Saturday, January 20, 2007

In praise of low tech

click photo to enlarge
How many kitchen cupboards are stuffed with electrical gadgets that are rarely, if ever, used. You know the sort of thing I mean. The "lean machine" grill that seemed a good idea to accompany the new year diet. Or the ice cream maker that held out the allure of customised, fresh ices during those hot summer days. Maybe the frothy drinks maker to keep the kids quiet. Or how about the bread maker, the coffee grinder, the yoghurt maker, the 3-tier steamer, the deep fat frier, or the electric pepper mill (with light!). Then there's my favourite - the Crumb Pet Novelty Tabletop Vacuum Cleaner (available as a pig and a sheep)! Don't believe me - look on Amazon. If one were to buy all the kitchen gadgets that are available you'd have to extend your kitchen to accommodate them.

This must be a real problem for some people because I've recently read two newspaper articles that have told readers how to sell these ill-advised purchases and unwanted gifts on eBay. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there isn't a place for some labour-saving, even fun, gadgets. However, I don't think it can be denied that in the affluent west, and elsewhere for all I know, many people don't seem able to resist buying the high-tech gizmo rather than the tried and tested low-tech solution. Take juice extractors. A quick glance shows Amazon UK listing 126 devices for this purpose! The most expensive costs £140. Just how much juice are people extracting today, and from what?

My photograph shows the low-tech, traditional juice extractor, that's been used in my house for many years. It's there when needed (which isn't that often), never goes wrong, and cost very little. It also looks better than any electrical version! This is another shot taken during my break from repairing the wind-damaged fence. The glass extractor and two lemons were placed on the mirror with the black backdrop, and photographed in the same way as yesterday's image. I was going to cut a lemon in half to increase the interest of the shot, but I remembered that they had been bought to make a lemon and blueberry drizzle cake, and there's a limit to the sacrifices that I'm prepared to make for photography! The image was taken with a 70mm (35mm equivalent) macro lens, with the camera set to Aperture Priority (f18 at 1/80 second), with the camera at ISO 100 and -1.0 EV.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen