The ‘kitchen hack’ is not a new concept

I have to admit that I am a sucker for any post that comes through my social media describing a kitchen hack. Only a few of them ever end up in my personal arsenal, the rest being either more work than the original method or merely ineffective. Still, the allure of a time- or gadget-saving process always grabs my attention. That’s why I had to click on a recent story from NPR’s The Salt, which discusses the spirit of innovation inherent in kitchen hacks.

The story recalls one of the first published hacks, from Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe. In the book, Crusoe makes strainers from neckcloths, a mortar and pestle from fallen tree branches, and bakes his bread in rough clay pans that he fashions from the soil.

Fast forward a few centuries, and we find people who use wine bottles as makeshift rolling pins (been there, done that), the bottoms of coffee cups as knife honing devices, helmets as deep frying vessels, kitchen shears as garlic peelers (shown above and discussed here), and well-washed rice bags as jelly strainers. There’s no telling what cooking hacks will be found in the next 300 years.

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