of pronunciation and peelers


“Don’t fuck with my French, yo!”

I feel the need to publicly shame someone. How wonderful to have an internet medium seemingly designed expressly for this purpose!

So, the other day a friend and I went to a certain kitchen supply store in a certain hamlet located between Rosendale and Marbletown, New York (fun fact: said hamlet is “94.90% white,” as of the 2000 census. I’d venture a guess that 92.5 of those whities are former residents of the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, and this faggy flavor is what prevents the precious, richie town [excuse me, hamlet] from falling over the cliff into insufferability, in my mind.) My friend is in the market for a quality insulated travel mug, and I just like lusting after kitchen supplies and adjusting my mental wish list.

So there we were.

I asked the ultra-snooty store owner if he had a “chinoise.” His response: “You mean a chinois? I only order those around the holidays, I order two and they go fast. Do you want me to order one for you?”

No, I do not.

Because first of all the store, while pretty and whatnot, is aimed at city folk outfitting their zillion dollar upstate kitchens and I’m a damn commercial chef just trying to make my damn way in this hard cold world and really I was just browsing anyway, but also: you corrected my pronunciation, dude? For reals?

Two things:

1) How incredibly rude!! OK, if one of my clients asks me what is in a see-tan or keen-o-a, or tem-peh dish, I say “Sure, it has say-tan, and keen-wa, and tem-pay, and carrots and whatnot and it’s good and blah blah”—I just pronounce the words right, but I don’t correct them—argh! The snobbery! Who does that?*

2) The worst part is, of course, is that I am such a giant snob (also parce que I will be paying off my French minor for the next vingt ans) I have to point out here to the world that I was TOTES RIGHT!

I. Feel. So. Much. Better.

Well, just one more thing. I was also nosing around for a new peeler (after looking online for days and days for peeler blades that I could easily pop into my old peeler–why does this not exist? Have no peeler manufacturers ever had a conversation with any razor manufacturers? Could I somehow facilitate this talk?). Mr. Snob pointed me to two: a $15 monstrosity of clumsy design and heaviness, and the dreaded ceramic peeler.

I’m beginning to think I am the only person in the world who literally cannot make a ceramic peeler work. I’ve used two, and both were shamefully horrid. But other people seem to like them, so live and let live, I guess.

On the far other end of the spectrum, happily, is the Swiss Pro. If you’re looking for a dirt-cheap peeler that will never let you down, allow me to introduce you to Ms. Swiss Pro. She’s on a stamp in Switzerland, ok? That’s really all you need to know.

Of course, because no one sells them locally, I was recently forced to eBay my way to a fresh supply. See—I try to shop locally first, I swear.

Even when my intelligence is called into question.



*Actually, this ties into a problem I sometimes run into: people who chronically pronounce my name wrong. I try to correct people right away, but sometimes it gets away from me and months go by and I have to do what I had to do last week and set up a giant sting operation where I get any pals hanging around to yell out my name in front of the mispronouncer. It worked last week flawlessly, can you believe it? All fixed up. No awkwardness, no annoyances. Just a quick “HEY LAGUSTA!” yell from across the room.

11 Responses to “of pronunciation and peelers”

  1. ASB

    OMG Lagusta, the swiss pro peeler rocks. Before I even got to the pic I was going to tell you to get this one pronto. Believe it or not, this guy in a suit and tie (even in the summer) sells them on the street in NYC- sometimes in midtown, but usually in & around Washington Square Park. He has this awesome story too that of course I can’t remember right now, but he rocks & so do his peelers. Seriously, you can buy these as presents. Hope you didn’t pay too much on ebay since they’re very reasonable in person- it’s just difficult to track him down. Say, he should get a twitter account.

    • lagusta

      Hey! Yeah, I used to buy them from that dude…I think in Union Square. I thought I once read that he died, but maybe he or one of his protégés is still around? I remember he used to do crazy demonstrations on what the peeler could do that were astounding. Oh, NYC, I miss you…sometimes.

  2. brittany

    oh man hahahaha… i love this so much. i also love when i am doing my routine stalking, not expecting to see anything since the monday misc, and all of a sudden there are not one but two unscheduled wonderfuls! :)

    what’s so great about that peeler? it looks a helluva lot better than any i’ve ever used. just curious…

  3. Dani


    Ooh, recommendations of kitchen supplies from you are always welcome.

  4. Sara

    Check out Warren Kitchen & Cutlery in Rhinebeck. They have a lot of real world gear for real chefs. It’s a short drive over the bridge, but worth it.


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