Linda Rumbles, managing director and chief cook and bottle washer at Dawn Til Dusk Cafe and Family Restaurant in Te Awamutu, tells Chris Gardner why her favourite gadget is something you'd never expect to find in a kitchen - a paint scraper!
Why is it your favourite gadget?
It all started pretty much back in the day before sophisticated barbecue cleaning tools were ever invented. It's become a bit of a family tradition - one we're sure will continue to be handed down through the generations, so it has some sentimental value as well as being just about the best tool for scraping our hotplates clean.
We all like it because the wooden handle means it stays cool - when you spend as long in front of a hotplate as commercial chefs or cooks do, they'll tell you it gets damn hot there! So the fact we can pick it up without worrying about whether the handle's too hot to touch is great. (And safe. Imagine how many forms we'd have to fill out if we burnt ourselves.)
The other thing we like about it is its size - it's small and light enough to be handling often. Regardless of who needs to use it - even my husband, Murray, with his man-size hands, finds it comfortable. Purpose-built barbecue designer scrapers are too big and heavy for us.
Another thing we like is that it's flat. That probably sounds silly, but designer tools are all bent and trendily shaped - for us those shapes don't work. We need something flat.
Also, nothing sticks to it! It's not nonstick in the Teflon sense but it's stick-free. This means, for example, we can clean up fried egg from the hotplate nice and easy and the egg won't stick to the paint scraper.
How do you use it?
We use it to clean the hotplates - as we cook. Think of your barbecue's flat plate at home - that's what one of our cooking surfaces is. After each meal we cook - think fried onions, steak and fried egg - the plate needs to be cleaned up before the next meal so there's no residue from one meal to the next.
What could make it better?
Even though we prefer the paint scraper over designer barbecue tools, if it had a knife edge to it that would certainly be useful - but we've got plenty of excellent quality knives on hand in the kitchen so that's not really a biggie.