My most important kitchen gadget

My kitchen is 36 square feet and I have to be very discerning about equipment I bring into it. Generally I am not a fan of single use gadgets because they have to earn their storage space. Presently my bread maker, pasta maker and soda machine reside outside of the kitchen! I rely mainly on manual labor. I don’t own an electric mixer, dough hook, fryer or toaster oven.

I’m a fan of, the critically acclaimed, Downton Abbey and am keeping current with the episodes as they are aired here. (My daughter has already finished Season 3 on the British Network.) Anyway, no spoilers here, but in this week’s episode, Mrs. Patmar advised Ethel to set timers while she prepared a meal. That got me to thinking. When did they invent timers? The hourglass had been in use since possibly the 8th century and was downsized to be used in the kitchen as an egg timer. But it was entirely visual and required the cook’s attention to realize time had run out. The only egg timers in my house are associated with board games.
Timers 002

They wouldn’t work for me in the kitchen. I’m sure I would miss the end. I would look at the timer and wonder how much time had passed since the last grain of sand fell to the bottom. I rely entirely on bells and whistles. Is that a function of the our lifestyle? I generally multitask and get easily distracted by shiny things. I need multiple types of stimuli to follow time and this seems to be common. Bells ring, buzzers buzz and my iPhone does both. Even with timers, I forget things in the kitchen.

Mechanical timers were invented in 1926 by Thomas Norman Hicks and I think this is later than the third season of Downton Abbey. I don’t want to read too much about the season because I might find spoilers. This means Ethel prepared her delicious meal while watching sand fall. I couldn’t do it. Despite the gadgets and quality cookware I do own, without multiple timers ringing, my kitchen endeavors would be a disaster.

Timers 001Yesterday my timers were set to help me make a curried butternut squash apple soup and to roast a bunch of butternut squash in the oven. I wonder what I will have time for today?

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