I love to cook and I love to use cooking gadgets. One of my all-time favorite gadgets is my Microplane® grater. I’d seen it used by Martha Stewart once on TV and fell in love with its potential. I’ve had mine for almost 20 years, before these now ubiquitous kitchen gadgets were found in every kitchen store. Thanks to my late husband, who was a woodworker, and who got a catalog from a Canadian wood working company called Lee Valley Hardware, I found a source for this magical gadget.
You see, the Microplane® didn’t start out as a kitchen gadget but as a wood rasp for woodworkers. The wife of the owner of Lee Valley Hardware noted that her husband’s wood rasp was the perfect tool for grating orange and lemon zest. Since the Lee Valley Hardware catalog is a quirky publication and includes not only woodworking tools but all sorts of items that are useful around the home, including some kitchen and garden gadgets that can be found no where else, she convinced her husband to feature the Microplane® rasp, manufactured by Grace Manufacturing in the US, in the kitchen section of the catalog. I found it there and ordered my own. I use it to grate Parmigiano Reggiano, as shown in this photo, nutmeg, lemon and lime zest, chocolate, garlic, ginger. If it needs grating, the Microplane® does it best. Mine doesn’t have a handle, as most sold today do, but it did come with its own hopper that I presume was a specialty item from Lee Valley Hardware, as I have never seen such an item since the Microplane® began to appear in kitchen stores. Here is a link to an article that the New York Times ran a few years ago about the success of the Microplane® as a kitchen gadget.
Oh, and of course my inspiration for this subject matter was my Flickr group topic, “Gadgets.”