The Museum of Bad Knife Design
/* Originally posed November 16, 2012 */
Kitchen utensils are always interesting. Archaeologists study them, women throw parties over them, and urban snobs collect them. When we first got to Lloyd's Landing, we found three generations of utensils, so there are bound to be a few worthy notables in the drawers and cubbies. Although one might write a PhD dissertation on the need for three generations to hang onto rusty egg beaters, the most remarkable feature of the collection has been the assortment of strange and badly designed knives.
Exhibit A in the collection is actually an ingenious design that Dave mistakenly took for bizarre and useless: the grapefruit knife: it's a little bit floppy and curves up at the end. When we were young, my dad loved to demonstrate how exotic and worldly our family was by explaining that he had siblings in both Texas and California who shipped him fresh grapefruit. That's right, we didn't just know people in faraway lands, we were related to them. And to demonstrate how savvy we were to consumption of fresh produce, we ate our grapefruit on the half-shell, as it were, and delicately sliced the individual sections out with a grapefruit knife. There is also a grapefruit spoon, serrated at the edge, which can serve the same purpose.
Truth be told, Uncle Harold probably delivered a crate of grapefruit from Texas once, and maybe Aunt Audrey brought a box with her on the one driving trip she made back to the midwest, but no matter. It was the elegance of consumption that counted.
Exhibit B in our collection veers sharply into the category of useless and quite possibly dangerous. Here is a single instrument that includes a grater, a slicer, a bottle opener, a serrated knife, a smooth edge knife, and some kind of creepy pinching mechanism at the tip. The grater is too small to be helpful, and the slicer is too far from the handle to provide any level of accuracy. And the blade is so thin and wide that neither side of the knife is ergonomically comfortable. But it's a multi-tasker's dream, and that says it all about multi-tasking.
But the piece de resistance in our collection is Exhibit C: The Spife. We can only hope that this was a Boy Scout project where the Scout Master spotted immediate trouble and confiscated the object before somebody got hurt. I have to believe that no merit badges were awarded in the manufacture of this device. With a long sharp blade at one end and a gentle little spoon at the other, it beckons the yogurt eater and fish cleaner alike. Seriously, how many children lost an eye while eating their cereal with this thing?
On the advice of our insurance agent, The Spife was turned over to White Earth Sanitation.