544: Salad Spinners

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:00

Hi. I'm Matthew.

Molly 0:05

And I'm mom. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:05

this is spilled milk, the show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all. And you can't have any

Molly 0:10

today. Thanks to listener Beth, we are talking about salad spinners. Yeah.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:15

And I'm excited for this even though I don't own a salad spinner, although I think I used to let me start with memory lane. Okay. I think at one point, we had the Oxo salad spinner. And I think like it just didn't survive a move or a purge. At some point. We're like, we're just not spinning enough salad.

Molly 0:31

And I gotta say, that must have been a long time ago, because for as long as I've known you, you have lived in this apartment. So if it's if it was a move that that caused the Oxo salad spinner to leave your kitchen. That was a while ago,

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:44

I might have been like we I mean, we've moved a few times in Seattle, just not anytime recently. And we're very old. So so like, this could have happened in like the 90s. Yeah, it could have I think probably we got rid of the salad spinner in the 90s. Really?

Molly 0:58

Yeah. Okay. Wow. Well, so thank you for teeing that up for me because I so I grew up with a salad spinner in the house. And it never occurred to me to not have a salad spinner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:12

Oh, did my parents have a salad spinner? I think yes. At least at some point. I

Molly 1:18

think they still

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:19

I think my mom has a salad spinner. Okay. I think so. I mean, she makes salads pretty often. It

Molly 1:27

absolutely has never occurred to me to not have a salad spinner. In fact, I think when I was setting up my first department in grad school, and I like went to Ikea and bought like, like a box grater for cheese and cutting boards and all that stuff that you get for your first department and IKEA.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:43

Thanks for specifying what a box grater is for? Oh, well, you know, some people

Molly 1:47

use it for zucchini.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:49

Great carrots. Yeah, we should. We should do like a grater graders in general. Just box grater. Sorry, this box.

Molly 1:58

Okay. Anyway, but um, I had I think I had a salad spinner from Ikea, which, you know, we'll get the job done, but it's not great. We'll talk more about this. But anyway, I have always had a salad spinner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:13

And how well, there's so much to talk about, like you put like six pages of salad spinner lore and legend.

Molly 2:22

Yes. I think that the first time it ever occurred to me that some people live without salad spinners was I think, I think I was well into my 20s Maybe they might 20

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:32

Possibly a majority of people in the world live without I think you're right. But hold on here. I think UNICEF is working.

Molly 2:41

I think that the first time this really occurred to me was watching my friend Ben, who is an avid home cook. I mean, I would say like right up there with you. Matthew cooks at least one meal a day and does it in a way that is more complicated than the kind of cooking I usually do. Right? Ben bakes all of his own bread and has for years loves a good project. Anyway, when I was first getting to know Ben, I was shocked to discover he did not own a salad spinner and the way that he washed the way that he dried his lettuce was he would lay out a dish towel on the countertop, put his lettuce in it and like pull the corners all together like a little like a little pouch, you know? And then he would like stand outside and like swing it around like a lasso.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:28

That kind of cool. I think well I was just

Molly 3:32

like, okay, for one thing, even with the fabric right to catch the water that is that is sort of, you know, centrifuged off the leaves. Even with fabric there, you still get lightly sprayed. Sure. And be refreshing it summer thing is like you just you can't possibly spin it around as fast as a salad spinner. Sure. And so Ben who is a self proclaimed lettuce queen. Ben then identifies as a straight man and a lettuce queen. Okay, somehow this is okay with Ben that his lettuce doesn't get totally dry. I mean, Ben, give us a call.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:14

Have you yeah call into the show on our on our listener call in line.

Molly 4:18

Yeah, this episode is is definitely not going to air the same day that we're recording it but give us a call on my phone number. Okay. And let's talk about about how you're

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:29

live. If you haven't already had this conversation with Ben about why he doesn't have to show spinner haven't

Molly 4:34

somehow he's like fine with it. Okay, maybe he does now. So in the time since so. Ben got married a few years ago, and there is a chance that maybe his wife brought a salad spinner into the house.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:47

You think she was like it's time to grow up? Yeah, yeah. Or

Molly 4:51

either that or they registered for it. Who knows? He may have a salad spinner now, but he spent years being very fond of lettuce. and not having a salad spinner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:01

Have you ever thought about the sad fact that like For centuries people made salads possibly before the salad spinner was invented, although I realize we're gonna get into the history and I don't know when it was invented. No, no,

Molly 5:12

we're gonna get into this. Let's just dive right in. Okay, so I saw on Wikipedia, and I have, I just have to put this out there that apparently, some people call salad spinners. Salad Tossers,

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:23

I anyone can edit Wikipedia. Fine.

Molly 5:26

Okay. Okay, let's just say that this is Wikipedia. punking. Us. So if you're not familiar with salad spinners,

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:33

what do you think it's called in French? Are we going to get that?

Molly 5:36

Oh, I'm trying to remember. It might be one of those. Shoot, there's something that's called a mullinax. Like, named after the French company. mullinax. Think that's like, sir, have some Yeah, that's like a quick what we would call a Cuisinart food processor.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:54

Do not get those confused. Okay,

Molly 5:57

hold on. So if you're not familiar with salad spinners, what you need to do here is picture a large plastic bowl, ideally, with a grippy kind of RIM, a grippy foot on it to hold it onto the counter. And in that plastic bowl is a plastic colander. And then there's a cover that sits on top that has a spinning mechanism that can rotate the inner colander rapidly. Okay, so this the spinning drives the water out through the holes of the colander, and they end it goes to the you know, the bottom of the outer

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:30

bowl. In your research. Did you determine what what RPM you can get out of a salad spinner?

Molly 6:37

No, but why didn't I find out? I don't know. I just thought of it. Now, you know if you go to the so I did spend some time reading the most recent wire cutter reviews. Oh, nice. We'll talk more in a minute about their favorite salad spinner. But they seemed to feel that it. I'm amazed they didn't measure it. Yeah, PMS.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:54

Let's just say 10,000.

Molly 6:57

Great. This thing goes zero to 70. In 45 seconds,

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:01

there was there was a time in my childhood when I could have told you could have named like almost any car and I can tell you how long it took to go from zero to 60. This is fascinating. When did that end? I don't know when I was like 11. Maybe.

Molly 7:16

When did you decide Furthermore, that you were someone who just didn't need a car? Oh, 98. Okay, so like two years after moving to Seattle? Well, it

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:25

was when we moved to New York when Oh, because then we moved. We didn't have a car in New York, and then we moved back to try not having one. Look at that. We're still trying it. You're still trying

Molly 7:34

it. It's working so far. Okay. So Matthew, you wrote a question on the agenda is a salad spinner. Technically a centrifuge. Okay. Yeah. And, yes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:44

What is a centrifuge is anything that uses centrifugal force to solve a problem? Is that right? Let's go with that definition. Yeah. So by that, by that definition of ferris wheel, no. Oh, there you go round. I don't know.

Molly 7:57

I think that maybe a centrifuge. Maybe we're building to a working definition here. But maybe it's used. Maybe the idea is using centrifugal force to separate something from something else. Yes. Right. Because I'm thinking about like, when I worked in this corn genetics lab at Stanford, one of my jobs was putting tiny little pipettes that's what the little like bullet shaped containers are, right? Yeah. Putting those into a centrifuge and spinning them to basically is it precipitate out? Yeah. Corn DNA

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:31

is the little this little thing. The little test tube type of pipette? No, it's definitely precipitate and let you create a pellet, right Hi. Pitman's thumb. Because the pipette is like the thing that you that you like dispense liquid is what you dispense. I think it's just called like a centrifuge tube. Maybe?

Molly 8:50

Maybe Yeah, maybe it's just a tube.

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:51

So here's the here's the very hilarious thought that I was having while you were explaining that is like by our definition, if you made a Ferris wheel that was fast, not a Ferris wheel using ferris wheel I mean merry go round if you made a merry go round that was fast enough that it would make children's shoes fly off and the kids would be holding that would be a centrifuge because you'd sit be separating children from their shoes, collect the shoes and sell them on the black market or the dark

Molly 9:15

west so we've got some some scientists I mean people who are who are more two of us who are more real scientists than we are. Let us know how's our definition guys call into the

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:27

call college this show Have you ever like made I've made a kid's shoes just like go blasting off?

Molly 9:33

Yeah, okay. Anyway, but so a salad spinner is a centrifuge, okay, uses centrifugal force to separate water from the leaves. All right, okay. Anyway, so let's get into the history here. Because as you can imagine, there have been many different ways of drying lettuce over the years. All right, yeah, I didn't find much like pre 1800s

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:53

Probably opened fire before.

Molly 9:57

Like, open fire. Yeah, shooting something out of a gun.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:02

Right a bunch of a bunch of stern men in blind spot simultaneously

Molly 10:16

All right. Okay, so there have been devices to wash

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:21

the letters would get one last cigarette

Molly 10:28

which also helps to dry. Yeah, the that little bit of heat from the lit cigarette. Yeah. Okay. There have been devices to Washington since the 19th century. And one of them I've actually seen, okay, and I may still have it in my house. I didn't want to get up from the table to go open the closet and look but so once Brandon was doing some thrift shopping and found some really cool like wire cooling racks, you know, with interesting designs sharings and one of the things he brought home little sort of look like a cooling rack, but it wasn't a cooling rack. It turns out it was a wire basket dryer. Okay? And it's like a collapsible colander with these wire handles. And you can put lettuce in it and kind of pull the handles up around it and spin it around like Ben did with his dish towel bundle.

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:24

Yeah. So it's like a it's like a human powered centrifuge.

Molly 11:27

That's right. So you probably want to wear like rain gear while operating that I imagined actually, we have a number of listeners who have seen those or who maybe grew up with a grandparent using them or something. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:39

or grew up in like a quaint village where you could go out before dinnertime and see and see people spinning salads.

Molly 11:45

Yes, there was there was a different activity for each time of day churning butter was morning. Breaking horses, anyway, okay. Another already Lou

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:56

was a popular game. A plague snap drag

Molly 12:05

which episode is that from? Is it from like raisins? Brandy, or flaming gay

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:13

is gonna say dangerous games. It was for our flaming Games episode

Molly 12:17

from our dangerous game episode. And then I was like, where Chris Isaac sing a song. That's

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:25

dangerous game sounds like a movie we would have watched for Dire desires,

Molly 12:28

right? It does. Okay. Anyway, there was another product that was similar. It was like a wire lettuce dryer that was designed to be used in your sink. It had like suction cup feet, okay, your lettuce in it. Like, there was some sort of a pump that you would pump to make the basket spin around this like center post, again, sounds like there would be water everywhere.

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:51

So that's just a salad spinner without the outer bowl.

Molly 12:54

That's right. Okay. And that's designed to like suction itself onto your sink. Anyway, however, I think that like the low tech way that probably all of us have done from time to time whether or not you have a salad spinner is to use either dish towels or paper towels to dry. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:13

that's that's how I do it. Like I put I put my greens on a dish towel. And then I put another dish towel on top and press down gently. And it doesn't work very well. That's that's perfect. Or I ignored the

Molly 13:27

wait, you don't have a lot of counter space. That also takes up a lot of counter space in the moment that you're doing

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:32

doing. I'll do like I'm a little breakfast bar. Oh, okay. But also, usually what I will do is buy like pre washed salad greens without putting in quotes because they? Well, I think I think the current advice you watch those is that I think you're I think we were told that we were supposed to and then I think maybe the current advice is like that washing salad greens doesn't actually get rid of pathogens.

Molly 13:57

Yeah, it's interesting when I was doing this research, you know, Wikipedia went to great pains to tell me how important it is to wash my lettuce because of Listeria and E coli and stuff, but I'm sorry, like, do those things like really just get washed off easily? With a little swish in the water? I

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:13

don't know. It doesn't seem like they would. Scientists.

Molly 14:17

Scientists, please. But anyway, we have the French to thank for the modern salad spinner in the early 1970s. There was this guy named John mentally Oh, he is the founder of the French company. mullinax

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:31

this guy's a divider? Yeah. I think I was thinking of Shonda Florette

Molly 14:37

oh, god I've got from the same series as man on the last horse. Yeah, no, of the two. Yeah, the series of two. Yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:45

watched both of those. They're great. They're devastating.

Molly 14:48

I had to watch them for like French class or something. And we'd like Eve montone is the villain. I should watch them again. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:56

they're really good. Okay, well, anyway,

Molly 14:58

here we go. Let's keep going. This guy who was the founder of the French company, mullinax, in 1970, I think or 71 He filed a patent for something he called a salad dryer, which was a hand operated Sant Sentra physically driven device and apparently it had a central post that the you know the thing like an axle Yes, I guess so. And it didn't have a removable basket. Another French inventor GTIL bear flinto Wow.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:33

That I kept reading over that name because it looks like a little a little misspelled

Molly 15:37

it looks Yeah, it doesn't doesn't look quite right. Right. He came along in 1973 and filed a patent for the thing that most resembles today's spinners. So thing that you know, wasn't what

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:48

is the thing that most resembles today's

Molly 15:53

basically, this thing with an outer bowl, an inner colander, no central post, although I do think some salad spinners have a central post but most don't anymore, right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:04

Yeah. Because the the drive is like around the outside the

Molly 16:07

drive is like, it sort of latches onto the inner colander, but the drive is attached to the cover

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:16

there. But there is like a central like bump, right? Yeah, it's not it's not a post that goes all the way up through. It's like a little bump that stabilizes it.

Molly 16:25

Okay, okay, fair enough. Anyway, okay. So in 1974, the Mooli manufacturing company was the first one to introduce this thing that they called the salad dryer into the American market. I would have guessed the 80s No, no is 1974 And of course, as we should many people scoffed at it saying it was just like another kitchen gadget which of course it is. But it's sold really well. Anyway, like sales quadrupled, like overnight, and apparently they sold half a million units just in 1978.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:00

Are they still popular? I'm not sure because like, I can think of like, like sometimes there's like a like a trendy food item like the Mysto olive oil, Mr. That like suddenly everybody buys it and then never thinks about it ever again. But salad spinners I think are still story, I think probably there was like a peak and then it then it like plateaued at a lower level that's continued to this day is

Molly 17:22

my guess that's my guess, too. You know, like, the thing is, is that it even eventually appealed to skeptics, because it does save time. It gets your leaves drier than you know the old dish towel method. Yeah. And you can also and I didn't really think about this till I was researching the episode, but you also can wash the lettuce in here. Okay, that makes so we're gonna we're gonna talk more about that. But anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:48

you just you just fill it with water you put in your leaves, you swish them around, and then you start spinning it right.

Molly 17:54

Well so what I did read is that like some people so the way should I talk about how I use it, please. So the way that I tend to use it is when I get a head of lettuce, I separate the leaves.

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:05

Oh get ahead of yourself.

Molly 18:07

Oh my God, when I get a head of lettuce or like a bunch of I don't know arugula or something in my CSA box in the summer. I separate the leaves, put them in here add lots of cold water so that it's full and the leaves are floating. Then I put my hand in and just gently swish swish Yeah. Then see this then I lift the colander out so and the dirt falls to the bottom of the big bowl. I lift the colander out dump that water and the dirt out of the big bowl and then spin it now I did read though that on Wikipedia Apparently some people do that but instead of swishing with their hand they will actually spin this thing

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:48

oh so like had never occurred to me so you're so your salad greens like go through like a whirlpool?

Molly 18:55

Yeah, they like go through a wash cycle and then a dry say Have I do

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:59

I remember right that some people say that they like put salad greens in their dryer. I'm like no, he like in a bag

Molly 19:08

that's been written up somewhere like in a lingerie bag or whatever.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:12

It sounds very, like a very sexy way it because of the launch rape.

Molly 19:17

If you throw a bra in there I have never tried it. No, I haven't either. feels dangerous. And we

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:24

are we have like, you know, laundry in the basement of our building and the dryer does not have a no heat setting. But I think I'm going to try it and

Molly 19:43

I want to talk about the spinning mechanisms. We as people are so opinionated about this. I think when I was a kid, we had like a crank on top. Right? That's the way that the first salad spinners were marketed in the 70s. And I remember the crank sort of being in the middle of that tarp and I remember like holding the entire bowl of cork in my arms as I cranked with one hand and stabilized it against my body.

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:09

Like there's a lot of things that used to have like the cranks used to be a lot more common. So many more crates

Molly 20:15

right now. Yeah, yeah. What else did you used to have to crank? Like, telephone?

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:21

Yeah, like he used to have a crank a telephone. He's talking to like ringing ringing or area that does that does seem like a thing they would see in an old movie. What else do we don't know? Like, I can't get beaters. Yes, exactly. And now there are no egg beaters or gasoline powered.

Molly 20:41

And what else?

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:43

Is there a motorized salad spinner? It seems like they're shaping our electric

Molly 20:47

ones for industrial settings. Oh, nice. Yeah, apparently they work really well.

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:51

And apparently, if you're a kid, you that is going to be an attractive nuisance, right? Because you're going to you and your dumb friends are gonna want to get in there.

Molly 20:59

Well, so add to lancy when I was working there, and I'm sure they still have it, but we had like a super huge salad spinner. It was bright green and it had a crank top. It was probably like four four to five times as tall as a regular salads been. Yeah. So you would put it in like a deep, you know, stainless, you know, industrial sink, and you'd crank that thing and it seriously sounded like a jet taking off. It was so loud. I should have brought that it was kind of exhausting. Okay, so I grew up with the old crank.

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:37

Can you talk about Tony

Molly 21:39

and then at a certain point, I got the Oxo one with the pump top. Yep. Which is wire cutters favorite. I think that it's kind of like the one to have these days. I think a lot of people have it. I mean, Oxbow generally makes good stuff. But I got rid of my Oxo one with the pump because I felt like it didn't spin very fast. Whereas you've now you've got the xylose now I haven't Silas with a pull cord, which apparently a lot of people hate people find that the pull cord gets soggy. What? Like my pull cord never even gets wet. What are they doing?

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:16

I'm not sure they try pull. The

Molly 22:18

only thing is you have to use one hand to stabilize the thing.

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:23

Oh, this is very sad. It's quite satisfying, right? I think a lot of people have reported I wanted to have more resistance kind of oh, there we go. Well, it will if you put stuff in it. Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, yeah, rotational inertia.

Molly 22:36

Anyway, I feel like this one is every bit as good as my Silas one I'm excuse me every bit as good is my Oxo one but apparently people hate this because they say that like the cord breaks. You can see if you pull the cord the wrong way as my spouse has done a couple of times the key wow, I was gonna ask him like only like melt the plastic on top here. Yeah, wow. I have a couple of notches in the top of my salad spinner from where my spouse has pulled the cord in the wrong direction and the friction has burned through the plate,

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:08

which has more notches, your salad spinner or your bed. Oh wait, I have an important question that maybe you're getting to. Why is there a stop button? What emergency? Are you trying? Or is it or does it like fling more juice off? That way? They can flings more juice off and why that why do you why can you just like wait it

Molly 23:29

out button why? I don't know people want want to be able to stop and start their salad spinners.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:36

I guess it seems like like it's an emergency break for a non existent type here

Molly 23:41

practicing. Okay, start it up, don't you the one thing you have to watch out with with the pull cord is you could get a little friction burn there on your hand. Yeah, be careful. Okay, now, Matthew, stop it. Hit the stop.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:52

Oh, okay, that was pretty satisfying. But like if I had waited six more seconds, it would have stopped by itself. Maybe?

Molly 23:59

I don't know. I love this thing. I can't imagine not having a salad spinner. And yet I can see it it is bulky. I'll probably get some sort of a rope burn at some point from the friction. But I haven't yet. How often do you use it? Well, in the summer so for the past few years, we've gotten a CSA box, I guess. And we get seasonal. We get greens every week, then in the summer. And so I use it every week, sometimes multiple times a week.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:25

Okay. Can we like pause here and I can try. I can try like actually spinning some salad. Yeah,

Molly 24:32

yeah. Gee, should we try both? My method of washing and the people's method? Yeah, exactly. Okay, here we go. All right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:42

We need to bring you up to date on what we've done. What have we done? I've got some that's Oh, our new segment. What have we done? Okay. Well, first of all, we put several children in it in an industrial salad spinner.

Molly 24:54

Shoes came off.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:57

So success on the center for you Each Friday Yeah, probably by the time you hear this, the trial will be underway. Yeah. So we, I took some salad mix out of the fridge and accidentally put it in the cupboard and, but then I reversed that action. And we washed washed the salad greens and a lot of cold water. Yeah. Salad Spinner tub.

Molly 25:21

And now we but we didn't we didn't use swish with your fingers, especially my fingers. Okay, here we go. And now we're going to spin it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:27

Oh, you get to spin it. Okay, this is satisfying, like condensate and it's not condensation, but but droplets are collecting on the side. You're not using the stop button. Okay,

Molly 25:40

now hold on. Something I often do is I will then take the bowl out, shake it around and give it a spin again.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:46

Okay, I got it.

Molly 25:49

Can you feel the speed?

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:50

Yeah, yeah, it's pretty cool. To be able to press

Molly 25:55

the stop button.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:56

It's real zero to 60 moment.

Molly 25:57

Okay, Matthew. Let's see. I don't think this is gonna be a lot drier than your leaves. I'll be honest.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:03

This is pretty impressive. Actually. Really?

Molly 26:06

I mean, enough to make you want to buy a salad spinner. No. Yeah, these are pretty dry.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:15

Now, yeah, now we're just getting plane leaves.

Molly 26:18

That's it down. I haven't had a salad in a while.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:22

So should we should we now like, try the the to dish towel method?

Molly 26:28

Okay. Oh, this is nice.

Unknown Speaker 26:31

Okay, so show me what you would usually get. If I were not here with my handy dandy salad.

Molly 26:43

Leaves and would usually wash them in a colander or what would you do?

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:47

Yeah, well, no, I think I'm usually wash them in like a bowl and then just kind of hold on to them and pour the water out. Okay. And then you kind of spread them out. So they're in a single dish layer. And press pretty gently had the baby. Put the baby in the salad spinner. What

Molly 27:06

the hell? Are you gonna patent some more? I'm looking at this nonsense. Oh my god. Hold on. Okay, this is not it. This is not is this insufficient? Oh, hang on.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:18

I think Molly's gonna do the over the head swinging.

Unknown Speaker 27:21

Oh, God, I'm afraid.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:23

Yes. Oh, no, I just got sprayed. I think I sort of want a salad spinner now because my method is bad.

Molly 27:32

Okay, this one that didn't work very well either. Now we've got bruised salad.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:37

Oh, yeah. Bruised salad with just the lightest coating of fresh Seattle water. I think what have we learned? I know we're not

Molly 27:47

I gotta be honest. I think a salad spinner is better than no salad spinner. It does seem that way. And even though the people on wire cutter don't like my salad spinner. I think my salad spinner is doing great.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:58

And they didn't like it because of the injuries. They didn't like

Molly 28:01

it because apparently it breaks off. I've had this literally, I have possibly had this since my first wedding.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:08

Maybe we have the pull cord one and the cord broke. Is that possible? It

Molly 28:12

seems right. I mean, I think if you're gonna buy a new one, it seems like the general consensus these days is that Oxo one with like the pump on top. I put a picture in the agenda.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:21

Yeah, we haven't even really talked about why it's so important to dry your lettuce. Yeah, take it away. Matthew. Well, like I agree that if, if there's too much water on your lettuce before you dress it, your salad will suck.

Molly 28:34

Like it's it's truly hard to describe how it ruins the sound

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:38

like even no matter how good your dressing is, it will taste like nothing.

Molly 28:42

It's crazy how much it falls off. Anyway, so I don't know. I just feel like the other thing is Matthew. I mean you you see that it you know comes with that little colander, which is handy.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:54

Yeah, buy a salad spinner get a free colander.

Molly 28:57

My kid wants mixed up a whole bunch of potions in it in the bowl of it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:02

Did it get like with food coloring and stuff?

Molly 29:04

No, not with food coloring. She used all of my like my face wash products. Oh, okay. And I kind of lost my shit. Because if there's one thing I actually like, spend money on. Like facewash Aesop's went in there. My kid basically took a brand new bottle of an ESOP cleansing oil and dumped the entire thing in the salad spinner with some squirts of toothpaste and water and some soap.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:37

But now the good news is now all of your salads have a faint flavor of like black pepper. The good

Molly 29:43

news is my family now has a really good story about that time. Molly lost Hirsch.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:48

Ah, no, I

Molly 29:50

really. I really don't have a lot of like rage moments. But for some reason, like that was more than I could handle that. Hey, yeah, I can understand that. The hardest part was that, you know, I like to let her do stuff like that. Like she just disappeared into the bathroom for like 45 minutes with a salad and a whole bunch of containers and she was really into making perfume and potions and things at the time. And I was like, What's the worst that could happen? She should read that book perfume. Well, like $50. Later, I knew the worst that could happen. Thankfully, ESOP was cheaper back then. It would, it would be even worse now. Anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:33

okay. Okay. So what have we learned? I yeah, I kinda want the salad spinner. Now, maybe this summer? I'll think about it. I'll sit on it.

Molly 30:41

Think about it. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's fairly inexpensive. It does take up space.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:45

Space. Maybe I could store some other things in it. You've got some cabinets that like have one bowl in them. That's true. But then where would I put that bowl inside the salad spinner? Okay, but what if I forgot to take it out? Then the bowl would start spinning. Oh, my God. All right. Shall we move on to segments

Molly 31:03

let's move on to segment All right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:05

Let's start with spilled mail.

Molly 31:13

Oh, all right. So this one comes from listener Robin. And she writes, I remember in a long ago episode, Molly mentioning that she did not like a particular famous food writers recipes. His name rhymes with bark Fitmin. Though this particular writers books were useful for me in learning to cook as a young person. I think I know what you mean in regards to how his recipes are written. I recently read listened to the episode and it made me curious what in your opinions? Makes a recipe good or bad? Do you have any recipe pet peeves? Any recipe writers you particularly like or dislike?

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:49

I have so many thoughts on this. They're gonna be very scattered. Okay, but go ahead. Okay, the first thing that comes to mind, and this is so important to me, and like I pulled like failed to do it so often. And it drives me nuts is put the whole recipe on one page of the book or an open spread. And like make that like the top priority of your cookbook design. Because we have to flip back and forth to like, you know, what, how much how many tablespoons of sugar was that chose

Molly 32:17

to use, I've never thought of it. And yet I have suffered the annoyance you're described. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:21

the books that come to mind. Like, there's a cookbook called one potato two potato by Roy finamore, who is a, I think, really is like a cookbook editor. But he's written a couple of his own cookbooks. And clearly, like he insisted on this, that all of his recipes are fit on one page, and are just so clearly written. And it's just a nice cookbook with a bunch of potato recipes. And

Molly 32:46

I think it is rare these days to find a cookbook that goes to the trouble to put all the recipe or to put the whole recipe on one page. Yeah, that's very rare in my head.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:55

I know like, I probably uses more paper if you do it that way. And papers money, but still well,

Molly 33:00

but people are throwing in all these photographs and stuff. I mean, couldn't they throw in the photographs with an eye toward keeping recipes, you know, either on one page or one spread? I think they could I think they could too. Okay, that's

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:14

that's one thing for me. I have others. Okay.

Molly 33:16

So I think that one of the things that made me really irritated with bark Fitmin recipes, is that he I feel like just leaves salt out of recipes a lot like recipes, where you obviously need salt like pancakes, for the love of everything. holy people, you must put salt in your pancake batter.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:40

I remember one time accidentally leaving salt out of pancakes and being so disappointed.

Molly 33:45

They're terrible. You're terrible. And I can tell you for a fact that years ago when I was still kind of like trying to find my perfect pancake recipe. I made Barack fitments and it had no salt in it. And I was just like, how does this happen? Yeah, like at that time, he was writing for the New York Times. And I was like, We must do better. Yeah, so it drives me crazy when people leave. Also, I have really loved the canal house cookbooks that came out like 10 to 15 years ago. It was this really small operation done by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsch Heimer. But they often left salt out of their like pastry and and sweets recipe. Like why are you doing that? And usually Oh, Nigel Slater does it occasionally too. And these are all people I should say. I admire and I continue to use these canal House books. But I feel like I always have to have this little voice of wisdom on my shoulder. That's like don't forget to put the salt in there because so many dessert and pastry and like sweet breakfast recipes don't call for salt.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:54

Okay, here's another one that comes to mind for me. When you're writing the recipe, make it clear are in the ingredients, which things are going to be added together. Because otherwise, you end up using more prep bowls than necessary when you could be throwing things into the same bowl. And it just, it just feels like more of a mental load. If, if you can't kind of collapse ingredients in your mind into like, here's, here's this group of sauce ingredients. You know,

Molly 35:22

I think that I think that the the Joy of Cooking used to do that, okay, at least, I remember the joy of cooking that I first got was the 1997 version, which I think a lot of people hated. But it always did that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:35

It's pretty common in Japanese cookbooks, for them to group ingredients and call it with like group one or group B, and just saying the recipe like add B, which I really like,

Molly 35:46

That makes so much sense that is so Oh, that's so smart. As long

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:50

as it's on one page, so I don't have to go back to the previous Yeah, what's in Groupby?

Molly 35:55

Yeah, the joy of cooking definitely didn't do it that way. But they would be like, you know, if you're looking at a pancake recipe, for instance, they would be like, you know, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. And then like in a separate bowl, mix together, blah, blah, blah. So they would list the ingredients within the narrative of the recipe so that you knew exactly what went with what Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:19

I think this is something that you see more often with baking recipes, but could be done more often with savory cooking recipe.

Molly 36:27

Okay. Yeah, yeah, for some reason. The other thing that came to mind for me was also salt related. I noticed that in a lot of savory dishes, especially among a sort of, like a kind of California like farm to table cooking kind of school of food writers, they do not give you a measure, like a basic measurement for salt, right. So they'll just say Add salt to taste, but maybe you're doing something like making a custard for a quiche Well, I don't want to taste your quiche custard raw. So it kind of drives me crazy when a recipe calls for salt to be added but they don't give you like a base amount to start with right and more often than you would think. And you

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:13

put one other thing on here that I totally agree with and I don't think I have any other ideas of my own

Molly 37:18

Okay, so often a cookbook will say you know, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, then add the beans or whatever, but they don't tell you what the food should look like or smell like or taste like or feel like so that you know that 10 minutes is like the right amount of time for your stove or your particular thing. So it bothers me when recipes just give a length of time to cook something without teaching you what you're looking for in the food to know that you can move and they don't know what brand of salad spinner you

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:56

have. They don't

Molly 37:57

they don't or for instance you know like especially for instance if you're I don't think most recipes cooking beans do this but like think about cooking beans from dried like how variable that yes, you know, if you if you're making a bean soup or something and you cook the beans for an hour, and then you add the vegetables. Who knows what state your beans are going to be in? Yeah, they could be in Nevada, although I can. I can say I am guilty of having done this in my first book a homemade life with the recipe for Edie Fretwell soup. It was written that way when I first made it from this

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:34

did Ed Fretwell soup appear on the spilled milk drinking game that someone made many years ago.

Molly 38:39

pretty short. Right? Pretty sure. But anyway, I know that I wrote that recipe that way. And the truth is it's always worked for me that way you cook this thing for an hour then you add this other thing, but usually I hate that Yeah, but if that means that recipe has got that Ed magic it does it has that add magic. All right, well,

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:00

thanks Rob. That was a great question that gave you some ideas and now it's time for now but wow

Molly 39:13

Matthew, it's your week to now but while it

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:16

okay, my now but wow. This week? Is it something I would say this is a challenging one. It is an album called diaspora problems by a band called Soul glow, which I was very pleased that I got the reference to it. They are definitely named for the haircare brand and the movie coming to America. And they are funny, but like very funny, clever wordsmiths, but it is a punk rock album and they are a punk rock band in kind of the traditional sense in that they are angry this like you know I love punk rock. It is my favorite genre of music but mostly what I mean when I'm talking about punk rock is something like Joyce Manor or Green Day or Jimmy Eat World that goes down really easy and like their guitars are a little crunchy She, and you know, they listen to the clash or they like the clash, but they don't really have like a political point of view necessarily. So Glo has a political point of view. And I would say, it is, like, you know, it's louder than fuck. And it sounds to me what I listen like the the sound that goes on in my head when I read the news, turned it to music. So very, also, like, you know, way, way too uncommon among punk bands, it is from an unapologetically black perspective. And so if you're basically I would say, if you're looking for the opposite of background music, give soul glow a try. Like they're, they're super talented and, like, you know, make you sit up and think and it's also sometimes fun.

Molly 40:45

Fantastic. Okay. Well, our producer is Abbey circuit tele, please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. That is what you can do. You can also go to Reddit to chat with other spilled milk listeners. And that's at reddit.com/are/everything spilled milk. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:03

we got some nice feedback recently on our non alcoholic beer episode. Oh, we did. Yeah. People appreciated that. We talked about non alcoholic beer and like gave it gave it its due. Oh, great. Awesome. All right. So until next time, thank you for listening to spilled milk.

Molly 41:18

The show that's separating your ears from your brain.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:24

No free wheat in the center like centrifuging some kids until their ears go fly golf. Yep. I'm Matthew Amster-Burton.

Molly 41:31

And I'm Molly Weissenberg.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:39

Why aren't we talking about this on the show?

Molly 41:41

I don't know. Okay. Put your headphones on.