Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Low-tech Happiness

Handmade basics are offered at breathtaking prices in British Conde' Nast's "World of Interiors", the glossy shelter of choice around here. Four figures for a pair of scissors is not on my current shopping list, although if it included the services of a skilled cutler, my blink rate might decline a little. Fostering that level of iron work is not a trivial service to the culture. I'm still using a pair of scissors my great-grandmother brought from Sweden. They're of a size to have been useful when my hands were four years old, and they're still my go to for nearly every cutting need. The cost per use of even four figures would be trivial in such a case.

I recently passed great-grandmother's nickel steel frying pan to a young cousin. Dating to around 1895, it has been in daily use. Again, the cost per use is trivial. The thing could not have been inexpensive when it was new. It first saw service in a homestead log cabin on the Olympic Peninsula. That neck of the local woods appreciates solid quality. Back in the day, the lines of supply went around the tip of South America or Africa or straight across the continent. Being able to field a hot meal over an open fire was a matter of life and death. Having one's hands on a relatively lightweight and unquestionably well-balanced skillet was no small advantage. Recovering from a broken wrist brought the value of the design home in no uncertain terms.  My experience of first-rate cookware is that the high end low-tech stuff is even better in the field than on an induction surface.

I like to furnish the house with a solid base of low-tech essentials, because there's no knowing when low-tech might be the only option. Traditional designs respect the hand and make the most of its energy-30-

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