How Much is Garlic Crushing Worth?

I am not a kitchen guru, and precisely for this reason I need the correct kitchen gadgets to help my mediocre skills in the kitchen.  Finding the right implement, however, is a challenge by itself, because my inadequate skills and my left-handedness conspire against me.

It is difficult to explain the dilemma to the 90% of the population who were lucky enough to become right-handed. We left-handers cannot buy mass market utensil and products : Pictures on mugs end out looking away from us, knives cut funny because the cutting edge and the force applied are on opposing sides, and can openers have to be operated backwards.  It takes major effort and expense to find a tool that works correctly for us left-handers, and therefore I mostly settle for the clumsy right-hand tools.

Since the gadgets used for crushing garlic do not fall under the category of hand-specific tools, I thought that finding one would be a piece of cake. I was so wrong. I have been on the lookout for the correct one for over three months now. During this time I minced my garlic with my non-hand-specific knife, but before that I tried crushing it with my hand-neutral mortar and pestle.

The mortar and pestle were a little too heavy and clumsy for regular and repeated use (I had a stone one), and the cleanup was also problematic. Mincing with the knife on the other hand is much more straight forward, and there is very little cleanup. Disadvantages were the time needed and the risk of ending up with garlic smelling fingers for the rest of the day. The chopping board of course is a lost cause, and it has to be dedicated to chopping only the vegetables who are good companions to garlic.

A month ago I forked out R45 to buy a stainless steel garlic crusher, but it turned out to be wrong. It looked fine when I bought it, made of stainless steel with the garlic crushed in a little compartment that is detachable for easier cleaning. On actual use, however it proved very impractical, perhaps for this very detachable element. Apart from its overall faulty “engineering” which made the garlic come out more squeezed than crushed. This led me back again to mincing and smelly fingertips.

Finally today I discovered and brought home my new love and the most useful kitchen utensil for lovers of garlicky pasta sauce. I bought this beauty, and thank god it was on sale. It is made of brushed stainless steel, cool and velvety to the touch. It also has a round grip that makes its weight fall comfortably on either left or right hands. It looks and feels heavy, durable and practical. With a deceptive simple design of real expensive kitchen tools. Believe me, I rarely wax lyrical about anything in the kitchen, but this is simply one of my most valuable kitchen utensils.

The Amazing Development of Language

Robert is amazing me with his rapidly developing verbal skills. The development is very quick even on the pronunciation side.

A few days ago he pronounced bucket correctly; where he had been calling it bakkie so far (and this is incidentally Afrikaans for bucket). Maybe he is starting to grasp the idea of a final consonant, because he now also calls himself Ah-pet.

The books say that NO is one of the first words a child learns, Robert hasn’t done so yet, but I think he started today. When I asked him whether he wanted his milk he answered : Naaah, I thought the tone of his response indicated that my suggestion was ludicrous.

Robert knows most his body parts. He would point to all of them and say quite a few like : eye, head, neck and recently cheek. In the case of “neck” the actual reference is somewhat confused, because he links it to my necklace and not the actual body part.  Occasionally I still try to call the body parts by their German names, always wondering whether this will confuse him. I sometimes sing to him the very few German lullabys that I know.  While I was putting him to sleep today, he engaged in one of his annoying habits of poking me in the eye while proudly proclaiming “eye”. By coincidence or maybe by association I started singing a German lullaby my mom often sang  to us:

Müde bin ich, geh’ zur Ruh’,
Schließe meine Äuglein zu;
Vater, laß die Augen dein
Über meinem Bette sein!

Translation :

I am tired, now I rest,
I close my small eyes;
Father, let your eyes
Be over my bed!

My singing did not stop the annoying eye-poking from Robert, but in keeping with the verse he was now calling it “Auge”.

Postscript : Turns out that the song I was singing to Robert is actually a German poem by Luise Hensel (1798-1876), who was a religious author and poet.