Space is at a premium in my kitchen and ideally I'd love everything to be put away, leaving the counters bare and available as workspace. Anyone who has seen my kitchen will tell you that I never quite achieve this goal. I do give it my best shot, though, limiting my gadget indulgences to items that will actually be used when I cook, like this garlic peeler. I try to use the real stuff as much as possible and know what a pain it is to peel. And despite the fact that my husband thinks garlic is one of the most alluring fragrances ever, I would prefer not to smell like it for days.*
Now, I can't honestly say that I don't want a lot of silly gadgets. I go into housewares departments and ooh over things like vegetable peelers shaped like monkeys and spatulas that look like little people with suction cup feet. (I have a deeply embedded sense of whimsy, okay?) I even have a small butane torch because I really like crème brûlée but mostly because, hey, it's a torch! With a little blue flame! Whoo!
Anyway, I'll fondle a gadget in the store, imagining the wonders of its uses and how it will revolutionize my culinary skills, and then put it back on the shelf saying, "Oh no. I couldn't - I don't really need that." I pine for a while and then forget about it - until it shows up in my Christmas stocking like this fun little item...
It's a milk frother! It makes mounds of froth out of fat free milk to pretty up your coffee or put on fresh berries and I've been using it everyday since I got it. It literally takes seconds to use** - add a pinch of sugar before frothing to sweeten things up, top with a dash of cinnamon or cocoa, and I guarantee even the most mundane morning will seem a little bit more special.
*Girls, on those special romantic evenings where you find you don't have any Love Potion #9 (also known as Hoppe's) handy, eau de stinking rose might serve as a good substitute to dab behind your ears...or at least that's what I'm told. (Seriously, though, if you do manage to get garlic fingered, just wet your hands and rub them on something made of stainless steel. Works like a charm. Heck, it might even be a charm, who knows?)
** Word to the wise, do not say to yourself, "Hmmm...I wonder how fast this thing goes?" and stick your finger on the little spinny bit at the end. As much as I love it, the frother has been relegated to the "things that have the potential to make Breda say owie" drawer, next to the santoku knives and microplane grater. Mindfulness is important, even in the kitchen.