Was it two years ago? Three? Donna and I had people over on New Year's Day and an old high school friend, Mac Dalton, said, "Michael, I gotta show you what I do. I make things. What do you want to make?"
"This," I said, standing at my stove, and held up a spoon I'd awkwardly bent for basting.
"I can make that," he said. And he did.
We immediately started to make more useful kitchen tools. Here's our whole catalogue, available on my site.
Another thing happened. I'd partnered with OpenSky, an Internet commerce site that finds really cool products, sends them to me, and asks me if I'd like to recommend them. Many things are duds, but they also found some amazing things like this Atlas Mortar and Pestle, which I can't live without (pulverizing freshly toasted coriander, making rillettes, making salsas), and this DMT Sharpening "Stone," the only product I've ever found that really works to make your knives sharp (I've been hopeless with actual stones; this uses a diamond-dusted perforated metal sheet—it's brilliant). OpenSky is the only site besides mine that sells Dalton-Ruhlman products. Go there if you want to see all kinds of fabulous gift ideas, in a huge range of categories besides cooking.
I just feel really lucky to be creating tools that didn't exist (the Offset Spoons, the Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon) or products that existed but had a huge range in quality. There's no better Bamboo Pot Scrubber on the market—this one rocks, scraping food like egg and cheese off pans and rinsing clean, great for cast iron. One of the most important tools in the kitchen is a flat-edged wood spoon. We make quality flat-edged paddles out of acacia wood. And just try to find one as big as our Spanker, for stirring big vats of food.
We ship the products from right here in Cleveland, using Vocational Guidance Services, which employees people who are physically disabled or need help getting back into the workforce due to environmental factors such as being homeless. We love and are grateful to the people who work at VGS.
Mac and I would like to thank everyone who has supported our efforts. And we wish you happy holidays filled with great cooking. Don't stress out. It will all be OK. Fill your house with the aroma of great food. It's good for body and soul and eases stress. Hoppin' John is good luck on New Year's Day. Maybe that's what started this tiny tool company. Food is pretty powerful. You never know.
The shopping links for the week:
© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.