Category Archives: utensils

Kopi Cup Kaw-Kaw

In the good old times before coffeeshops became coffeehouses, we could get real good kopi, kaw-kaw or otherwise, without having to demolish our bank accounts. 

Best of all, while paying only 10 sen or so, our daily perk-up came in dignified porcelain cups, each graced elegantly with a matching saucer.  And those cups were also very kaw (meaning thick).  I was told that the thick cups was to minimize heat loss from the drink. 

These days, at the so-called upmarket coffee outlets, one has to pay a fistful of dollars to get some coffee-looking/smelling liquid with some out-of-this-world unpronounceable names that is served in crass paper cups, or worse, in uncouth health-destroying polyfoam ones.  Sadly, there is no lack of eager victims.  What to do? 

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Squeeze Me Baby With All Your Might

Rummaging through my kitchen cabinet one day, I found this piece of magnificent ancient glassware. I guess it must have been with us for the last 4 decades or so – I might as well call it an artefact instead.

I am not sure what its correct name is – shall I call it Manual Juicer?

That same day I got hold of a couple of oranges, slit them in halves and then revived my hand muscles to get the juice flowing.  Man, it was hard work – I really had to squeeze the fruit halves with all my might, while simultaneously rotating them around.

I remember it was a rather easy job 40 years ago.  But this time round, my hand joints felt sore, and I had to rub in some analgesic balm afterwards for relief.  

Thick & Thin

Her name is Stone, Whet Stone.   I just realized that abrasive gal at the corner of the kitchen sink has been with us for the past 32 years, having followed us in our migration from Penang to Singapore.

A faithful companion I would say, having not only stuck by us through Thick and Thin,but also gone from Thick to Thin over the past 3 decades.  Well she is more curvy now for sure.

I wonder how the modern folks sharpen their knives these days ?  I know of several contraptions that came and went, but as for me, I am still stone-age.

I might have to get a replacement soon before the old faithful breaks into two; perhaps should send her by Poslaju to Easter Island as her final resting place.

Empty Vessels Made Most Sound

Obviously, these vessels could make a huge din when struck – not in the least because they had been made most sound, by skillful craftsmen of old.

In small towns and even kampongs throughout the country, one could find at least a couple of tinsmiths – whose imaginative minds and skillful hands could fashion anything out of sheet metal.    Galvanized iron, aluminium, copper, brass – these were cut into shapes for ‘development’ followed by folding, bending and rolling, plus rivetting and soldering.

Alas, the advent of cheap plastics and big factories has practically silenced this time-honored industry.

Brush From The Past

Those were the days before plastics invaded planet Earth. Remember these brushes ?  Let me share a blast from the past.

They were used by practically every household for scrubbing laundry, kitchen sinks, floors, dishes, shoes, etc. The brown ones were softer than the black ones.   The latter were used mainly to tackle stubborn stains and deeply-entrenched grime from all kinds of surfaces.

I learned that the brown ones were made from coconut tree fibres – can anyone verify that ? Am not so sure what the black ones were made of.

Anyway, these days, the black ones seem very difficult to find.

The Pan Is Mightier Than The Wok

So goes the saying (or something like that, memory not so good now).

Say what you like, I Disagree. The Wok ruled and, still rules, in my family’s kitchen for generations. Stir-fry, deep-fry, steam, even panggang, anything dead or alive from the surface of the earth, the air above, or under the sea…and, the results have always been excellent bar none. No arguments!

My first encounter with the Pan was only a couple of years back, and it turned out to be an unhappy affair.  Tsk, tsk, I cannot understand how this western imitation with many limitations is able to capture the imagination of the modern generation. 

Meanwhile, will this story set off a kitchen war? Kling klang.