January 5, 2009
When it comes to fancy kitchen tools I’ve always been very superior. Blini pans and nutmeg graters seemed simply more clutter to fill up cupboards already jam-packed with pans, wooden spoons, a select but not excessive range of sharp knives, a hand-held blender. I knew I needed a sieve, but that was a basic, must-have item, not show-off luxury goods.
I’ve always enjoyed the ingenuity involved in making do. The old vodka bottle instead of a rolling pin; a plastic Christmas pudding container in a pan of water for melting chocolate; a colander on top of a saucepan instead of a proper steamer.
Likewise with the latest gadgets and hi-tech toys. Down-loaded ring-tones, phones that wake you up with a cup of tea and a kiss, really who needs them? I admit I do like new books, but I’m equally happy with used ones ferreted out from a second-hand bookshop on Charing Cross Road. I like the way they smell of the past, and that little puff of dust they exhale when you close them shut.
I like things with history. I like clothes from vintage shops in Camden. I like old jeans with patches and crew-neck sweaters that are darned at the elbows.
And I’m not the only one. There is precedent. A friend told me she’d seen our new mayor, Boris Johnson himself, at a Saturday morning school football match; their sons play on the same team, I think. She said Boris wore the clothes of the aristocracy; that is, shapeless jumpers, shirts with frayed collars, cords much washed and faded, patched jackets…
I sympathise. My wardrobe, like my book shelves and kitchen cupboards, is full of things too much loved to be thrown out.
So it was quite a surprise for me when I received this for Christmas and noticed my reaction; a pronounced interior skip. Small but absolutely definitely there, kind of a happy second cousin to butterflies in the stomach.
In case you don’t know what it is – and I know it does look frighteningly medical – it’s a pastry brush. Or a basting and brushing brush, to be exact That’s einfetten und pinseln in German, apparently. Now doesn’t that sound super-efficient?
‘Easy to use. Includes measuring cup for mixing your own recipe sauces.’ Etc etc.
So is the the first step on the way to conspicuous consumerism? Am I going to fall by the wayside into a slough of the very latest food processors and waffle irons? Have I lost sight of the New Thrift, just when it’s becoming trendy?
Well the short answer is no, for there’s always my limited bank balance to consider. But you will be seeing this brush again, so make friends with it, as I have.
Oh, and I’m setting up a new pay-pal account. Any donations to my blini pan fund gratefully received. All major credit cards accepted.