At some point I must have told my friends and family that I’ve got a soft spot for the bright, bold and gloriously gimmicky line of kitchen gadgets designed by brothers Richard and Antony Joseph because, despite never buying a single item from their vast range, my kitchen seems to be full of utensils baring the Joseph Joseph stamp. Having recently started the inevitable spring clean and come to realise just how many of their innovative implements I own and how often they get used, I thought I’d round them all up and write about which tools are genuinely amazing timesavers and which are merely pretty gadgets.
The Lotus is certainly one of the weirder looking additions to the Joseph Joseph collection with the appearance of a blooming flower when it’s opened and a 1950s martian lander when it’s folded up on itself. In reality it’s actually a contraption for converting any saucepan into a steamer; just fill the pan with an half an inch of water, drop the lotus in there and it’ll adjust to fit pan. Fill the basket with veg and steam as usual.
Awesomely useful if your kitchen lacks a steamer and you’re fed up with soggy broccoli, pointless if you already own a fancy standalone steamer, plus even though the gadget will adjust in size there’s never going to be enough room to steam more than four portions of veg at once.
Yes, it’s a lemon squeezer. It’s a little pointless unless you’re like me and seem to use lemon juice as seasoning on any and every dish as soon as it starts to get sunny outside! It’s quick and easy to use with two hands, the Joseph Joseph gimmick comes with the baseball mitt shaped scoop that catches any pips whilst letting the juice pour into whatever you’re making. Picking a pip out of a dish is hardly the biggest problem you’ll ever face in the kitchen, but at least with this you’ll never have to worry about it again.
A battery powered pepper grinder is one of those things I’ve never needed and never thought about buying, but as soon as I was gifted one I swore to never manually grind pepper like a chump again. It helps as well that the Joseph Joseph grinder is a thing of futuristic beauty; it looks like a pepper grinder designed by Apple and wouldn’t be out of place aboard the spaceships of 2001:A Space Odyssey. You simply squeeze the white plastic peeling from the top of the device and it simultaneously levers open the hidden bottom and starts the grinding motor, very simple and elegant. Despite it’s slick design it’s very easy to refill with pepper and batteries, but unless you’re really that stick of twisting grinders I would add it to your amazon wish-list rather than impulse buying it now.
Before heading off to university I managed to pick up a few tips; poached eggs can make up an entire dinner, lunchables do not count as lunch and when making spaghetti a portion is about as big as a fifty pence piece. The latter is of course only of use when you’re making a meal for one, so in steps Joseph Joseph to let you know exactly how much will feed your spagbol craving dinner guests. Or at least it would if the plasticly apature that dictates the amount to measure clicked into position, instead the dial seems to move as soon as pressure is applied to it, meaning that you’re still left with a rough guestimate of how much pasta to add to the pan. If you’re delicate with the gizmo it does work, but even then I find the portion sizes it suggests are always way too measly. Stick with a 50p.
Elevate Kitchen Tools
These aren’t cheap, but they’re certainly the bit of Joseph Joseph kit that gets the most use in the kitchen. They’re gorgeous, light, easy to clean and come in all sorts of variations so that you’ll never be caught out missing whatever shaped tool is required for the job. The Joseph Joseph magic comes in a ridiculously simple addition of a little nub of plastic underneath the handle which is balanced just right so that when it’s left on the kitchen side the business end of the implement hovers above the kitchen surface, rather than resting on it. It instantly stops mess and adds a bonus level of food hygiene, clever stuff.
The only major downside is that they’re not made of the hardiest materials, the most-used pink spoon has plenty of dents in it and the green spatula now looks like it’s been dipped in battery acid, they’re still useful, but it looks like they won’t last forever.
The sheer amount of scars on this thing is a testament to how often it gets used. I’m always a little sad when it’s sitting dirty on the side and I’m forced to use a ‘regular’ chopping board because the Rinse & Chop is not only a huge and light cutting surface, but it’s one that folds up on itself and lets you chuck the contents into a pan without any of the delicate scrapping and inevitable spilling & dropping that I’m used too. It’s designed to function as a kind of colander to quickly was what you’ve just chopped, but really that’s a superfluous feature, the joy comes from quickly folding it up and funnelling ingredients into a pan without any hassle.
Joseph Joseph’s bold block colours and eccentric yet useful designs probably aren’t for everyone. Their pricing always seems to be a little high too, especially in department stores and on their own online site, but a little searching around can of save you some significant amounts. Yet I still really like almost everything the brand produces, they are essentially kitchen toys for grown-ups, bright, useful and more fun to use that their more uniform relatives. If you need any convincing pick yourself up one of their Elevate spoons and see if you can ever go back to dropping dirty wooden spoons on your kitchen surfaces again.
This post was written as an entry to the Morphy Richards Innovators competition.