Archive for the ‘Appropriate Technology’ Category

The Penguin. Similar to Pellegrino. Less carbon.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

So much has been written about bottled water. The sheer volume of plastic or glass in the landfill. The absurdity of paying a premium for repackaged city water stored in mysterious plastics. Even more unsettling, just consider the carbon footprint involved in transporting a product like San Pellegrino water from Italy to the US. Water is heavy to begin with, add the glass and packaging, float it across the Atlantic then truck it to your local Costco; let’s just admit that there are hidden costs that really should restrain your initial glee at the unbelievable $10 case price.

Nonetheless, I, along with so many others, am addicted to agua con gas.

Strike back with The Penguin. This device makes carbonated water at home on a reasonable scale and at a very low cost. With filtered water (Brita or ilk) and the glass carafes most of the obvious health issues are covered, the price is right, and the end result delicious.

The mandoline. Less is more. Essential slicer.

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

With mandolines it’s true that less is more. Classic french examples weigh a ton, cost a mint, and are perfectly capable of removing entire body parts if misused. Most working chefs favor an inexpensive alternative, the japanese Benriner (pictured left, in the queasy green color), and I use mine weekly.

Another strong contender is the all-stainless steel model made by the venerable German firm Rösle (pictured right).

What is not apparent from the picture is that the Benriner also comes with additional blades that allow it to be set up to quickly cut uniform strips for julienne and brunoise.

I find that the Rösle is easier to adjust accurately for slicing but agree with Rulhman that if you have only one tool it should be the Benriner, since the Rösle does not have julienne blades.

For wimps, hand guards are included or available with either model.

Sources carries both mandolines.