Sunday, January 06, 2008

Eggbeaters and fry-pans

On that short shopping expedition yesterday we were all looking for different things. I was pretty sure the two things I wanted would not be available, but I am not often in that area so it was worth checking, just in case.

The two things I was looking for are extremely domesticated and ordinary, and not at all urgent. They are just things that I want to get AT SOME POINT, and now and again I get a bee in my bonnet about it because I cannot believe that in this country where you can buy ANYTHING you cannot easily find –

1) An eggbeater. And no, I do not mean an electric eggbeater. I mean an ordinary eggbeater. And no, I do not mean a whisk, either. We HAVE a whisk. We also have an eggbeater, actually, but it is not a good one. Sometimes it jams. I bought that eggbeater here, and the shop where I bought it has since closed and I CANNOT FIND ANOTHER EGGBEATER. How do Japanese people beat eggs? How do they make custard?

2) A fry-pan that is NOT coated with that horrible non-stick stuff. I hate those things, and refuse to use them. We have a wok that is non-non-stick, but that is too big, and our old wonderful little fry-pan, which had become utterly perfect from years of use, has an irrevocably broken handle. The bit where the handle fits in is broken as well. It has been mended countless times, and it has given up the ghost.

I am prepared to admit that my aversion to non-stick fry-pans is not entirely rational. It has very little to do with the various rumours and reports questioning the safety of the coatings and more to do with the built-in obsolescence (at least when I use them). I resent having to replace a fry-pan every couple of years. It makes me get all stroppy. WHY SHOULD I? Fry-pans should last twenty years, AT LEAST.

Yesterday I found two non-non-stick fry-pans, and the prices made me gasp. I was prepared to buy one anyway, but the big one was too big and the small one was too small. I want a fry-pan that is exactly the right size, and not coated with that non-stick rubbish.

Why is it that what used to be an ordinary fry-pan in the good old days has become so damned expensive? How come the non-stick stuff wears off the non-stick fry-pans? Where does that stuff go? Do we eat it? I do not want to eat non-stick stuff. I do not want to buy a new fry-pan every time the old one starts looking grotty. I want an ordinary fry-pan that will last twenty years and be nice to cook with. Not that I'm a good cook, but I was USED to our old fry-pan. Things very rarely stuck, and when they did, they could be removed without too much trouble.

Actually, The Man tells me it is easy to find an non-non-stick fry-pan. You just have to go to the right, specialized part of town where they sell equipment for restaurants, because professional chefs use non-non-stick fry-pans. That's where he got the old one, about twenty years ago.

Before you tell me about the wonders of online shopping, yes, I know that I can probably get both of these things online. But that would be too easy. Buying these things IN JAPAN has become a sort of challenge I have set myself, mostly because it annoys me so much. And anyway, as I said, these are not urgent necessities. I just look when I happen to be in an area where there are shops that might have them. It gives me something to get irate about.

Yesterday I got irate, in a very enjoyable way. I also amazed my friends, who had not realized that egg-beaters were so hard to find.

I was also going to write about what terrible shoppers those particular friends are, and how I discovered why they are always complaining about being short of money, but now I find I can't be bothered. Apparently I can only get irate about two things at a time, and right now eggbeaters and fry-pans are it.


akikana said...

Egg beating: I (English) use a fork, my wife (Japanese) uses chopsticks.

torrygirl said...

I had the same problem when buying pans - I didn't want Teflon coated pans, but the non-non-stick ones were all insanely expensive.

I ended up buying ones that have a non-stick coating, but not the Teflon or whatever it is that wears off - I think it's hard anodised. Plus as a bonus they were really cheap because there's a factory outlet not far from us where they sell them at about 75% off retail.

Hope you manage to find the kind that you're after!

Badaunt said...

Akikana: But what if you want to beat egg whites stiff? Doesn't it take forever? And what if you are making custard? If you make custard in the amounts I usually make it (when I make it) it would take half a day to beat the eggs into the milk using a fork or a whisk!

Torrygirl: I suspect the non-non-stick fry-pans work out cheaper if you count in how often you have to replace a coated fry-pan, actually. But it feels madly excessive when you're actually forking over the cash.

(I wonder what 'hard anodised' actually means?)

Ian said...

The big one is too big and the little one is too small, it sounds a little like Goldylocks to me. :-)

In Kyoto there are many small stores that sell handcrafted goods, subsidized by the govt to keep the craft alive, I'm sure you could find exactly what you want there.

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

What's an eggbeater look like? Is that one of those things with the handle that you turn around and it has beaters like a mixmaster?

Badaunt said...

That sounds right - like this, only I prefer the ones with the handle at the side.

I know I can find an electric one, but I don't WANT an electric one. That's overkill for the amount I use it.

akikana said...

For ¥2,268 you can get an egg beater from Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku. Saw one yesterday (they had plenty in stock). If you would like one then drop me a line.

Badaunt said...

Akikana: It's not urgent, really, but I'll keep your kind offer in mind if it becomes urgent. Also, I'll check out the Tokyu Hands in Kobe sometime and see if they have one. (The Osaka one didn't have one - I checked already.) And there are some kitchen supply places in Kobe I haven't checked yet, either.

I'm just surprised at how rare they are!