Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Kitchenalia

Over the years I have been lured by kitchen gadgets which supposedly make life quicker and easier, but have arrived at the conclusion that the good old fashioned inexpensive originals that our mothers used take some beating.
The Juicy Salif lemon squeezer by Philippe Starck - designed for Alessi
Several lemon squeezers have past through my hands including Philippe Starck's Juicy Salif. I love it, the lemon juicer appeals to my sense of design, and importantly, I have used it. However, it doesn't separate the pith and the seeds, it requires a little bowl, not included, to fit snugly between its rocket style legs requiring you to hold on to them, with some difficulty, whilst squeezing the lemons. Juicy Salif now compliments my stainless steel kitchen shelf, where I admire it as an object d'art, but not a lemon squeezer.  My mother used a cheap pressed glass juicer all her life which worked a treat.
Over the years many tin openers have also been purchased, hands free, soft handle, easy open, electric.  My mother's little manual tin opener was used week in and week out and as far as I remember it lasted her all her life. Graters too, I have one on an electric machine which is such a hassle to drag out of the cupboard, assemble, and then there's the cleaning of all the bits and pieces after use.  I have fancy Parmesan graters that are difficult to clean and reassemble, others that scratch your skin and break your nails whilst cleaning. 
When in France I decided to stock up on some good old fashioned kitchen gadgets, I suspected that French households would not put up with the rubbish tin openers we get here in the UK. I am thinking  about the ones that emulate my mother's little tin opener which today either don't open the tin cleanly and efficiently or come apart within days.
Armed with a few euros I entered my son's local supermarch√© in Paris and headed towards the kitchen section. Joy of joys all the old fashioned stuff was available piled high on the shelves and it was so cheap. They all appear to be very well made and work perfectly. With the strong pound against the euro I paid only €6 = £4.50 for all three items. 

54 comments:

  1. Oh I remember my mother using a glass squeezer same as your new one. My mother bought all kind of kitchen gadgets that she used a few times, then went back to her old ones...
    How amazing you were able to purchase these old fashioned tried and true kitchen implements at a relatively cheap price...

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    1. If I was there now Margaret they would be even cheaper since the finalising of the Greek crisis last week the pound has become even stronger.

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  2. Hello Rosemary,
    I was nodding along as I read of all the items you have that are too impractical. We are all guilty. Your
    You are wise and smart and recently I purchased a similar lemon juicer, simple no fuss and easy to store. I am going to get one of those can openers. Your Philippe Starck juicer is a piece of art.
    I have also recently returned to using my old Turkish expresso maker and boiling my milk for cafe latte. The coffee is hotter and I use less ground coffee.

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    1. Dear Helen - I have so many different coffee machines too - now I just use my little cafetiere. It has a stainless steel body as I was always breaking the glass ones and we use it daily - I shall now watch out for a Turkish expresso maker when I am in Turkey later in the year.

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  3. I love the glass lemon squeezer...it looks so lovely, and does the job ! I have a red plastic one that my mother got free with a pack of OMO in 1959......it works brilliantly and I would kill anyone who decided that it needed replacing. That lemon squeezer lives in Yorkshire though, so I needed to acquire one here in France. I bought a basic on, like yours, only not as pretty, in that it was plastic rather than glass. It does the trick....but I was tempted by an electric gizmo....again, very basic.....and for 9euros, I decided to give it a go. You still have to hold the half lemon on top of it, but it rotates ones way, then the other, and does separate the pith and pips from the juice. It works for oranges brilliantly, so at the moment, we are enjoying fresh orange juice every morning. 1 orange produced plenty of juice for 1 glass....perfect !
    Well done on your bargains......I hope you have as much fun with them as I'm having with this fancy electric juicer.

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    1. Dear Janice - it is a good time now to buy things you need in France with the ever strengthening pound against the euro. Apparently the pound is now at its 2007 level and is expected to get even stronger towards the end of the year.

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  4. Those three items are just the same as I have in my own kitchen. I also have, and regularly use, my grandmother's old electric mixer - it's just a hand held gadget that has two whisk attachments on the front, but it is brilliant and is used for every cake I bake, whisking cream, pancakes and so much more. I will be devastated the day it ceases to work as they are no longer made and it reminds me of my granny every time I use it.

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    1. Dear Marina - I suspect that your grannies little whisk will go on and on forever - I hope so.

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  5. I have that glass juicer too. When in another country .....I always head to the housewares department.

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    1. Me too Janey, I also like to look at the different spices and flavourings that are available too.

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    2. Oh yes, definitely agree that the kitchen gadgets of our mothers' era were all we really need - these mechanical modern 'miracles' just never do the simple jobs as well - plus are usually huge and bulky for the kitchen storage cabinets (well mine are small and I don't have a pantry which I crave!). We do have a line of kitchen stuff here named OXO - nothing to do with oxo cubes - another story there - which are well-made and last for years. My lemon squeezer is plastic with a removable cup to collect pip-free juice, and I've had it probably 30 years. A bit broke off recently but as I can't replace it I will still use it!
      I might try to head to a French kitchen store, or a Monoprix, when in France later this year! I even love just looking around such shops and checking out things different from what we have here!

      Happy 'squeezing' Rosemary - fresh lemonade sounds good for another stifling hot day here!
      Hugs - Mary

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    3. It is much more interesting checking out gadgets in another country Mary - if your dollar is doing the same as our pound there are some good bargains to be had in France, and I read that later in the year the exchange rate will be even more favourable.

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  6. I agree, my blender just took up space in the cupboard, the mixer gets used once a year, maybe, I've gone through a load of can openers and currently have a hands free one that's good, except when the battery runs down without warning. I end up using my old hand opener.

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    1. The gadget manufacturers must have made a fortunate out of all of us.

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  7. Sometimes the old ways are the best alright. Plus you burn some calories using those manual gadgets!

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    1. That is a good way of looking at it Debra

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  8. Dear Rosemary, It would be hard for me to resist your Phillipe Stark. It must have won numerous design awards.

    I don't even have a mixer in my kitchen. Everything in this house is done by hand. I do have a hand held beater for whipping cream. Even the fancy tomato juicer sits on a shelf, in a box, in the cellar. My antique and hand held separator does a fine job and cleaning takes only a minute. I love kneading bread with my hands and I love stirring together ingredients for a cake with a wooden spoon I do love my little electric orange/lemon juicer. It comes in handy when friends from California bring basket loads of citrus fruit.

    Love your vignette. It's almost all the kitchen you need.

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    1. I have had my Philippe Starck ever since he designed it 25 years ago, it was very avant garde at the time, but I do still love it - it makes me smile.

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  9. I LOVE that pressed glass lemon squeezer. What a clever design for separating the seeds from the juice. I bet I could never find one of those in the USA. I have been making lemonade with a hand held wood reamer. (sigh)

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    1. You can buy them in the USA Catherine - look at this example
      http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-22829/Glass+Citrus+Juicer
      However at $12 it is much more expensive than I paid in Paris

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    I agree that many of the simpler kitchen devices are more efficient. The one exception for me is the juicer I use to make fruit smoothies. When it comes to lemons (which I squeeze daily to add to my water, to get my day started), I simply put a sifter over a cup and sweeze by hand. Your French lemon squeezer is very elegant, and I'd hesitate hiding it in a cupboard. That goes for the marvelous English tea canister, too! What beautiful packaging!

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    1. Dear Mark - I was given that Jacksons tea caddy in the 1970s for a birthday gift - full of tea then. They came in cream, blue, green and brown. I notice that they now sell them on Ebay as vintage, but you have to be careful size wise as some of them are miniatures not full size.

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  11. That squeezer looks like something I could use. The simpler the device the better.

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    1. You are right Blogoratti - simpler is better

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  12. Oh dear. I have a kitchen cupboard full of the 'latest' gadgets that I've used once and put back in their box. The collection got thinned a little on each of the occasions that we've moved but most still survive.. 'just in case'..

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    1. Same here Jessica - it all adds to the acquired clutter.

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  13. Goods from the old model are good, at least I know what to do with them and how. I also have similar objects.
    These photos are very lovely.

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    1. Thank you Orvokki - it appears that most people feel the same way that the old designs are best.

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  14. Ha, ha, I so agree with you. My husband bought a tin opener I don't understand to use. He has explained it many times but I can't remember it when I have to use it.I bought the one you have too for myself to use it. I still use the lemon squeezer I bought when I married, now 45 years ago. Mine is of plastic but still intact. Same with the Kitchen machine I could buy as a Christmas present of my work, I used it once to cut some carrots and used more time to clean the whole thing.
    You made a wise decission to buy all the old stuff!

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    1. The little tin opener from Paris works a treat, it zips around the tin in no time at all leaving a very clean cut rim.

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  15. We replaced our old glass lemon squeezer with a plastic one last year and it is just not the same! My daughter always uses the old whisk with a handle that my mother in law always used. You can beat those old kitchen utensils can you? Sarah x

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    1. I like the glass lemon juicer because it reminds me of childhood and my mother, but I have seen them subsequently in John Lewis. They are £8 not the £1.50 I paid in Paris which I think was a fantastic bargain.

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  16. I do agree, I have an amazing little 1930s hand whisk that whips egg whites to a stiff froth in a few moments, no electricity required and it rinses clean in a flash.

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    1. I wonder if it is a little balloon whisk?

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  17. How I love visiting your blog Rosemary! I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Paris via your last post of amazingly detailed photos and descriptions. You really make places come alive!
    I have enjoyed reading about old-fashioned kichenalia and quite agree that simple is best. I have a glass lemon squeezer just like yours that I have used for years, and I recently did a sketch of my Mum's old egg-beater so your post seemed very timely!

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    1. Thank you Wendy for your very kind comment - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the Paris post. Will you be showing the sketch you did of your Mum's egg-beater on your blog at some stage?

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    2. Yes, I posted it a couple of weeks ago.

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    3. Thank you Wendy I will take a look

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  18. Without a shadow of doubt the old utensils do the job. I have a lemon squeezer and can opener similiar to those in your photo. I also acquired a smart little single beater for whipping cream of beating a couple of eggs but sadly it broke and I haven't been able to find another....
    Simple is best.

    Ms Soup

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    1. That is my new slogan - simple is best - may be if you looked on Amazon you would find a replacement!

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  19. So simple but one of the best. There was a day when I thought that I needed a kitchenmachine doing all this for me (lol) I never use it again for this kind of jobs knowing what a work it is to clean the machine.
    Have a wonderful day Rosemary.

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    1. The consensus seems to be that everyone agrees Marijke ♡

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  20. Yes, simple is the best! I just love that design...
    Thank´s for your sweet comment on my blog Rosemary!
    Love, Titti

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  21. Hello Rosemary, I too am an easy mark for kitchen gadgets, but like you keep going back to the old standbys. Sometimes the new gadgets are worth their price for amusement or as conversation pieces, especially when my friends come over with their kids and we use the salad spinner, spring-driven whisk, etc. Most of the time, however, my favorite paring knife is the only implement used in getting a meal together.
    --Jim

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    1. Dear Jim - I have a salad spinner too, which I use lots during the summer months. I bought it in Canada years ago before you saw them in the UK. It was jolly bulky to get back home in my luggage.

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  22. My lemon squeezer is a ceramic one and it is fantastic, the squeezy bit is quite sharply ridged and it does a great job of getting all the juice out and then does as your new one does holds back the pips! I love using it! I have a wide variety of graters and pretty much use just one! Hope your new gadgets work well for you! Love the Stark squeezer, but only as art! xx

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    1. I have had my Stack juicer for many many years, and would not part with it as I enjoy its design

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  23. Running late this week (my son has been here living in my computer room!), and I can only say I totally agree with all the other commenters! If I had only known the French had such good traditional can openers I would have been chasing after one when we went to Paris last year. I had my original for many years, but these days they are hard to find, and are rubbish when you do locate one. Oh, for the original, hard-wearing, well-made ones. Same for lemon squeezers - tried the fancy ones, reverted to the original. I have a green glass one I found in an antique shop, which I treasure. And of course, don't like the electric grater and all the cleaning involved. Just grab an old basic one any day. What a great subject, and of course, the sculptural lemon squeeze makes a great art installation!

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    1. My suspicious proved correct Patricia that rubbish quality, even though very cheap, would not be acceptable in France. I am delighted with it and since I have returned home kitchenalia must be even cheaper now. The pound is stronger than ever following on from the Greek crisis.

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  24. Hello dear Rosemary!
    Glad to be back again in the blogging world!
    My mum had the same glass squeezer when we lived in Melbourne!
    I wish i could find the same!Thank you for your sweet wishes about my grandson!
    I really appreciate it!
    Have a happy Summer with your beloved ones!
    Dimi...

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    1. Welcome back Dimi so pleased that you had a very special time whilst you were away.
      France is a good place to find just what you need for the kitchen.

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  25. Hear, hear. I've been using the same three items for longer than I can remember and they work perfectly. :)

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    1. Tried, tested, and simple is all that is needed

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