Thursday, April 7, 2016

The tines that bind.

Here's an odd kitchen tool I am definitely going to miss:

Yes, it's a fork, but not just a fork. This is a promotional item I got some years ago, when I worked for a consumer magazine. It's from Chicken of the Sea, the canned tuna outfit. The idea is that everyone needs a good fork to mix up tuna salad, so here it is, with the brand name on the handle. It is a long fork, with good strong tines that are spread wide. It is perfect for mixing tuna salad. 

In fact, it has turned out to be a great tool for piecrust crimping, too. And testing boiled potatoes, steamed carrots, and other root vegetables. And beating eggs. And pulling out a string of pasta to check. And fishing out bay leaves. And whisking small quantities. And, in a pinch, tossing salads, using as a carving fork, and getting those hard-to-reach places. In fact, the only thing it is not good for is eating. The tines are too wide at the end. 

But speaking of ends, this fork has come to an end. After years of hard use, hundreds of runs through the dishwasher, and so many dinners created, the handle gave way. The plastic broke.

I still have the metal part, but the plastic parts were not just meant to protect the user from heat; they also thickened the handle and improved the grip and, I think, the torque. I could hold on to it still, or wrap the handle in a wad of duct tape, but sometimes you just have to admit it's over.

Farewell to the Chicken of the Sea fork; it's been a great little tool, and will be hard to replace. I've never seen another like it. When you have a tool you like, your muscle memory gets used to its size and shape. A regular fork is going to feel weird.

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