Obsession number one: Kitchen utensils. I have to admit my soul is held hostage by those sexy little things. Knives, pots and pans, mortar and pestle, you name it. My eyes widen to the size of saucers every time I set foot in a kitchen utensil shop, my heart beats fast and the numbers in my bank poor account runs away even faster. Yes, that’s my weakness and my own private fetish. Well, it was up until now, that I’ve decided to share this with the world; partly in hope that there are more poor addicts like me out there and partly because I must admit that I am, after all, wrong. Nobody (unless you run a restaurant of course) needs that much kitchen gadgets.
Now, mind you that the people in south-east Asia cook with very few utensils – perhaps to overcompensate the stratospheric amount of ingredients they use in their wonderful food 🙂
I have had the privilege to witness this Bengali 92-year-old lady cooking a feast for 18 people using only two Paraat (shallow pan), a Pauni (skimmer), a Haman Dasta (mortar and pestle), a Kalchi (ladle) and the most fascinating knife I have ever laid my eyes on, a Bonti. This one is certainly a specially beautiful item. A Bonti is a curved blade knife mounted vertically on a horizontal wooden platform. The person operating it must either squat on her haunches or sit on the floor with one knee raised-up pressing wooden base with the foot to hold the Bonti firmly in place on the floor. The operator would hold food with both hands and slide it against the stationary blade to peel, slice, or chop. I got smitten and hypnotized watching that lady skillfully chopping her vegetables.
Observing the serenity in which she was cooking, squatting on the dirt under this magnificent mango tree right in the middle of her vast front yard, managing the pans and the ground fire pit as if she was conducting an orchestra as well as wisely dispensing the most colorful aromatic spices known to mankind in her food was, to say the least, one of the most humbling and fascinating experiences of my life.
So, do we need a myriad of fancy objects in our kitchen, you think? Most definitely not. But my quest for finding the most perfect mortar and pestle is surely far from over. It is not over because I need more of those gadgets, I would say. But because the search itself is an exciting adventure and that my loves is the best part of the journey!
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