Review of the Kitchamajig: A Useful Vintage Utensil
What Is a Kitchamajig?
You may well ask. This is a kitchen tool that almost defies explanation, but I shall do my best!
The picture above is of my Kitchamajig. It looks old because it is. My mother gave it to me many years ago. I don't know where she got it from, and, since I don't remember us having it when I was a child, I don't know exactly how old it is. (Actually, I don't know even roughly how old it is!)
One of the Most Useful Kitchen Tools Imaginable
Whew! That's a lot I don't know. However, what I do know is that, in spite of not being the prettiest kitchen utensil around, it is definitely one of the most useful.
In fact, for someone starting out, such as a student leaving home for the first time, this would be just about the most useful kitchen tool imaginable. It truly is a multipurpose utensil, doing the jobs of at least 4 tools.
What Does It Do?
Mine even has its uses engraved into it, along with its name. According to the Kitchamajig itself, it:
It's a good job it had all those engraved on it, because otherwise I may well have just looked at it and at my mother and thought both were a little mad—and then I would have thrown it away. It just doesn't look like the most useful kitchen tool you could ever imagine, does it? And yet, I would not be without mine.
A Multipurpose Kitchen Utensil
Below are some examples of the many ways it is possible to use this tool:
- Mashing Potatoes
- Serving Food
- Straining Vegetables (and Other Foods)
- Beating Eggs
1. Mashing Potatoes
The Kitchamajig is great for mashing potatoes or other vegetables.
In the photo above and in the video at the end of this article, you can see how easily it deals with potatoes. My version of this has a metal handle, but most come with a solid handle made of either wood or plastic, which would make them easier to grip for mashing—although I don't really find my one's handle difficult at all.
2. Serving Food
If I use an ordinary masher for potatoes, I generally then switch to a spoon for serving. The shape of the Kithamajig means I don't need to do that. With its curved shape, it's just as good a server as a tablespoon. You might think that, since it is slotted, the food would fall through it, but for solid food like potatoes it's absolutely fine. (I wouldn't use it to serve soup or pasta sauce, though!)
We also use it as a server in its own right, for anything from French fries to cooked vegetables.
3. Straining Vegetables (and Other Foods)
This photo shows the Kitchamajig being used as a strainer to serve peas. I use mine daily for this purpose.
Because of the narrow slots, it can strain food as small as peas. Again, the curved shape is a boon, because it holds the food in place, whether small pieces or much larger items. It can even handle the vegetarian frankfurters we love to cook. (And it would cope just fine with non-veggie ones, too!)
A few days ago when we'd cooked some frankfurters for lunch, my daughter was standing at the sink with a heavy pan, about to attempt to pour off the water and looking a little worried. I handed her our Kitchamajig instead. It's so much easier, and the frankfurters end up on the plates instead of in the sink! It's also great for lifting poached eggs.
4. Beating Eggs
If you aren't poaching eggs, but beating them, the Kitchamajig is once again able to handle it. In fact, the first time I used mine, it was to beat eggs. It is somewhat like an oversized fork in its action, so you wouldn't use it to whip egg whites till stiff. (Although, to be honest, I have never tried, preferring to whip egg whites the lazy way with an electric beater, so I could be wrong on this.)
But for beating eggs for omelettes or for adding to muffin or cake mixes, the Kitchamajig does a perfectly good job of creating frothy eggs. (You can see the results in the video at the end.)
Downside of the Kitchamajig
To be honest, the only downside I know of the Kitchamajig is its name! It doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, and we generally call ours "the thing." (As in: "Use the thing to serve those frankfurters." Or: "Could you get the thing out of the drawer for these potatoes?")
Kitchamajig is equally tricky to type. Each time, I have had to think very carefully how to spell it, and generally it's taken 2 attempts at least! So, it's a very useful utensil, but not such a useful name. That's not a huge drawback, really.
Okay, So Where Can I Buy This Great Multipurpose Utensil?
Ah, perhaps there is another drawback to this extremely useful utensil. Mine, as you can see, is a vintage Kitchamajig. That's a fancy way of saying it's somewhat old, and a quick trawl through the internet shows that although Amazon and Buzzillions both advertise Kitchamajigs for sale, they aren't able to fulfill their promises.
Click on their links, and Buzzillions has nothing to offer us while Amazon has similar tools, but not the real thing. (Should we be worried that Amazon also offers us an "Ethical Chrome Litter Scoop with Plastic Handle"?)
Consider a Modern Alternative
However, all is not lost! A review on Amazon of the Chef Craft Select Skimmer by a satisfied Kitchamajig fan suggests it's just as good, so you could opt for that. This comes with a black plastic handle and is dishwasher safe.
For an Authentic Model, It's eBay to the Rescue
Or, if you want to be authentic and find a vintage model, eBay is the best place to look. Sadly (for me), the Kitchamajig is not so rare that it commands high prices, but for you that's good news, of course! If the version I own were a car, it would be the basic model, whereas those on eBay are the sports models, complete with fancy handles for extra mashing ease and speed!
Watch the Video of the Tool in Action
Finally, since it's one thing to tell you about something and quite another to show you it, I have made a short video to show how truly versatile this utensil is. So if you want to see the Kitchamajig in action, just click on the video below!