If I had a hammer… (Go on try to get that song out of your head today.) Actually I do have a hammer. This particular hammer is mine. I use it for my things. It is my kitchen hammer. Now on with the story.
In the past I have written about Fibber Drawers. But now I have moved on to another very important drawer. The kitchen utensil drawer. Not the knife, fork and spoon drawer, not that it doesn’t have its own story to tell about jumping over the moon and all. No, I mean the drawer that when it is pulled out and the object of your desire is untangled from its hidey hole, you need to place your hand on top of the rest of the items, kind of squiggle them around and then close the drawer while stuffing back in the odd spatula, whisk, or wooden spoon that has decided to stand up and try to escape the drawer before the drawer shuts. Yea, that drawer.
Used year ‘round this proud drawer holds near and dear to my heart everything I need to create wonderful culinary tidbits. And some not so wonderful. Cooking devices like the brush used to slather bar-b-que sauce on the chicken I served to friends that looked oh so yummy but when we cut into it–it bled. Learning then and there that chicken needs to be precooked a bit before that wonderful bar-b-qued crispness is formed on the grill. Or the spaghetti cooked to perfection using my spaghetti gathering utensil that looks like a dinosaur tail, (cute huh?) and served with crunchy garlic bread; then thrown out because a fly was found trapped inside a forkful of sauce encased pasta. Again, yea that drawer.
Nothing brings the cook out in me faster than a new, or old, found in a second hand or antique store, kitchen hand tool. And not many more things light my fuse faster than trying to get to the bottom of that kitchen gadget drawer to get to that one specific do-hickey. So before another holiday befalls me I have decided to shop that drawer, chop off and toss out any unneeded, unused, unappreciated, undesirable tools of the trade. So I begin…
Now keep in mind, if you are a man, this drawer to a woman is akin to your favorite tools in the top drawer of your tool box. The one with the best Craftsman socket set, 11-R vice Grips, Snap On wrenches and carpenters pencil with just the right amount of lead on the tip. But in the kitchen the oil is kept in a bottle that you can see thru, and paper towels replace oil covered rags. Oh and even though fire is used in both places, in the kitchen fire is not usually coming out of a pair of hoses with a brass handle screwed on to the end! But again I have skittered off the track…
I pull up a stool next to the drawer and begin by trying to get the thing open. This entails a few in and out pulls and pushes and a hand inside to get the spatula and fork doing some sort of dance out of the way to open the drawer. This just bolsters my resolve to lighten the load of the drawer. Crunches, scrapes and twangs later the mass is in front of me. I am ready to thin the herd.
Oh who am I kidding? There is no way I am going to throw out my mom’s old gravy stirrer. The one with the red wooden handle that looks like a hand with the tips of the fingers curved ever so slightly. The only reason I don’t use it is? I am left handed and she was right, it is a right handed tool. But when it gets clogged up in the drawer I figure it is just her telling me, “Add all the liquid at one time to that grave to avoid lumps; no matter what the cooks on the cooking channels say.” And that silly lime green dinosaur tail replica, aka my spaghetti gatherer? A gift from a good friend in Chicago. She taught me how to roast garlic. And even though that thing can grab and hold onto a whisk, the handmade shish-ka-bob skewers my husband made from gas welding rods and the nail pulling part of my hammer–all at the same time—well I just can’t pitch that either.
So instead of ending up with a tidy drawer of kitchen tools I end up with a drawer of memories and I jiggle them all back into place and close the drawer. I hope that you all have a drawer just like it in your kitchen.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.