My Italian Zen Garden

I love kitchen gadgets—the odder and less useful, the better. And, I’ve decided to share my love with all of you by going through some of the more delightful oddities in my cupboards and drawers. Each week, I’ll answer the important questions: What is it, what does it do, do you really need it, and if so, where can you purchase your very own version.

What Are They?

Wooden pasta rakes

Wooden pasta rakes: The gentleman's pasta scooper

Pasta rakes for your pasta zen garden. (No, thankfully, I’m not anal retentive enough that I line up my spaghetti in long lines…. yet.) My pasta rakes are made from olive wood. So, they blend nicely when I make pasta with olive oil. Everything in the bowl is happy to be back together again.

What Do They Do?

You use them to serve pasta—specifically spaghetti, capellini, vermicelli, linguini, fettuccine, mafaldine, and tagliatelle. Or, in other words, the long, squiggly pastas.

They can, in a pinch, be used as salad servers as well. (This really only works if you can grab enough lettuce that keeps any smaller topping bits from sliding through the tines.)

Do I Really Need a Pair?

Plastic pasta scoop

Angry pasta scoop. It just wants to say, "Argh!"

Well, has anyone ever insulted your masculinity before? Then, yes, perhaps you do need to grow a pair. Oh wait, we were talking about pasta. Then, technically, no. But don’t wooden rakes look so much classier sticking out of a bowl than the traditional, plastic claw? Granted, you can use that plastic claw thing to scoop hard-boiled eggs out of a pot of scalding hot water, thus saving you from third-degree burns. But, if you follow my helpful guide to boiling eggs, you will never again be subjected to the terrifying prospect of dunking your hand in hot water just to have a decent breakfast.

Pasta rakes are civilized things. Pasta claws are grabby, rude, and remind me of a pirate hook-hand. And, in these troubled times when there is so much anger and animosity, shouldn’t we at least have a polite pasta plate?

Where Can I Buy My Very Own?

My rakes were imported from Italy via Williams Sonoma (such a thoughtful gentleman, that Williams). But, I’m sure the world of online shopping is full of them.


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