THEN When I was still doing direct patient care, one particularly grateful person gifted me with a basic OXO peeler. It might seem a strange choice – most patient gifts to nurses are a box of Russel Stovers or maybe a crystal vase or candy dish at Xmas time – but this woman was all about home and family and we’d had some casual kitchen-oriented discussions during our time together.
This peeler is one of the best things I’ve ever owned. She gave it to me somewhere around 1999 or 2000. We’ve given it quite a workout between then and now. It’s remarkably comfortable and well worth the ~$7 it cost at the time when basic metal peelers cost less than $2. I just used it yesterday to peel some carrots and cucumbers and it is as sharp as it was the first time I used it.
The same peeler, design unchanged, is still being sold for $9. It’s the leader in a collection of specialty peelers that OXO makes now. I can’t vouch for the durability or longevity of the modern peelers – it doesn’t make business sense to create an item that never needs replacing – but I fully expect to go to my grave with my original OXO swivel peeler still in use.
NOW We’re very much into hard boiled eggs in this house. For most of our years as a family, we’ve depended on the basic white plastic egg slicer that you’d find hanging in a blister pack at the end of a supermarket aisle. We’d use them until and long after a wire would break or go wobbly, making for some interesting and annoying sliced eggs. We’d replace as needed with another of the same.
This last one served us until it had 3 missing wires. At about the same time, I became aware that OXO made and egg slicer but it was big and unweildly and cost $15.00. (You’d think I would have learned something from The Lesson OF The Peeler, wouldn’t you?) In the meantime, Sami was thinking along the same upgrade lines and one day came home with a red KitchenAid egg slicer. He used it once and declared that Kitchenaid should get out of the egg slicer business. I never used it. We devolved into using paring knife to hand slice eggs because he could not bring himself to use the bad slicer and I could not bring myself to spend $15.00 on a new one.
Lo and behold, Father’s Day rolled around this year and Sami received an OXO egg slicer and I tell you it changed our lives. The egg slicing part of our lives, anyway. This thing is a machine:
This thing is a true marvel. Check out the video here. Still big, still $15.00 but a master’s tool.
Between the earliest and the latest OXO gadget, I’ve accumulated many more – a jar opener, tongs, a whisk, meat ball scoops – and they never disappoint. Sam Farber died over the weekend. His NYT obituary features a picture of the basic peeler. He died without knowing how much pleasure I’ve gotten from that little peeler, to say nothing of the years of service.
“It’s hard to think of a vegetable peeler as radical,” Mr. Farber told The Los Angeles Times in 2000. “But I guess it was.”