12 May Kitchen Gadget Recommendation
I’ve always lurrrrved kitchen gadgets. I used to hoard them as if I was Aerial in the Little Mermaid. I had oozits and whatsits galore, collecting them from the age of 17, beginning with my very first I’ve-just-left-home-and-am-now-a-student-who-has-to-cook-for-herself George Forman Grill (cheese toasties at 3am anyone?) I then bought a wok, for some really easy chicken stirfries, and a hand held stick blender for soups. Then I bought a smoothie maker just for my smoothies (why my blender couldn’t have sufficed for smoothies as well as soups was a well-reasoned manifesto I had worked out) and a garlic crusher for the afore mentioned stirfries. Up and up they piled over the years; an apple corer, an electric thermometer (actually that was a present- thanks Seanan!), baking trays, cooling trays, silicon muffin trays, Teflon roasting trays, Britta water filters, drip coffee makers, a nespresso machine, sushi rolling mats, and penultimately to the swankiest purchase of all; the Vitamix. For fear of sounding like Gollum, I’ll just say that my precious Vitamix has more than paid for itself in the three years since I’ve owned it, and is one of those gadgets that I will always cherish and will never allow gather dust like other pre-loved gizmos.
But now there’s a new sherif in town: The All-American, 1950s Retro Style, Original Popcorn Maker
She’s a beaut!
I bought this in February when I launched Kick in the Whole 2.0, because I realised something very interesting about myself and my clients. A lot of us do really well when were actively ‘being good’. And most of us fall on our asses when we’re ‘trying not to be bad’. The subtlety is important. When we’re actively ‘being good’ (and I use quotation marks because you know I hate using ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dichotomies like this, but I’ll indulge it for now) we seek out foods that nourish us, that get us closer to our goals, that are whole and healthy. We’re strong. It’s a strong position to be in, when we’re actively being ‘good’. But when we’re ‘trying not to be bad’ we are acknowledging the struggle that often comes with removing food that we depend on to cheer us up, to soothe and ease, to absent-mindedly self-sabotage; whatever the case may be. It’s not a strong position, because it has possibility of failure built into it’s very core. ‘Trying not to be bad’ means that you acknowledge your inherent penchant for being bad.
The spiraliser is the perfect example of this dichotomy. When I feel good and healthy and determined, spiralising a courgette and substituting it for pasta is achievable and delicious and rewarding. But if it’s raining, or if I’ve had a bad day, or I’ve got period pain, there’s no way in hell that I’m chomping on some shitty raw vegetable and pretending it’s hitting the spot they way 2 portions of pasta would.
So I discovered all this in February during #kickinthewhole month when, after flying it for the first few days, I was then faced with the exact same thing as everyone else; a situational anomaly. I don’t remember what it was, and it doesn’t matter because it really can be anything. Stressful client, morning off, stubbed toe, winning scratch card, friend in town, husband out of town, missed bus, random act of kindness; whatever! It’s really just one of those moments when you’re faced with bending on something you’ve set for yourself and you’ve now built up this nonsense dichotomy in your head that separates ‘good’ from ‘bad’. This = Good. That = Bad.
Unfortunately I don’t have the answer as to how we fully stop this from happening. Anyone who tells you they’ve it figured out is lying, but just leave them be, because it’s a nice delusion to live in- don’t be a dick by taking it away from them. The great thing I figured out is that a popcorn maker can be a bridge between these two worlds of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Instead of reaching for perfection, you can reach for an improvement, and let that be enough. Instead of denying your need for salty, carby food at certain times in the week, or month, you acknowledge that it is something you enjoy and you can improve the quality of how you get it into you. Air-popped, oil-free corn with a sprinkle of salt is a much more healthful way of getting your salty carby fix, and sure you could even use organic corn kernels if you wanted to go one step further. If extremes don’t work for you, reach for the next best thing. Don’t call it ‘bad’, just call it ‘your best’.
This was a big batch I made when I had friends over. I love something salty with my wine, and I usually get crisps or nachos; instead, this went down a treat.
I often season my popped corn with tamari and nutritional yeast when I’m feeling particularly cravesome. It gives an amazing depth- salty and cheesy. This was a single serving batch I made at the weekend while watching a movie. So good.
The model I use is for sale in Argos, for between €20-€26 depending on what promo they’re running. It takes pride of place on my kitchen counter next to my Vitamix. I’d take it over a spiraliser any day.