Thursday, May 11, 2006

Our Time-Saving Appliances

Elsie and I both served honorably in the hellish kitchens of the late 20th c. and although we received minimal financial compensation, we maintain an interest in the tools and techniques of food preparation.

The way we make food for ourselves is influenced by our experience and we think it is good fun to make large quantities of food at high speeds with the benefit of hazardous machinery. We even enjoy the clean-up, mostly.

Our ideals guide us away from specialized devices, but ideals are terribly inconvenient in practice. I have made coffee in a saucepan and toast over an open flame, but I have grown to accept that I am a mere mortal, especially at 6 AM.

We do not have a vast assortment of curiosities, but we do have a few favorites. Below are ones that are mostly used on a daily basis.

The Tappan Deluxe

Oh baby, what a beauty. Where to start with this one? I often blow the tour right here. The Tappan has many quirks and qualities that appeal to me and I lose the sensitivity to my audience that is required of a gracious host.

The Tappan Deluxe came with the house and is the centerpiece of the vintage kitchen that caused Elsie and I to swoon our way into home ownership.

Without this stove, this blog might never have existed.

The Dualit

A legend in our time.

Back in the day we dreamed about the future. Our vision of the future included a Dualit toaster, a living fossil of machine age design that offers visual interest in many designer kitchens.

We suspected that we would be well on our way to retirement before we had the scratch for such a fancy wattage hog.

One day at Salvation Army, Elsie looked up and saw me coming closer and in my arms cradling a cherished new addition to our family. In matters of observation, chance indeed favors the prepared mind.

The Vesuviana

Back in service after a long time on the bench, the Vesuviana is an elegant piece of equipment, simple and functional.

Until this year, our Vesuviana never had the correct portafilter gasket. The inevitable results of incorrect gasketing of steam and finely ground coffee are remarkably untidy.

Finding correct gaskets ain't easy. I went to Coffee and Tea Ltd. and was treated very well.

The A-9

Ours came from a roadside benefit sale for a Boy Scout troop. I think I paid 4 dollars and replaced the brushes and that was about all it needed from me. It has a very sound design that produces superior results. The coffee is ground to a selected fineness without overheating.

I understand that reproduction models are available at a hefty price

The Breadboxes.

We veer dangerously close to collecting breadboxes. Cheaply made with chromed steel and naive optimism.

The [Now for sale! Contact us!] RYP Healthmaster juicer.

This resembles a dangerous device of late Victorian medical quackery but is actually a dangerous device of mid-century health-food quackery. On a rainy Fall morning I visited a tag sale the next block over. I gave the proprietor all the money in my pocket, 7 dollars, and took my prize home.

The Pantry

Is a pantry an architectural feature or a food-preparation tool? I prefer to remain agnostic on the question. A large and convenient pantry is another winning feature of our old kitchen, but it doesn't photograph well. It deserves a wood-block print or hand-painted lithograph. The spirit of the previous owner visits me here from time to time and I feel honored.

The kitchen - all this stuff - is a project in harmonizing values with the practical, I suppose. All I can say based on what we have done so far is that there is more to come and we will enjoy it.



Sarah Rose said...

We just bought a healthmaster at an estate sale. Have you figured out how to catch the waste? Is yours terribly loud? Did the pusher on top come with yours? Thanks!

Joe Deluxe said...

Sarah Rose,

Congratulations on your beautiful mixer. I hope you cherish your prize.

I prop a tall measuring cup under the ejection chute, but it is a little exciting nonetheless. I consider the Healthmaster to be somewhat flawed in this regard.

The noise level is comparable to a blender, I guess. Not quiet.

Yes, the pusher came with it; quite rudimentary. Is yours missing?

Good luck. Please let us know how it goes.