Flea Market Find: Tala Cook’s Measure

Once again, a well-timed visit to the Street of Shops has paid off handsomely for me. Some of you (the select few who have been to my house; don’t be creepy) may recognize this from its spot of honor on my kitchen shelf because I’ve had this little beauty for a while, but I haven’t posted about it yet. There’s no time like the present to show the world how much I adore world’s grooviest measuring cup.

I love this thing so much I want to hug it.

I love this thing so much I want to hug it.

For those of us not living in the UK (or other countries in which this fine piece of equipment is sold), this vintage (1950s or 1960s? I can’t quite figure out the era) cup is a total novelty and a swoonworthy piece of streamlined practicality. Made by Tala, a UK baking-equipment manufacturing company that’s been around since the 1920s, this calibrated cup lets you measure practically everything, so long as you have an eyeball and a hearty shake.

EVERYTHING.

I can never remember this stuff on my own. Seriously. It's like the measurement conversion information storage in my brain is comprised of sticky notes with no stick. You can teach me measurements all you want, but at some point the information will detach and float away.

I can never remember this stuff on my own. Seriously. It’s like the kitchen measurement  storage area in my brain is comprised of sticky notes with almost no stick. You can teach me measurements all you want, but at some point the information will detach and float away.

How it made the journey from the UK to the US…I have no idea. Who am I to judge? But I was more than happy to snatch it up for a whopping THREE DOLLARS and add one more gorgeous powder-blue-silver piece of retro kitsch to my collection. Some day, I will have the Kitchen of the Future which will, ironically, be entirely vintage. Tala’s Cook’s Measure will look slick next to my longed-for future Kitchen-Aid stand mixer in “Ice”.

SLICK, I tell you.

SLICK, I tell you.

*cough cough* Just saying. 🙂 Kitchen-Aid people…call my people.

I’m off to a new thrift store later today…who knows that treasures that may bring?  

The Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer

My mother’s neighbor recently moved, and thanks to circumstances beyond the neighbor’s control (advanced age, limited living space, a bossy daughter) much of her non-essential belongings ended up stacked four feet high and three feet deep on her curb in anticipation of their final ride in the garbage truck.  It would have been a shame to have let all her items go unappreciated.  It was a whole lifetime of stuff she’d acquired over the years–furniture, glassware, cookware, tchotchkes.  Of course I raided the stacks and quite frankly, I made out like a bandit.  I got a heavy, lidded roasting pan, a white vinyl step stool that I would say is retro only it’s been with the original owner for about fifty years so that’s…what?…ahh, vintage.  I took so much stuff my boyfriend had to pack the car like it was a giant 3-D puzzle.  Among my favorite things (it’s a toss-up with the step stool) is the Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer.

Swoon.

Let me repeat that.  It is a FOOD.  GLAMORIZER.  Who doesn’t want glamorous food which would then, of course, make you all that much more glamorous by association?  Made by Feature Products of Chicago, Illinois in 1963, the Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer is one glorious streamlined nugget of space-age technology, and ought to be a mandatory component in the tool belt of any domestic goddess.  Look at all it offers.

A masterpiece of culinary multitaskery!

A masterpiece of culinary multitaskery!

If only it sliced, diced, and julienned.

IMG_0016
View One: Strip Cutter, Vegetable Scraper/Shredder and Peeler

Would you like to peel strips of zest off your lemons with ease?  Create carrot curls?  Shred cabbage?  Let the Food Glamorizer help!  And note how the handle slides neatly over the end not in use, to protect wifely hands while making radishes look like rosettes.  Because who doesn’t want their radishes to look like rosettes?  Let’s try, shall we? Using the Strip Cutter, the notch right at the very end of the Glamorizer, you pull down the sides of your radishes and then…

Ehrm...uh...oooOOoooOoo!

Ehrm…uh…oooOOoooOoo!

OK, OK.  This one sort of looks like I’ve stuck an aorta onto the back end of my radish.  Maybe the results with the vegetable scraper will be better.

HAHAHA!  No.

HAHAHA! No.

Mmmm, beeee-yooo-teeeee-ful!

Or, actually, opposite.  I admit, this one sort of looks like I’ve retrieved it from an early journey into the garbage disposal.  Or that I’ve surrounded it in raw chopped meat.  I can’t decide which is less appealing.  They’re both innately wrong.

I won’t trifle with you all regarding the vegetable peeler.  I assume you all know how to peel things.  It’s time to flip the handle and see the other design elements incorporated into the Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer.

Fancy Cutter: Notice the detail!

View Two: Fancy Cutter. Notice the detail!

Behold how the handle flips around and fits easily over either end!  When you have the peeler end covered, it makes for an incredibly comfortable grip for your Kitchen Magician Pocket Shiv.

Well, you tell me what you’re going to use that for.

No, I kid!  It’s not intended for use in stealthy prison murders.  It’s the Fancy Cutter. It’s for fancy cutting!  Let’s see what this baby can do.

Oh, OK, that looks kind of all right.

Oh, OK, that looks kind of all right.

Only…

No it doesn't.

No it doesn’t.

Do note: it’s surprisingly sharp and goes into vegetables like they were made of butter.  This poor, mutilated radish was the result of some only slightly too angled initial cuts.

Sigh.  I thought gadgetry was supposed to make the domestic goddess’s life easier.  I thought I’d be making radish rosettes and harlequined lemons in no time!  Instead, this Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer is more like a Kitchen Barbarian Food Brutalizer.  No wonder it didn’t become standard household equipment.  I wonder how many housewives of 1963 felt bad about themselves because they were serving their families inadequately glammed-up food?  O, the many perils of womanhood!  Frankly, I’m going to be too busy making food that is beautiful of its own accord to devote my time and energies into mastering the Food Glamorizer, no matter how glamorous that may seem.  But you know what?

It looks kitschtastic when proudly and eye-catchingly displayed on my cookbook shelf.  What more could I possibly ask of it?

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