Wednesday, August 06, 2008


One of my Esteemed Readers was kind enough to send me a link to this fine piece of Culinary Equipment:

Max le Chinois

Why, it’s Max le Chinois!

Ya gotta love a piece of kitchenware that is both esthetically pleasing and functional. It even has its own First Name.

Max has a vaguely retro-futuristic appearance, almost as if it might have been a prop in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Makes me think of the amputated tail end of a zeppelin.

Of course, when I see a fine colander-like device, my first thought is, “What sort of Chrome-Plated Chapeau would that make?” And here, Max really shines. Checkit:

Max le Chinois Chapeau

Max makes a fine Chapeau.

A true chinois, AKA “China Cap,” sports a long handle that throws off its balance, making it unsuitable as headgear. But Max is nicely symmetrical...and those zeppelinoid tail fins provide a fine grace note.

Only problem is the price. At nearly $400, Max occupies the rarefied stratosphere of culinary accoutrements, along with six-burner Viking gas stoves. I mean, who the hell needs a $400 colander? The most money I ever spent on a straining device was $75 on a chinois, an essential tool for those who make their own stocks and sauces. A chinois and a colander are different animals, however. The chinois is a sturdy, conical fine-mesh screen in a long-handled metal framework; a colander is simply a metal or plastic bowl with holes punched in it.

Maybe I’m not drawing the right comparison. Instead of kitchen equipment, maybe I should be looking at Max as headgear after all.

Consider the Borsalino.

Borsalino is a venerable Italian hat manufacturer. Their fedoras, made of Belgian rabbit fur felt, are particularly prized by connoisseurs of fine chapeaux...among them, black-hat-wearing Orthodox Jews, for whom a Borsalino is the mark of a Torah scholar. It’s not uncommon for a Borsalino to sell for upwards of $400.

Comparing Max - a veritable work of art - to a regular ol’ colander is like comparing a Borsalino to a John Deere gimme cap.

So if a hat can be worth over $400, and if one were to wear a colander on one’s head as a demented Fashion Statement, would it not be appropriate to spend at least as much?

Perhaps I need to put up a tip jar.

Update: Commenter GradualDazzle, in the comments, offers up an interesting comparison with a certain mid-twentieth-century technology. Take a peek below the fold...

Max le Bombe


Little Boy

Little Boy, the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. (Obviously a reproduction.)

Why, there does seem to be a resemblance!

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