My second favorite kitchen tool is a ball of string
Actually, this is a cone of cotton butcher's twine, and it's one of the the most useful (and under-rated) tools in a kitchen. Even before the economy tanked, I liked any cooking paraphernalia that I could get at a hardware store or that doubled as camping gear. (Uses for duct tape in the kitchen, anyone? Homeland Security?) String is great not just for practicing knots (see the chapter headings of Annie Proulx's "Shipping News") and cat's cradle, but for trussing chickens and tying up bouquet garnis and sachets. Wrap a roulade, tie a pork loin, section sausage links, string up a ham.
Chef Michel Richard's second cookbook, "Happy in the Kitchen,"(Want a copy? They have them at Citrus at Social.) has some awesome photographs of -- and recipes for -- what he does with string. (Richard is fantastic with plastic wrap too.) And here's a space (______________) for that string theory joke when you think of it.
Butcher's twine, 3,600 yards, $20.99 at Surfas Restaurant Supply, 8824 National Blvd., Culver City; (310) 559-4770.
-- Amy Scattergood
Photo: Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times