Saturday, 5 December 2009
OXO Good Grips Kitchen Equipment
I love kitchen gadgets. Especially when you see something that you've survived perfectly well without for over 30 years then suddenly think you absolutely must have it in your kitchen to be able to cook. Unfortunately most gadgets don't really work or they're not quite as good as you first imagined or the novelty wears off after five minutes and they end up collecting dust in the back of your kitchen drawer.
Well, Oxo Good Grips (nothing to do with Oxo stock cubes, by the way !) have absolutely loads of gadgets - over 900 in fact - that really do work. Things that are so sensible and time-saving and practical and efficient that you just think, why hasn't someone come up with this product years, if not decades, ago ?! Admittedly, they are not totally indispensable - I've managed without them up to now after all - but they do save time and effort for those annoying day-to-day jobs in the kitchen and around the house.
Just take one example - making fruit salad. Every summer, we eat loads of fresh fruit salad in our house. The girls love it and it's a great way of upping their 5-a-day fruit-and-veg count. It's not hard to make but there are certain fruit that are a pain to do - things like strawberries, cherries, grapes - things that go all squishy and stain your fingers bright red. Well, I really can't wait for next summer when I'll be able to try out two brand-new gadgets that look brilliant - firstly a strawberry huller. Even my dad was impressed with that one - "ooh look, a little tool for getting the manky bits off strawberries without squishing them and getting covered in juice" ! And a mango-splitter - pure genius ! I know how to prepare a mango - I've followed the instructions about criss-crossing the flesh then turning the skin inside out but it's always really awkward trying to get the stone out of the middle. You get there in the end but it takes a lot of effort and the juice goes absolutely everywhere. Well, I'm intrigued to see how well this ingenious little contraption deals with it.
If it's anything like the apple divider, it will be fabulous. In one push, you have an apple that is not only cored but also cut into bite-sized segments. That is such a timesaver and cuts out absolutely loads of tedious chopping. I can now prepare an apple onehanded while dealing with Pierre, which was totally impossible before. Even the girls can manage to use it, it really is simple and comfortable to use and it cuts through the apple flesh really easily (just keep your fingers out of the way, you don't want it cutting through human flesh as well !) A quick rinse and it's clean and ready to use for next time. The girls call it "the magic apple cutter" and have been asking to use it almost every day since it's been here (until the apples ran out anyway !).
That's the beauty of these products. They are actually useful - unlike lots of gadgets - and they can be used by the kids to help you out in the kitchen, often avoiding the use of sharp knives or dangerous implements.
That is, in actual fact, the guiding principle of Oxo Good Grips. "OXO is based on the concept of Universal Design. But what is Universal Design and how does it benefit users? In simplest terms, Universal Design means the design of products useable by as many people as possible. In the case of OXO, it means designing products for young and old, male and female, left- and right- handed and many with special needs." They tell a lovely story on their website about how they keep a constant visual reminder of this in their office. "Have you ever seen a single glove on the street and wondered who lost it? We have too. As a reminder of who we are designing products for, OXO employees collect lost gloves around New York City and around the world. These gloves are prominently displayed at our office as a reminder of the different hands our products need to comfortably fit - large, small, male, female, young, old and in between." It may sound silly but the idea originally came about from necessity. "OXO was founded in 1990 by Sam Farber on the principle of universal design. After witnessing his wife Betsy struggle using everyday kitchen utensils due to a mild case of arthritis, he was inspired to develop a range of tools that were easy to use for the largest spectrum of people."
That really is the best thing about these gadgets. I've already mentioned that they are great for kids to use, but they would also be brilliant for the elderly or those with reduced mobility. One product that really leapt out at me with that "I really really need this, why has it only just been invented ?" lightning bolt is the Angled Measuring Cup. You can read it from above so you no longer have to bend down to read the measurements. I appreciate the less-effort aspect and I don't have any joint pain or mobility issues, so it would be an absolute godsend for older people. Similarly, they have a Step & Sweep Dust Pan that has a foot pedal to make it easier to sweep up. And a whole range of Soap-Squirting Dish Sponges, Brushes and Scrubbers that avoid having to manipulate awkward bottles of washing-up liquid.
If you're a bit of a gadget-freak, I strongly recommend you go and have a browse through their extensive range. You're guaranteed to find loads of things to make you go hmmm (although I'm sure the original song wasn't about kitchen utensils !). There really are inventions I'd have never dreamed up in a million years. I'll definitely have a good look in Lakeland at the whole range next time we go to Bluewater - I want to see what a Lasagne-turner looks like and I'm sure I really really NEED a jar spatula, for getting the last bits of mayonnaise or nutella out of the jar !
star rating : 5/5
The OXO range is widely available through a selection of national retailers including Lakeland, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Amazon, Dunelm, Selfridges and other leading cook shops
For more information :
http://www.oxo.com/ - the American website to see the products
or just type in "OXO Good Grips" to http://www.lakeland.co.uk/ or http://www.amazon.co.uk/