My Favorite Kitchen Gadget: A Can Opener

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing in kitchen stores - not because I like to cook but rather because I am in awe of minds that dream up all those funky gadgets that are on display. Sometimes I'm forced to ask a salesclerk the purpose of one contraption or another. Recently, I puzzled over radish presses, mushroom brushes, and lemon zesters--none of which have I owned or will ever own. Others, I know, have remodeled their kitchens in order to accommodate all the modern devices they've purchased.

As I recall, my bubbie had a very limited number of kitchen utensils. One knife did everything from cutting a chicken apart to peeling potatoes. I remember the long strands of homemade lochschen (noodles) she sliced into long strips and then draped over large bowls to dry. They were used in kugels or chicken broth made from honest-to-gosh real chickens.

One of her most frequently used utensils was a hand chopper with a single blade. I am positive that she would never have resorted to using an electric grinder or food processor even if they had been available back then. She seemed to enjoy standing in front of an enormous wooden bowl, chopping in a very rhythmic and determined manner. The heavenly results would be chopped liver, chopped herring, or gefilte fish that would put the Manishevitz folks to shame.

I know I could never be the cook Bubbie was. I could buy every kitchen gadget in the store and then probably end up with a jar of gefilte fish from Kroger's. The thing I do regret, however, is that my grandchildren will not have memories of a bubbie who knew her way around a kitchen. I suppose they'll just have to settle for one who's learning her way around a computer.

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