I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A glance at our armoury

If they all had to fight for a place in VR's kitchen, who'd win? It's a trick question.

I'm guessing No. 2 (the fish slice that's unmistakably a fish slice) and No. 6 (the palette knife) would dead-heat. Not because of their utility or their trustworthiness (No 2 is grievously bent and may go any time) but because of an emotional bond stretching beyond the grave. They were wedding gifts to us from VR's Grannie who diverted VR's mind as wartime bombs fell on Dover with repeated tellings of a horrifyingly cruel story bearing the refrain:

White horse, white horse, please don't spottle my clean dress because my mother will surely kill me.

Guess what! The storybook mother did.

No. 1 is a technically superior slice to No. 2 but won't last as long (ie, 53 years). The flexible composite blade is already charred and scored on the back from hot frying pans.

No. 3 is wooden, kind to non-stick surfaces and one of several. Quite soon it will burst into flames and I'll be sad when it does.

The giant No. 4 is symbolic of the indulgent life we lead. Good for transporting Dover sole and asparagus (not simultaneously). The inward curve of the blade is the key to its efficiency.

I'm not sure No. 5 has a purpose but it is quite elegantly styled. A prima donna of kitchen tools which can't hit the high notes.

I suspect No. 7 cost a bomb and represents more indulgence. Great for poached eggs and not much more
End of Fish Slices And Their Derivatives. To come: Sharp Knives


  1. Over here, what you refer to as a 'slice' I know to be a slotted spatula, aka pancake turner, or sausage smasher.

    I love the one from Granny. Its history adds to its importance, plus the fact that goods just aren't made that well nowadays.

    This is a treat - getting to peek inside VR's kitchen utensil keeper without having to be ill-mannered about it.

  2. I have a kitchen utensil that leaves yours for dead!A bread knife circa 1912 Sheffield steel and bone handled a wedding present for my wife'rsdoms grand parents.

  3. I do not know what a wife'rsdoms is.I hope the rest makes some senses.What impresses me is the quality of item.

  4. When asked what kitchen implement the chef Michel Roux (senior) would take to a desert island in preference to all others, he said a palette knife.I believe he was a patissier in his early career. A surprising choice even then, but one which has always made me value the palette knife in our kitchen more than I used to.

  5. The Crow: Once VR only read my posts selectively and I tried never to urge her to do so or to ask for her reactions. These days she uses her computer much more extensively (among other things to feed her voracious appetite for books) and, I think, more or less reads each post as it appears. I ask for her reactions more often than I did, but not all the time. There should be no sense of obligation among members of my family.

    "Why did you choose kitchen utensils?" she asked me at dinner last night. The answers to such questions are always unsatisfactory: because they occurred to me (probably from noticing the "slices" as a group in the kitchen for the frst time) and because I needed a subject that contrasted with whatever I'd recently chosen.

    Ironically, when she asked the question or perhaps soon after, I'd already started thinking about the next post - a sonnet about an old man driving a car that was suitable for old men. Now twelve hours later the urge is getting stronger but other things are getting in the way. Writing the sonnet may have to co-exist with other posts, simply because sonnet writing takes more time.

    I am glad you responded, mainly because I knew that a lot of items in the US kitchen have different names from those in the UK and I knew that you would know what they were. "Skillet" is one of my favourites, because of its euphony. I'm glad too that you appreciated the reference to VR's Grannie because - as I was writing the post - I realised I've neglected her in my blog and there's lot's more to say.

    The post was written without asking VR anything beforehand. As a result I got one thing wrong; No. 5 (the prima donna) is used more often than I knew. VR told me why it's useful last night and I've already forgotten. Unfortunately I can't ask her again since this post is being written early in the morniung and she's still slumbering.

    Anon: The age of our fish slice was incidental, I didn't set out to boast. Your tone suggests you did.

    Joe: During the two years I cooked our evening meal (ie, after I'd retired and was waiting for VR to retire) I suppose I used most of the "slices" listed above. The palette knife had certain uses (mainly for removing adhesions between a pie and its container) but it occurred to me that I would have preferred another as well - one with a much more flexible blade. I'd assume Roux had quite a selection.

  6. Number 5:
    Perfect for fried bread. If you allow yourself such hedonism.

  7. Fedo: I don't eat breakfast as such and that's surely the meal for fried bread. Which I like, given as I am to hedonism.

    Your name (prefixed Nina) appeared in the current issue (ie, the centennial one) of New Statesman. Seems you're famous.

  8. I am in awe. And now I have to scamper into the kitchen to see if I have any utensils not associated with brewing.

  9. Your #2, RR, is the twin of the one I inherited from my mother. A cigarette left a burn/melt scar on it's handle which does not stop me from using it. Perfect for making cheese sandwiches in the frying pan because when pushing on handle the angle of it's palette (?) adjusts to the top of sandwich which one wants to press down.

  10. I've got two of 3, I used to have three of them but one did break, not burn. They always have a burn mark right where yours is. I think they used to come from Oxfam shops, fairly traded or made by handicapped people or something, but you don't see them quite like that any more. Mine would win hands down if it came to a fight against all the other fish slicey things, including a flexible round silicone thing for omelettes which almost fills the whole pan but is fairly useless.

    I've fallen so far behind reading here I'd resolved not to try to comment on all the ones I was catching up with, but you know you can always lure me with a post on kitchen matters.