Sunday, November 7, 2010

On gadgets, and how to zest a lemon without a zester

I love buying new toys, but hate clutter. Some people will never be happy. I have come to peace with my dilemma, and the following things have helped:
1) a ban on single-purpose items. This means no waffle iron (sniff), no mandoline, and no lemon zester.
2) and - two sites which encourage me to live without "Stuff".
3) moving from a large, 4-bedroom house to a small, 2-bedroom inner-city apartment. We will attempt to cram all of the Stuff I couldn't live without into our new home tomorrow. And I'm starting to worry about just how much I need to throw out. Again.
4) living without said Stuff (which I could not live without) for almost three months during the transition between countries. There are some things I miss terribly, but for the most part, I can't remember what's in the boxes...
I'm also learning that there is so much you can do without much extra effort at all, which makes the once-needed gadget redundant. I'm even thinking of ditching the microwave in favour of much-needed bench space!
So, I use a sharp knife instead of a lemon zester, a sharp knife instead of a mandoline, and steam or hot water instead of a microwave. I haven't found a solution for the waffle iron, but it's nice to know there is one thing restaurants can do that I can't!
Use a sharp knife to remove thin strips of zest. Avoid the white pith by staying close to the surface of the lemon.
Cut into thin strips lengthwise. 
Cut into the tiniest cubes ever by slicing in the opposite direction. Please be careful of fingers!
Give it a few extra chops for good measure. I love the slightly bigger pieces of zest, they seem to hold that beautiful, citrusy flavor better than thin, flimsy zest. And the colour is gorgeous! 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I have a waffle iron.
    Therefore you can visit, and all will be well.

    If you're around for breakfast around Christmas, I may even bring it with me :)

    I'm terrible at doing lemon zest with a knife, but I use my microplane - which also does parmesan and spices.

    Looking forward to seeing the new kitchen!

  2. I too thought I could do without a microwave but have a daughter who specialises in 'MW Milky Milos' and a husband who is hooked on the 'reheat' button.

  3. Ah! No microwave, no tv. I don't miss either....
    My new policy is to think hard about what I allow to come into my house. If I really want something new I research it and find the best solution, or a designer piece that will make me happy as well as function. When you only have one large bowl you can afford to spend $100 on it.
    and it might be going too far.... but I havent got a dishwasher either.

  4. I also have a micro plane, but it's in a box somewhere.. My kitchen is currently underneath a scary amount of stuff that won't fit in the cupboards, and there a still unopened boxes!
    Clare, I have quit Milo cold turkey. But only 'cause it tastes different here!
    I have also lived without tv for a couple of months now. Don't miss it, and am wondering when I ever found time to watch it! Dishwasher is still essential, as it saves us time daily as well as freeing up needed space on the bench. Technically though, it does only do one thing..

  5. Update: I now own a mandolin, but it is very small and does not need much cupboard space. I also bought a truffle slicer on the weekend, and I will not apologise for that