Friday, July 08, 2005

Tools and toys

While many chefs are exploring new toys for the kitchen like centrifuges, vac pac machines, water baths, I am begining to enjoy toys that kitchens have been using for years. Toys like kitchen aid mixers and roubot coups were vacant from the last kitchen i worked in. We did every thing by hand, being instructed to "feel" everything we worked with, to put your self into the food. So I learned to manipulate things without the aid of kitchen appliances. Just me, and a whisk.

While it was a valuable lesson to learn to lean on your own elbow grease, I am now learning the value of machine assistance.

The robot coup has been my best friend lately. It chops nuts better than I can and in about 1/20th of the time. And for my short doughs, it works the dough before the butter has a chance to soften giving me doughs that are amazing to work with. When short dough is made by hand the butter has to be brought to a workable temperature. When the dough comes together it doesnt hold together as well, is fragile, not as tender when baked, and simply, a pain in the freekin ass.

The kitchen aid may never replace a bowl and whisk for making a simple whipped cream for me. But for making a cake, it is hard to beat. Not only does it do the job in half the time, but it frees my hands up for multi tasking. And kitchen work is all about multi tasking.

Not all this may seem a bit naive. I am sure I have just elated over things that every house wife and culinary student consider the basics. So why is a professional exclaiming joy for something so ellementary? I guess I stumbled onto this late in life, but will never take these toys for granted.

I know the ballance between man and machine.


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