Thursday, January 26, 2012

Keeping the Vampires at Bay: A Review of A Garlic Press

OXO garlic press (image from Pottery Barn)
Kitchen gadgets are personal in the sense that not everyone thinks the gadget you must have is worth a damn. This is how I felt about the garlic press, something that Susie, and many others I know, talk about as if it were a microplane (something I cannot live without, and something that purees garlic, too!). My feeling was this: if I can puree a clove of garlic with my microplane, or with my favorite 7" Santoku knife in probably less time than it takes you to peel the garlic, press it and then clean that thing, what is the point of having one more item cluttering up my tiny kitchen drawer? Plus, I felt that presses wasted part of each clove that was inevitably left behind when the pressing was done.

The only flaw in my conclusion was that I'd never used a garlic press, so I was basically speaking out of my ass. That changed a few weeks ago when I was buying a gift in Crate and Barrel and happened to walk past the display of garlic presses. The lovely one pictured above caught my eye, so I picked it up. It had a nice heft, and was certainly pretty to look at, but $19.95 to do what I could do with two tools I already owned...why would I need this thing?

Still, I don't like running my mouth if I don't know that of which I speak, so I bought it, if only to prove myself right.

So, was I?

Well, I will say this for it: that thing squishes a clove of garlic zippity doo-da fast! Perfect, pureed garlic in just one manly squeeze, and yes, faster than I could do it with my knife or microplane. BUT, I still find myself using my knife whenever garlic is involved, because I smash my garlic with my knife's flat side to peel it, I cut the little hard stem end off and, because my farmer's market no longer has any garlic, the garlic I've been buying at the grocery store has that bitter green sprout in the middle so I have to take that out, all before I can properly press each clove. And, I just can't throw away the flat little slice of leftover garlic that the press won't press through, so I find myself chopping that up, too. As for cleaning, although this press has those nubs that push up the remaining bits of garlic from the holes, you do still have to manually pick the garlic from it, and it IS one more thing to wash. Also, it's a bit bulky for my tiny NYC kitchen drawers.

That said, I'm using it and I have used it every single time I have needed garlic since the day I bought it, and that's pretty much every day, as I am a garlic fiend.

Do I need a garlic press? No. Would I cry if my garlic press disappeared? Probably not. Do I curse it when I can't open the kitchen drawer because it has become stuck inside with its bulk? Yes. But why the hell do I think it's so much fun to squish garlic in it?  No idea.  I'm not sorry I bought it.  Rating:  A-

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