pressing matters

The culinary value of pressed garlic might be overrated. Most of the time, I am fine with chopped garlic, which sautés nicely. Pressed garlic has, of course, gotten special fame as translucent yellow blobs on takeaway pizza. Sometimes, we just don’t want sauteed garlic. I make tsatsiki with raw, pressed garlic. When I’m about to get a cold, I fill a bowl with yogurt, salt it and add some oil, and press three to five cloves of garlic into it (I never get colds). Pressed garlic is good in soups. Anyway, I do own a garlic press.

The act of pressing garlic brings back long-lost melodies of adolescence. Scritch. The presser’s gleeful thrill carries a note of benevolent aggression. Gotcha, clove.

Consequently, a garlic press has a hard life. I once owned one of the brand Brabantia. They make the garlic-end of their press out of two parts, a frame and the part with the holes. The latter can be removed and cleaned separately. The whole is assembled in thick stainless steel. With use, the steel frame bent and eventually the whole press became useless, because half of the clove would stay in it unpressed. Good design, but too weak.

So I quested for a new press and stumbled upon the OXO Good Grips press, which has the fantastic feature of flip-overability combined with plastic pins on its back that push the garlic remains out of the press-holes for cleaning. Marvelous design. But good grips is for people with painful hands. Their tools have nice, soft and big rubber handles. In sympathy with their clientele, they have weak joints. The hinges of mine just popped apart after a few weeks of use. Don’t tell me that Swedish garlic is tougher.

Now I have a press made by the Swedish company Sveico, a traditional no-nonsense sturdy-is-best product that consists of two parts and a hinge. I also bought a stiff hand brush that got its own hook beside the sink and is used for pushing the garlic remnants out of the sieve of the press. The press has the humble appeal of a nutcracker from NoDesignistan and it has stayed whole for an amazing eight years, in spite of my periodic pressing attacks. What more do I want?

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