Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

the right tool for the job

Posted by vlorbik on January 13, 2013


(yet another all-the-arts-are-one-art post)

all the arts are one art… and here’s
how you do it: “look again. look closer.”

and whenever something goes *wrong*…
well, that’s a real good place to look.

be it a wrong note in a guitar solo,
a line mis-spoken (freud had much to
say on these), a wavering-of-the-line
where “drawing a straight line” was
the goal… in any of these cases
(or hundreds of others), the subject
having once *made* the mistake will then,
if the subject is any kind of *artist*
(with respect to the work-at-hand), seek
to *learn* from the mistake.

some mistakes are so god-awful that one
has no choice *but* to learn something:
the classic “hand on the hot stove” moment.
my most memorable such (as of right now)
was once when i was working in the commons
of the student union as a short-order cook,
and was talking to a fellow worker during a
lull in the action and let the fingers and
thumb of my left hand wander absent-mindedly
into the two slots of a toaster. then i rapidly
*removed* my hand before i even knew i’d
done it and carried on the conversation…
and had not a mark on me. never forgot it,
though. and no artistry involved.

but such *gross* mistakes typically have
only one lesson to teach: how to avoid
doing it again.

mistakes in speech and music and drawing
and whatnot, by contrast, can be *inspired*
mistakes that end up being the basis of, say,
a new *trick*. or even a new *technique*.

look again; look closer.

but, then. on the other hand.

grab your ax and wail your heart out *now*!
the audience doesn’t care how perfect your
doggone *technique* is, they just want to
be *entertained*!

so one is in the familiar position of a
“deep truth”: a thought whose *opposite*
is also a deep truth (it doesn’t take much
looking-again-closer in the philosophical
arena to encounter this “polarity” phenom-
enonon… humans appear to be paradoxical
*by nature* [or maybe it’s by *design*…]).

well. to everything there is a season.
except for when there isn’t.

and now i’ve nearly outranted my breakfast
time… and the glass is empty besides.

so one more paradox… or dichotomy or
polarity or whatever it is… that comes
up frequently for me is “get the right
tool for the job” versus “use the tools
at hand and *get ‘er done*”.

and *when* it comes up, i’m mostly very much
a “tools at hand” kinda guy.

but drinking glasses like the one in the photo…
one of a set my mother gave me over 20 years ago…
are very much the right tool for the job.

almost everyone else’s drinking glasses are
harder to wash. this bad baby right here
you can jam your whole hand in and scrub out
just like a plate or a bowl. also you can
pour twelve ounces of foamy liquid in without
fear of foaming the whole mess over.

madeline’s been coming up with *more* right tools
for the kitchen in recent months and it’s been
a blast. with a big sharp chef knife one can cut
rightly-so-called *chips* from a potato and they
fry up great. and steel pans are way better for
eggs than the spaceage-polymer-coated scratchy-
-finish jobs are. and on and on it goes.

but that’s it for today.

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3 Responses to “the right tool for the job”

  1. suevanhattum said

    My vote is for cast iron. (It takes some seasoning and you don’t want to cook cheese in it often.) Eggs don’t stick, and cook great. I know there are steel pans that eggs don’t stick to, but I haven’t met one yet.

  2. vlorbik said

    we’ll see how it goes. our new cast-iron
    is a beauty… and the first ever to be seasoned
    *by me*. we got the new steelies a couple days
    later (if i recall correctly) from the same order
    (amazon, iirc; madeline handled this transaction
    of course). much easier cleanup. that big solid
    piece of iron is *heavy*! in fact, i’d probably use
    the steelies less if not for the need to clean
    the castiron.

    my eggs are still a long way from doing
    whatever i try to make ’em do. *any*
    of the new ones is an improvement
    over *any* of the old. i wouldn’t allow
    myself to use the steel spatula on
    the non-stick-coating ones lest i grind
    up and eat more than my RDA of
    some chemical with a 30-letter name.

    what i’d really maybe prefer to work on…
    or at least try for a while… is
    a big flat grill like they’ve got in diners.

    “how do the pros do it?” crosses my mind
    quite a bit when i’m trying to understand
    some cooking project. even if i do
    quite often respond with “okay, then,
    to *heck* with how *they* do it…”

    for that matter, some day i’ll want to try
    really *fresh* eggs. you’ve got that
    at home, right, sue-v? hens and all?
    wow cool.

    & thanks for the advice about cheese.

  3. suevanhattum said

    They’re molting right now, and don’t seem to be laying (unless they’re hiding their eggs really well). I might have to break down and *buy* some eggs this week. Bummer.

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