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Some people treasure a piece of cast iron that’s been passed down from previous generations. Some people covet fine crystal from their great aunt. Me? Well, I’m obsessed with a $6 stick that my Bubbie used to use in her own kitchen.
It’s not particularly old and I’m not even sure it was something that was all that special to her; she owned a cake-decorating store in our hometown and I’d be willing to guess she “stole” it from the shop for her upstairs apartment one day when she was in a pinch. I got it (along with a bunch of her bakeware and icing tips) when she passed, and not only does it make me think of her (and all the decadent sweet treats she’d expertly churn out from her tiny kitchen), but it’s also incredibly useful.
This “$6 stick” I speak of is an oven rack pusher/puller. It’s literally just a piece of wood with two notches in it: one that hooks over an oven’s wire rack and pulls it out, and another that pushes the rack back in place. It’s also got a magnet on one side, so that it can hang on the side of the fridge and is always within reach. And, again, it is INCREDIBLY useful.
My last apartment had a ridiculously obstructed oven (see: How I Made the World’s Tiniest, Most Awkward Kitchen Work) and my Bubbie’s rack puller helped me get things in and out. Now I live with a normal kitchen and have full access to my oven, but still reach for this stick all the time. Why? Raise your hand if you’ve ever stuck your oven mitt smack dab in the middle of a cookie when you’ve reached into the oven to pull out a baking sheet? Yeah, all of us have! I don’t anymore, though, because I hook the puller onto the side of the baking sheet and pull it out enough so that I can get a better grip on the tray. Zero cookie disturbance! Oh, and if you’re wondering, the wood doesn’t burn or get hot because it’s just being used for quick tasks here and there.
Don’t have a Jewish Grandma to give you a stick inheritance? You can buy one on Amazon! Trust me, I thought this was totally unnecessary when I first got mine, but I really do reach for it every single time I bake anything. You’ll see.
Do you have an oven rack puller? Also, what’s the best kitchen item you’ve gotten from your grandparents?