For guitar amps, gently-used “attitude tees” and vintage poster art, eBay is that ephemeral, endless Target in the sky. Most of us also know by now that there is no better source (save a millionaire foodist's estate sale) for odd and esoteric kitchen gadgets. Whether you're looking for a new addition to your “technemotional” cooking armory or some weird granny cookware, eBay spills forth with dazzling options. Read on for five you might want to place a bid on.
A centrifuge is a device that spins at high speed in order to separate products into parts based on density. Here's one. The good news: A centrifuge can help turn a hunk of watermelon into a seedless lozenge of super-concentrated flavor. A tomato soup can be rich, intense, and yet perfectly clear. The bad news: Centrifuges vary dramatically in power, so much that a fairly pricey model might not actually be able to perform the miraculous feats of chef-goddery you envy. Centrifuges with fatigued rotors can also fall apart, sometimes in spectacularly dangerous fashion. But hey, they're on eBay.
If an air popper or cast iron skillet feels too modern (this isn't for centrifuge types), go with this 1890s hand-crank-powered popcorn popper. You have to do it while hunkered over an open fire. Judging by the size of the thing, you'd better not be serving a crowd. Soup it up a bit though, and it'd be the perfect steampunk contraption for producing snacks to accompany screenings of The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen.
3. Gravy Separator:
This 1950s utensil (made in Japan, the buyer surmises) is designed to rid gravy of fat via a small drain. The phrases “Heavy Gravy” and “Lean Gravy” are inexplicably emblazoned on the bowl part, which is a good enough reason to buy it. You'd probably use your gravy separator twice a year, but wouldn't it look nice hanging from a hook in the kitchen?
You see it and you think: 400-year-old torture device capably of severing bone and tendon from flesh. The truth is cuddlier, more Wallace and Gromit than Oldboy. When you can't be bothered with a fork, use this gadget to “break” your muffin in half, presumably leaving behind those highly coveted butter-friendly pockets.
One can of agar agar. One can of calcium lactate. One can of soy lecithin. One can of xanthan gum. One can of cold soluble gelatin. That's cold soluble gelatin, folks. We're talking amazing club-worthy cocktails. Gellan gum, one can. Iota carrageenan. Kappa carageenan. We got it all here. Oh yeah, and one can of popping sugar. That's right, popping sugar. Get that tongue fizz going with your very own popping sugar. Over a pound, people. But that's not all. Oh no, folks. If you buy this Molecular Gastronomy Professional Pack, you'll also be getting a set of your very own “molecular tools” thrown in “free.” And a 50-recipe DVD. But that's not all. We're also hooking you up — for “free” — with a 30-recipe cocktail DVD too. Thrill your friends. Make your neighbors jealous. Buy now!
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