High and Low: Pastry Brush Basters
When I happened upon the Bodum Bistro Sauce Pot at a department store a couple of years ago, I snatched it up without looking at the price (around $25). At last—a smart, chic brushing and basting solution! For as long as I had been cooking, I’d been putting oil or melted butter in whatever small bowl or mug I had handy, then finding myself at a loss over what to do with any extra. Invariably, if I left the bowl out on the counter to use later, it would either stay there for ages and collect dust, or get knocked over into a greasy mess. If I put it in the fridge, it would be forgotten for months or get knocked over into a greasy mess. More often than not, I just pitched the leftovers.
This Boden thingie was the bomb! A brush with a basting pot all in one, with a lid that closed with a gentle push. Made of glass and silicone, it was microwave-safe as well, meaning I could put a chunk or two of butter or margarine in the pot, zap it in the microwave, and not have to mess with an extra container. There were a couple of design flaws, like how the lid prevents the brush from getting right down to the bottom of the pot, or how it doesn’t completely seal, but I found ways of working around them. My Bistro pot was constantly full, constantly in use.
Until one day, I couldn’t find it. My kitchen was being repainted, everything on the counters had been relocated to the dining room, and everything in the cupboards was swathed in drop cloths. Amidst all the mess, a recipe correction required me to baste/brush some mini tart molds to retest a recipe for the magazine. I looked everywhere. No Boden thingie. All I could lay my hands on were a jam jar from the dishwasher and an old pastry brush. As I was melting the butter directly in the jam jar, it occurred to me how well-suited it was for the job. Without the lid, it was microwave-safe. With the lid, it was a no-spill container that could go on the counter or fridge. It was as good as, if not a little better than, the Bodum thingie. For one, I could get down to the bottom with the brush. And, if it dropped, I would only break a jar, not a 25-dollar piece of kitchen equipment. Duh! I thought. Why didn’t I figure this out before?
Now that the kitchen is back in order, I use both basters. The Boden thingie, which looks better on the counter and whose brush doesn’t have to be washed between uses, is now solely for olive oil. The jar or jars, now, which fit better in the fridge, are for melted butter, marinades, glazes, and everything else.