Colander Is Pretty Enough for Counter

Times Staff Writer

The colander, one of the cook's most trusted friends in the kitchen, need not be stashed away inside a cabinet when it's a thing of beauty. Handsome enough to be left on the kitchen counter or hooked onto a wall is the new Decorator Colander from M. Kamenstein Inc. in New York.

Made of white porcelain enamel on steel, the pretty colander comes with solid brass handles and a brass-rimmed base. It measures nine inches in diameter and has clusters of good-size holes that perforate the sides and bottom. The colander illustrated here has the Capri pattern featuring a white enamel finish dotted with yellow, red and blue miniature floral prints. A border of tiny pale brown dots near the top and bottom rims accentuates the little flowers. The Decorator Colander comes in other patterns, such as strawberry, Vienna and trellis designs.

Shaped like the old aluminum strainer that has been used for generations, the colander easily fits over an average size bowl or saucepan. It is safe and sturdy for draining foods, hot and cold, and can be cleaned in the dishwasher without chipping or ruining the print design.

Getting the Right Grip

Another very useful tool in the kitchen is a jar opener. Have you ever found one that works efficiently and easily? Or are you still tapping lids on a hard surface, using every bit of muscle strength to remove that lid stuck to the bottle as if it were glued on forever? Are you still giving the unopened sticky tops a hot water bath or direct heat treatment? (These are unsafe methods and could all be disastrous.) Certainly rubber grips are now available . . . but some jars are almost hopeless and need further help.

To the rescue is a small device made of polysterene plastic which has V-shaped stainless steel blades that grip tops of jars or bottles of all sizes. The blades are particularly useful for screw-top jars filled with sweet goodies that are often hard to tackle because the sugar sometimes crystallizes in between the lid and the rim of the jars.

Although there are now several brands on the market, one that caught our attention because of its red color (it also comes in almond, white or brown) is the Jar Vise. Like others of its kind, it's one more gadget that goes under the cabinet, for obviously handy reasons. The Jar Vise may be mounted under a kitchen cupboard or shelf with screws or pressure-sensitive adhesives, which are included in the set.

To use, simply slip the jar top between the teeth of the blades and twist the lid free. The only drawback is that sometimes the blades will scratch any decorative paint off the lid, but who cares about the appearance of the lid, anyway? The important thing is to get it loosened. The gadget will open all sizes of screw tops from a half-inch (vanilla bottles, nail polish bottles) to four inches (mayonnaise, pickle jars) in diameter. It measures 5 3/4x6 3/4x 3/4 inches and weighs 4 1/2 ounces.

The Decorator Colander is available at the Price Club for $7.99. The Jar Vise is available at specialty cookware stores throughout the country or by sending $7 directly to Weatherbee Co., Old Littleton Road, P.O. Box 297, Harvard, Mass. 01451.

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