Good Food Blog
The lo-tech kitchen workoutPosted at 11:55AM, 14 October 2008 by Toby Travis - Food blogger
Too much time spent reading dusty old cookbooks from the 1950s has left me with a reactionary preference for old-fashioned methods of grinding, slicing, grating and pounding. I've developed a strong aversion to any kitchen gizmos you have to plug in and switch on. Perhaps because I spend half my waking hours lost in the abstract world of computer code, I try to preserve the kitchen as a haven from modernity. In this time capsule, electricity is used for lighting and keeping things cold, and that's about it.
One particularly labour-intensive habit is making breadcrumbs in a pestle and mortar. Chunks of stale bread (preferably white) are left to dry out for a few days, violently bashed into submission, then passed through a sieve. The fine crumbs in the bowl are kept for coating fillets of fish and meat or thickly sliced veggies, the coarse ones put aside for stuffings or meatballs. It's a labour of love, and I get a childish glee from knowing these little jars of joy are stored away ready for action. Essex Girl thinks this is pathetically sad, but I prefer to think of it as charmingly quirky.
The lo-tech kitchen is an opportunity to keep fit without getting hot, sweaty, bored or bothered
Sometimes while I'm pounding the breadcrumbs I can hear my old scout master's voice in my head, extolling the virtues of elbow grease. Putting your back into it. For long term gym-refusers like me, the lo-tech kitchen is an opportunity to keep fit without getting hot, sweaty, bored or bothered. Cooking as workout. It's not going to win me any medals come 2012, but the exercise goes some way towards keeping the love handles at bay.
One old-fashioned contraption I have great affection for is my food mill, or mouli-légumes in chef-speak. It looks great, with the shiny gleaming curves of the bowl, and its exuberant handle, which reminds me of the gear stick on the battered old Renault 4 my mum had when I was a kid. It's not the fastest or easiest way to blend a soup, but I reckon it's the equivalent of 10 minutes on the rowing machine.
Does anyone have any favourite low-tech gadgets they can recommend to a kitchen Luddite?