I need a degree in physics to work in my kitchen


Has my kitchen overtaken scuba diving or GoPro as the haven of gadgets…many of which are meant to save time and patently don’t?

Let me start by contradicting myself in saying the oldest gadget I possess is a pressure cooker. This indeed is a miracle machine capable of making mashed potatoes in six minutes and Osso Buco in under an hour instead of five. However, recently just as slowly and surely as the pressure valve drops from maximum to minimum when you let it cool, my own love affair is no longer hot and steamy. It is dropping off. But it makes no sense.

The blame for this is Sous vide cooking. Essentially sealing food in a vacuum packed plastic bag and plonking it into a bowl of water. What looks like a giant hand whisk standing in the bowl raises water to a very specific temperature and keeps it there. In theory you can never again overcook anything but you can cook something for three days to improve taste and tenderness. For me, it works. Especially on tough cuts of meat like brisket and tip, ribs or even Osso Buco. These can take between two to four days. But even a roast chicken at eight hours is fabulous.

But now rather than half an hour before dinner wondering what to eat, I am pestering my wife at breakfast what she fancies for dinner the day after tomorrow. And there lies the rub. Hunger is a funny thing. You know what you want right now but never in a couple of days. Let alone when crossing meal times. Breakfast with Rice Krispies is never a moment to contemplate whether you want Coq au vin or spag bog!

Like a Pavlovian dog, if someone mentions Chinese food just before I am due to eat, lights and switches go off inside me and not even pot of Beluga caviar followed by Wagyu beef in the Sous vide will deter me from some dim sum and Peking duck. Even if it’s crap!

Same with pizza. I can be sitting there gently watching my four day Oxtail  become a thing of epicurean wonder and ready to serve but my wife only has to say. “You know I actually fancy pizza and “the best laid plans of Mice and Men…etc, etc, etc.”

...and another thing

Jelly (jello to you Americans) moulds. Not difficult but time consuming. It takes at least four hours to set a jelly during which time I fret whether it will come out with the consistency of a flip flop if I added too much gelatine or like the gooey ectoplasm from Ghostbusters if too little.

I discovered a book of grown up jellies titled Jelly by Bompas and Parr. Now nearly all deserts need at least four hours to chill let alone forever to concoct. But could you resist Campari and Orange Jelly Bombe, Chartreuse and Peach, Black Cherry and Prosecco, Gin and Tonic, not to mention Sex on the Beach Jelly?

...and another thing

Here is a smorgasbord of other gadgets; electric corkscrew opener (slower than hand held one), electric pot stirrer (hopeless), spring onion splitter for Peking duck (split my fingers each time), butter knife peeler if butter hard (in this weather more of a problem it melting), and a cappuccino/espresso maker (Godsend).

Then I have an artillery of electric whisks that take longer to find and assemble than if I use a simple hand held balloon one. A sausage maker that makes me feel queasy as it fills the sausage skin, a burger shaper and stamper that cannot compare to tossing the meat between cupped hands, a rubber tube to peel garlic that just crushes it. Some contraption to circumcise my boiled egg rather than whacking it with spoon, a carrot sharpener (an oversized pencil sharpener) to give your carrots neat ends, a strawberry stem remover and a spiraliser. This skewer spirals apples and veggies and I regret I have not unpacked it yet!

At least I don’t have an electric swirling fork for pasta!

Hold the front page. Four days after I wrote this we got an air fryer. It’s a bloody miracle. Fast as hell, heathy and Simple Simon proof. Will this usurp Sous vide for my affections…?


Stay Safe.

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