Shake-it (josephjoseph.com, £15), is a hemispheric woven mesh and frame. Reverberating the handle within its loose rubber cuff encourages granular food through the holes.
I see you, baby, shaking that aspect of yourself you no longer like.
Matron, close the door – today I’ll be talking with weird intensity about sieves, and I don’t want anyone leaving. For me, sieves are revelatory objects – think about archaeologists crouched over dino bones, or frontiersmen sifting silt for gold. It’s the same in the kitchen – the draining of cooked food is an absolute bore, but the sifting of dry delights me. Ingredients that call for it (eg, icing sugar, flour, cocoa powder) are gorgeous company anyway.
But it’s the metaphor I’m hooked on. Sifting food feels like winnowing out all but its soul. Taking something fine, and making it finer still, almost weightless; it is, in essence, transcendental. Don’t we yearn for similar refinement? (If people say you have a mind like a sieve, there is no higher compliment.)
This week’s device is a self-tapping sieve called Shake-it, and it “has a rocking handle”. It doesn’t sound like nirvana. It sounds like a busker’s gadget, to file with harmonica holders, and leg-strapped cymbals. Why self-tapping? Does it keep a beat while you caterwaul through Wonderwall? Does it come with Bob Marley guitar tabs or Spandau Ballet lyrics? In fact, the handle is loosely housed in a hard rubber sheath, which it knocks against as you shake – breaking up flour clumps and sifting them, while freeing up your other hand for whatever.
It is not a refined instrument to hold. It’s weighty, with chunky handle and thick bezel. But the largeness is useful, and the metal mesh is small, even and holds its concavity. How about in use – sift of serenity or fist of fury? Definitely the former. It’s good for macaronage, or recipes that need continuous stirring. It’s good for you, full stop. Now, I have heard some luddites question the necessity of sifting at all, but I’m prepared to die on this hill. Those who already own a sieve don’t need to run to the shops. But those who don’t, do. If you’re prospecting, here be gold. Gold! Always believe in your soul.
Slightly concerned about getting carpal tunnel. I need to remind myself to shake it only on special occasions, not every day.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
On the counter, patting itself on the back. 4/5