My Fantasy Utensil, by Chef Al

The Linguini Bodkin

There comes a certain point in every chef's career when he or she creates a dish of such complexity and originality that no conventional utensil available within the typical kitchen is wholly appropriate to its creation. Melo-Banana Compote is one such dish - though, more accurately, it is the Savoury Vegetable Parcels accompanying Melo-Banana Compote that no conventional utensil can fully support. Chef Al explains in his own words:

Linguini Bodkin Artist's impression of the linguini bodkin. Sort of.

"As I have recently been asked about fantasies in the kitchen - sorry - fantasy utensils in the kitchen, I thought I'd share my thoughts on that most useful of virtual items, the linguini bodkin."

How to use the Linguini Bodkin Demonstrating use of the spoon, which is like the linguini bodkin in maay ways. Except in shape, pointiness, or usefulness in pasta applique techniques.

"In 2002 I was called upon to create Melo-Banana Compote with Savoury Vegetable Parcels, for which I won a Special Achievement Award. The banana aspect of this dish has been elaborated upon elsewhere but I would like to bring your attention to the neglected parcels which were an essential part of the dish. It is my considered opinion that much time could have been saved had a suitable tool been available for the neat tying of the linguini. A fish slice and a waiter's friend have their myriad uses but, unfortunately, linguini tying does not feature."

"Imagine if you can a large sailmaker's or upholsterer's curved needle, very like the one in the picture above, but large, curved, and used by sailmakers or upholsterers. The eye of that needle needs to be enlarged to accept a commercial grade linguini and the point should be dulled for health & safety considerations. By threading the linguini into the bodkin, deft finger work can then be employed to weave the linguini into delicate knots and bows that would gladden the heart of any boy scout or salty tar. The alternative, of course, is to fumble around with the slippery pasta produce to achieve the appearance of a three-year-old's trainers. Which admittedly is at least likely to match the taste."

"The bodkin's use need not be confined to linguini, though, as many other pastas, such as spaghetti, vermicelli or very long penne are suitable for threading and tying, as are egg noodles. Rice noodles are less suitable because of their lack of flexibility, although this may actually be a result of insufficient skill in the cheffiness department. I'm convinced that a truly skilled chef could also produce applique work on fried Weetabix, for example, thus enhancing those all-important presentation marks."

"The linguini bodkin is probably not suitable for cutting, slicing or frying things with."

If it existed, the linguini bodkin would be used to make Melo-Banana Compote With Savoury Vegetable Parcels

QUICK START GUIDE (if you actually had a linguini bodkin, that is)

Fumbling around with slippery pasta may achieve results like this.

DO:

  • use the linguini bodkin for bodkining linguini (obviously)
  • use the linguini bodkin as a fish slice, if you don't have a fish slice, or anything more like a fish slice than a linguini bodkin
  • use the linguini bodkin for applique on other types of pasta and, if you're really skilled, Weetabix

DON'T:

  • impale yourself on the linguine bodkin (at least not deliberately)
  • use a needle in place of a proper linguini bodkin
  • use a linguini bodkin in place of a proper needle
  • attempt to use the linguini bodkin for applique with pasta bows, Jamaica ginger cake, or porridge

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