What to Look For in a Packing Tong: Cleanliness

Today I am cooking, and tomorrow I will be headed to the US for a month. I am beginning to be a bit concerned about leaving the German with substantial leftovers from tonight’s dinner, because the combination of what’s in the oven (lamb shanks with coriander, star anise and cloves,) and what’s on the stove (a white bean puree with tangerine zest and fresh sage,) smells exactly like Wintergreen Skoal. Eww. Luckily, chewing tobacco is unheard of in Germany so the German is none the wiser.

At our local public pool, there is a diving board just above water level, a 3 meter springboard, two 5 meter springboards, and a 10 meter diving platform. Whee! When the preteens horse around, they do it on the 3 meter springboard, where they can look tough but not get hurt. We dove and swam and played and watched other people play today, and it wasn’t until our walk home that I realized what had seemed odd about the pool: no one was yelling at anyone! No embittered lifeguards, no annoyed parents, no sassy girls shrieking at any smirking boys. Odd, yes, but wonderful.

On the way home from the pool, we stopped for a cake and coffee (or, in my case, an apple juice and oatmeal cookie. Because my body is a temple, and because the apple juice is spectacular here.) There isn’t any to-go option in the cafes here, so you sit in the sun at a little table while the server brings you your snack. When she arrived with mine, the oatmeal cookie was on a little plate with a doily. Nice, right? Why not respect your cookie and give it the treatment it deserves? At the edge of the plate was a nicely folded napkin, and inside the napkin was a beautiful little dessert fork. Amazed, I sat up a little straighter and ate my cookie as delicately as I possibly could. With a fork! Ever since then, I can’t stop thinking about shiny little tools and how nicely they’d dress up everyday activities: maybe I’d splatter less toothpaste on the bathroom mirror if my toothbrush had a pretty silver handle! And how about a tricky little spoon for delivering your contacts from their saline bath to your eyes? You could keep the spoon in the fridge – so refreshing! And I would almost certainly enjoy laundry more if my detergent scoop had a hidden telescoping handle.

On that note, I’m off to finish dinner and pack. I’ll be using serving tongs for both.

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