If I was still in high school I would write an essay on the names that people use when trying to find the colander, or strainer, in the kitchen.
When I was growing up we were always asking for “that thing with the holes in it.”
“Hey daddy, momma needs to borrow your head.”
I’m almost certain that the word colander was never uttered in our house.
Most often it was referred to as that “thing we drain the spaghetti with.”
I believe the term “strainer” was mentioned only a couple of times in 20 years. Strainer is too easily confused with fish seine.
I read yesterday where one household referred to their kitchen colander as the “noodles stay, water go thing”. A girl said her older brother called it that when he needed it once and couldn’t find it in the kitchen. The “noodles stay, water go” name stuck.
These days colanders made of heavy duty plastic are expensive. The one we had for 40 years at momma’s was light weight metal. There were four small legs on the bottom of the “thing we drain the spaghetti with.”
I remember one time we crimped long tin foil spirals to the bottom of our metal “noodles stay, water go” thing and tried making some rabbit ears so we could pick up the ABC Memphis channel on our black and white television.
“Houston we have a problem.” It didn’t work. But I did enter the tin foil laden colander in the second grade science fair and got a third place ribbon.
My prize winning invention may have been the first cable network.
I ran across some other kitchen tools that I am not familiar with.
One was called a cake shovel, which is used to cut slices in cakes and features a thin slicing edge and a large face to lift and transfer the cake.
I have simply always called it a cake server.
However, last week my wife made a chocolate chip cake and cake shovel was one hundred percent more accurate in describing the way I was eating the cake. Wow, that woman has found her calling.
Speaking of shovels I saw that a peel is used to slide food like pizza, pastries or bread in and out of an oven. This tool is also known as a pizza shovel.
The word is most likely derived from the French word pelle, which means shovel.
This pelle is not to be confused with the other Pele’, who is the greatest ever Brazilian soccer player.
I learned that a bench knife is also called a dough scraper and is used to cut and shape dough. Duh? I would spend some dough for a dough scraper if Janet would make dumplings.
One kitchen utensil I had never heard of is a tamis (pronounced “tammy”, also known as a drum sieve, or chalni in Indian cooking). A Tamis is a kitchen utensil, shaped somewhat like a snare drum, that acts as a strainer, grater, or food mill. A tamis has a cylindrical edge, made of metal or wood, that supports a disc of fine metal, nylon, or horsehair mesh.
I believe it’s used with foods such as potatoes, English peas, blackberries, flour, raspberries, etc. Someone skilled with a tamis makes great dishes for one’s tummy.
However, in our kitchen every needed cooking utensil is referred to in extraordinarily general terms.
“Hand me that thing, this is really hot,” she’ll say.
“What, what do you need?”
“The thing! No, not that, the other thing. The one we use every time. Hurry!”
“Does it have a real name? Can you spell it.”
“Here’s a piece of paper, draw it.”
“The thing…. The potholder, God.”
“Only God knew what you were wanting.”
We don’t have a tamis in our kitchen but I would love a snare drum (Christmas is coming honey).
Did I tell you I got the stuff to make another chocolate chip cake?