I start every morning with a fight. Not with my husband, but with the bottles of juices or jars of jam that are wound tighter than a losing football coach. My guess is that Hulk Hogan works in the test kitchens demonstrating how easy it is to twist off the top of midget-sized Ecuadorian pickles. I finally lost it after my husband tried to open a jar of spaghetti sauce, cracking the top of the glass jar and then saying to me, “We can still use it.”
If you are a woman who lives in the United States and sees herself as having extraordinary skills in the kitchen, you’ve probably made more than a few trips to Williams-Sonoma, the cooking equipment store with no small amount of snob appeal. At Williams-Sonoma, you can pick up those must-have cosas like a Shun Fuji chef’s knife ($250-$480), an end grain, cherry wood cutting board ($130-$230) and even some bargain items like a stainless steel garlic press ($45) or a real steal, the Rosle wire cheese slicer for only $30. (And who among us can live without a wire cheese slicer? First thing to take with you if the house catches fire.)
But myself, I don’t live in the States and I don’t fancy myself as a culinary goddess. I just wanted a way to open my jars! That’s why my most importante kitchen utensil is a simple pair of pliers you can buy in the hardware stores here for $3—vital for opening bottles and jars that are an insurmountable challenge for human hands. And my all-time favorite tool is the pair of channel-lock pliers (they open really wide) that I swiped from my husband’s tool box. He got them at Home Depot in the USA. I don’t know how much they cost, but if you are opening a jar of frutilla jam, the channel lock pliers are worth every penny.
The name for pliers, and the reason I shop for fancy kitchen utensils in the hardware store? Alicates.