The right tool for the right job | Living with Gleigh

My husband always has the tools he needs to work on cars and random house projects; if he doesn’t he buys a new one. In fact, if he needs a tool, but can’t find it in his messy shop, he buys another one. He insists he needed to upgrade anyway; I’m not sure who he’s trying to convince, I’m not a hard sell.

My husband always has the tools he needs to work on cars and random house projects; if he doesn’t he buys a new one. In fact, if he needs a tool, but can’t find it in his messy shop, he buys another one. He insists he needed to upgrade anyway; I’m not sure who he’s trying to convince, I’m not a hard sell.

I don’t fuss over my husband buying tools because it gives me footing for my love of kitchen gadgets – the right tool for the right job, right? I love kitchen tools and I can always justify them because I cook most nights of the week, especially during the school year when everyone wants to come home to the home fires burning and dinner on the stove. But this column isn’t about my cooking or my cooking skills, it’s about the right tool for the right job.

Not only do I believe if my husband can have the right tools for “guy projects,” I can have the right tools for my kitchen, but I can also have the right tools for our RV. Let’s face it, I still do the cooking when we are “vacationing.” And I have the right tools in the RV because if I’m technically on vacation, why should I have to suffer trying to cook with tools I cast off from my kitchen when I replaced them with quality tools?

Unlike my husband, when I buy a new tool I have a rule it has to have a place to live before I can have it. So whether I have an idea in my head of an empty storage place or I’m replacing something else with the new tool, I know it can be put away. Although some castoffs have made it to the RV, because they may suit the needs of camp ground cooking, I have often bought good tools for the RV.

I have a repertoire of recipes I cook over and over because my family likes them, but sometimes I get bored, like I was last week. I either tried new recipes or I resurrected some I had forgotten. I had some tri-tip beef strips and remembered a simple recipe a co-worker had given me (back in the day when I actually worked for a living). You just put the beef in the crockpot with a can or two of Italian stewed tomatoes. It’s very yummy served over rice or pasta. But I had a couple issues. I had no Italian stewed tomatoes, but I had diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning, problem solved. The other problem I had was it was still frozen and I didn’t have the time to thaw it in the microwave as I was running out the door to an appointment.

Normally, frozen meat is not an issue for me because I just throw it into the crockpot frozen, add all the other ingredients and it just adds an hour or two extra time to the cooking process. Beef strips cook rather quickly anyway, but the whole thing frozen was a large square and would not fit in my oblong crockpot.

As I gazed at my really good knives (right tool), wondering which one would pry the pieces apart the best, I spied the one I used the last time I tried to pry frozen meat apart. Its tip had broken off in the process. I grabbed one of my newer knives thinking maybe they were stronger than the one that had broken and just got a really bad feeling about trying it again so I gave up on that idea.

I took a minute to consider what I was going to do. Then I did what every other red blooded American woman would do. I placed the square on a cutting board on the counter, went to my laundry hall and grabbed the hammer that was hanging next to my mop and broom. I went back into the kitchen and wacked the square of beef strips. Just like that I had two rectangles of frozen beef strips that would fit into my crockpot.

The right tool for the right job, indeed.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com.

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