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A song to the tong

April 24, 2009

tongsOne of the great pleasures of all this visiting and house-sitting we’ve been doing while our place is renovated is having the chance to play in so many different kitchens.

I have developed quite a list of new gadgets to stuff into my capacious drawers (ooh!) when I eventually get them. 

And a few new sets of tongs will be on the list. I love tongs, and cannot fathom how anyone lives without them.

Over Easter I visited my sister and was aghast to find not a single pair of tongs – not even a crappy old supermarket pair – in her kitchen. As I whined and ransacked every drawer in the place, berating her for her tongage shortage, she looked on, nonplussed, and asked what was wrong with a fork.

A fork. How could she possibly substitute a fork for tongs, I gasped. And she said, with rather too much relish for my liking, ‘Well I probably don’t fry things quite as often as you do.’  

An outrageous slur, of course. There’s roasting, too. And sauteing, and flash-frying, and … hmm. But Senor has also pointed out there’s the whole serving aspect. And barbecuing. And fishing pasta out for testing whether it’s cooked. And – surely other uses!??  

But they can’t be just any old tongs, though the crappy supermarket variety I have always found to be among the best. They need a long enough handle to prevent boiling splashes or side-of-pot burns to the hand, yet not so long as to become unwieldy. And the hinge action must be perfect – responsive, springy, not too rigid or stiff, and with a wide arc. And the pincer bits need to be curved enough, and come to an adequately fine point when closed, so as to pick up anything from a giant potato to a teeny slice of sauteed zucchini, or even a single raisin. Nothing more annoying than those stupid flat-ended, no-hinge jobs that only open an inch and won’t actually close properly. May as well try brain surgery with flippers.   

Anyhoo, you can imagine my joy, in our current glamorous abode at my friend J’s house, to find this motherlode of fancy, smooth-action, silcone-tipped beauties. I had always seen those little baby ones and thought they were a gimmick, but now find myself walking round the house with them in my hands (there are two pairs!), snapping ’em like castanets.

Love ’em.

What are your favourite mini-gadget essentials? The things that are always missing from holiday houses and that send you down to the supermarket in a huff to get? Lemon-juicers are my other obsession. Think I might need to investigate a few new versions of that next.

13 comments

  1. Do you know about finger tongs? I don’t have them, but they’re from the same company which makes Poach Pods. Here’s a link to them…

    http://www.fusionbrands.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=191


  2. Oh Jamie, you have done a dangerous thing. I was thrashing around that FAB site with my credit card details until I realised they don’t send to Australia, dammit! The finger tongs look quite intriguing – but my favourite thing there is the Love Handle, what a brilliant idea!!I’m going to get my hands on them – literally – by hook or by crook.

    Also love that silicone trussing string stuff! I wonder what my cheffy pal Hamish, who taught me to truss, would make of that?


  3. At their website, click on ‘retailers’ then choose ‘australia’ from the regions menu, then NSW. Quite a lot of local stockists there. Then it’s a phone-around until you nail someone with more than just the Poach Pods.

    Good luck!


  4. That’s hilarious! And they are some fine looking tongs… Actually, I paused mid-peel a couple of weeks ago to admire my peeler. It has perfect heft and grip and makes peeling a breeze. I love it. My two graters, on the other hand, I loathe. I have experienced first-hand (left and right, in fact) that the feeling is mutual.


    • Oh yes, peelers are another very personal affair. I remember the first time I bought a decent vegie peeler – the difference! for a couple of bucks! i love it when that luxurious feeling comes so deliciously cheap, don’t you? But, as with the tongs, there’s a point where a fancy peeler can veer past functional into madness. I nearly skinned my whole hand with a very sharp overly-glidey fancy-shop version recently ….


  5. The zester. You have no idea how few people have a zester rattling around in the back of their second-from-the-top-incredibly-useful-stuff drawer.


    • Doesn’t a fine grater do the same job? Or is there some particularly zesty fact about this implement I’m missing? By the way I think you need to rejig your ‘hughesy’ signature url because I keep getting ‘not found’ whenever I click on it…


  6. Can you point me in the direction of this ‘fine grater’ of which you speak?! We’re yet to meet.


    • The mighty Microplane comes in all varieties of coarseness and fineness, but only one grade per grater, if you know what I mean. We have a superfine one but I want a coarser one too now.


  7. And yes, I love the luxe feeling my peeling ease gives me. It was a couple of extra bucks, but I am filled with admiration and satisfaction every time I use it.


  8. Microplane, you say? Okey dokey, thanks, I’ll sniff one out…


  9. […] remark that all parties with finger food should distribute lanyards attached to teenyweeny personal tongs, which I very much agree could make all the […]


  10. […] A party piece Zest for life June 2, 2009 Further to our earlier discussion of simple but essential kitchen gadgets, I hereby withdraw my remarks to Hughesy about the humble zester being interchangeable with a […]



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