Whichever Way You Cut It

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Would Shakespeare in the kitchen make you bored? Or board?

Some objects seem so utilitarian and unremarkable that, although there are occasional attempts to improve their efficiency*, most of us never think about how they could be made more beautiful. Or even just a little less unremarkable. They come to resemble inanimate maths teachers – all substance and not enough style**. Chopping boards would certainly be on that list of objects (although they’re so unremarkable that they might inadvertently be forgotten, except when they clatter over in the kitchen cupboard and make us jump***).

And then I found this...

Romeo & Julienne chopping board from Atypyk Paris
Romeo and Julienne chopping board from Atypyk Paris via Design Fetish

I think it looks wonderful – simple, natural, not overcomplicated... and most importantly, with a sense of humour****. But. But...*****

It makes it take up more space. Which a commodity that’s likely to be at a significant premium in most kitchens. And, even when you scrub or wip your chopping board with the greatest of vigilance, it tends to still be a little damp, or to carry a faint scent of ingredients past (especially the wooden ones). Do you really want that cosying up beside your beloved collection of recipe books?

If it could be used to store other chopping-related accoutrements inside (blades for food processors and small zesters and other bits that never find a comfortable home), I’d be one step closer to convinced. But it would still need to be easy to clean, and not have to be emptied out after every onion was diced.

So, would you rather that your kitchen gear be utilitarian and unremarkable, or have a bit more character (with its attendant flaws)?

* In the kitchen, these redesigns can have a nasty habit of leading to the item doing one thing really well, and if you want to do any of the other things it used to do just adequately, you have to have a whole pile of other uni-purpose stuff cluttering up the kitchen.
** In the unlikely event of any incredibly stylish maths teachers reading this, you should be so used to challenging the stereotype that you aren’t offended. I had been going to say accountants, but that’s just a whole pile of penguins in suitcases that I’m not even going to go near...
*** Or is that just me? Baggage about accountancy and jumping at kitchen equipment... my, we are antsy today!
**** Never mind women supposedly making lists of what we look for in a partner – some of us even have criteria for our apparently highly anthropomorphic kitchen tools. Picky, much?
***** Because whenever there’s a list, there’s always a But.

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