Today’s covetable item I won’t buy is the extremely elegant Roselli garlic knife. Yes, a knife specifically for garlic.
The Roselli is a handsome tool, a carbon steel blade set in a strikingly grained handle and accompanied by not only its own little leather sheath, but its own miniature cutting board, so that your big cutting board won’t get that stale garlic smell that can transfer into fruit. I love to look at this knife. I want one, along with its tiny accessories.
I got to know this knife because at one time, part of my job involved opening small boxes, about 5″ x 3″ x 2″, that had been sealed with packing tape. I had been scraping at the tape with my fingernails, and wanted a Gordian solution. But the alternatives I contemplated all had their disadvantages: Scissors (not safe for one-bladed use), X-acto knives (flimsy), cheap penknives (don’t keep an edge), scalpel blades (scary), and boxcutters (clumsy). So I set off on a quest to find just the right tool: A short fixed blade made of high quality steel with a thin grip and stored in a sheath.
A weeks-long search turned up the Roselli garlic knife. I was ecstatic.
Then I contemplated with dismay how my precise requirements drove the price of the knife about one order of magnitude above that of the other, less satisfactory alternatives. I did not want to pay that kind of money for something I was just going to use at the office. Furthermore, an object so admirably luxe would also be so conspicuous that if I or a coworker actually somehow got hurt by it, I would be at risk for getting into some hot water for using an unapproved tool “from home.”
But perhaps I could indeed use it at home? I wanted this knife so badly that I scrabbled at any excuse I could find to own it. No, all I need at home is a boxcutter for when I get mail orders, which do not need a precise blade– they need a boxcutter.
And I can’t use the Roselli garlic knife for its intended purpose, even though I love garlic, because I don’t have a kitchen.
“You don’t have a kitchen?” interlocutors inevitably echo. No, I don’t have a kitchen. I live in an SRO, and there is not even a shared kitchen in the building. No, I don’t have a kitchen. Living in an SRO is immensely less expensive than having my own kitchen and bathroom.
Next, “You don’t have a bathroom?” No, I share one and a half baths with six other people. We avoid traffic jams because we each have a little bar sink in our rooms, too small to even wash a dinner plate but quite adequate for grooming.
“I couldn’t live that way,” my interlocutor invariably says with look of pity and a shake of the head.
Well, then, if having a kitchen is so important to you, I say you should grace it with the Roselli garlic knife. It is an impressive, well crafted little tool that will be a joy to use to reduce cloves of garlic to fragrant slices or shreds. Any cooking enthusiast you know would treasure it, too.
But I just can’t find a use for it in my life. My place is too small. I’ve made the choice to live in a small place and I have to deal with the consequences, one of which is that I don’t have much room to accommodate my endless appetite for interesting objects.