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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

FRIDAY FOOD THING (kinda sorta)

Best timer. Ever.

GraLab Model 300 Darkroom Timer

Back in the early 70s — long before Recipe du Jour — Rich, Walt and I opened a custom photography lab, the Tidewater Picture Company, in Norfolk, Virginia. Remember darkrooms? They are nearly extinct now, having yielded, begrudgingly through the years, to digital photography and Photoshop.

One of the cool things about darkrooms is that the equipment used in them was built to last. Such is the case with the GraLab Model 300 darkroom timer. Set the minute hand with the push of a finger, flip off the lights, and a plutonium-green luminescence circled around and ’round, ticking off minutes in the pitch dark. Amazing construction. Flawless performance.

Unlike modern kitchen timers.

Cooper ATKINS FT24

Cooper ATKINS FT24 (heavy duty, 24-hour no-BS timer. 7-inches tall.

I have not had much luck with kitchen timers: they are not loud enough and they break way too easily; one tumble from a countertop and you will be stepping on tiny pieces of plastic and stainless steel springs for weeks.

Being somewhat hard of hearing, my television’s constant over-volume ruckus, my dishwasher churning at  stubborn food grungies, hell, even the inside-my-head crunching of popcorn, make  hearing a wimpy, wind-up kitchen timer impossible.

Last week, I finally got fed up enough to do something about my problem: I did my research, read reviews, eventually buying the Cooper ATKINS FT24 from Amazon for about $40. Powered by 4 macho “C” batteries, the FT24’s adjustable volume can announce an end time with enough force to cause an avalanche, a gentle purr, or no sound at all because the FT24 quietly flashes a red warning light if you want it to.

Mom used to call such great purchases “terminal” products, ones that will never break or cause problems and will outlive you by decades. The Cooper ATKINS FT24 timer appears to be a keeper.

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FRIDAY FOOD THING

Mortar & Pestle

“If you don’t have one,  y’oughta get one.”

Years ago, Rich took me to a kitchen gadget store, where I purchased a small ceramic mortar and pestle — a MUST have in any kitchen. I use mine for everything from grinding up sea salt to a fine powder (for such things as popcorn and roasted peanuts) to pulverizing caraway and mustard seed, peppercorns, and — rosemary, my number ONE all time favorite herb. With this in mind, I discovered something rather amazing the other day. . .

I was seasoning a steak. The mortar still had some ground up powered sea salt in it from the last time I had used it. What the heck? I threw in some stripped rosemary from my rosemary bush, and ground them both up together. The salt quickly absorbed the rosemary’s dampness. Afterwards, I licked my finger.

Wow, I thought. “Hey, what a great idea!”

I added more salt and rosemary, tossed in a few peppercorns, ground it up and filled a small empty spice jar with the great-smelling concoction.

Now that I have a nice mortar & pestle, I find I use it nearly every day. It has become an indispensable and attractive addition to my kitchen.

If you plan on getting one, I recommend spending a little extra and getting a really good one. Something that’s heavy and won’t slide around on your counter top.

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