in the drawer to open bottles for the same function. And I have a crowbar. Not really one of those black ugly ones like my husband’s, but a dressed up decorated one so that I can open the cans with pop-tops. I can do the pop all right but to pull it off I need the crowbar thingy.

One other thing I need I probably wouldn’t find in my husband’s drawer is a round rubber ring that I put around jars to open them.

In the early days kitchens had pots and pans and two major utensils: an all purpose wooden spoon used to stir a pot or smack a misbehaving kid, (maybe not hitting him but threatening him with it) and a rubber spatula to scrape the cake mix or cookie dough out of the bowl.

There was a ball of string, one all purpose knife, wax paper to wrap food in that required no special tools to open.  Cans used two kinds of tops. One kind that required a key that rolled around the edge.  A hand held tool with a corkscrew on one end and a sharp cutting edge on the other to cut the can open. No need for scissors or crowbars.

Today, when all my tools don’t work, I call for the big guns: my husband or my sons; or I just throw the whole thing out and vow to never buy that item again.

With all of these tools in the kitchen, we need to be careful.  They can be dangerous. But then aren’t all cooks in the kitchen? Just get in their way and you will find out in a hurry.


Jo-Ann Boepple works at the Edwardsburg Area History Museum.