Along with liking good food, I like good things. Too many good things. So many good things that I don't always have a use for them. In particular, I have a lot of kitchen widgets – a pretty absurd amount for a person who doesn’t even have a job that supplies health insurance – partly because my mother and grandmother list toward cooking paraphernalia in their gift-giving, and partly because I am obsessed with estate-sales and the vintage aesthetic. Back then – and by back then I mean rough the 30s thru the 70s – appliances had style. Appliances, clothing, cars, tchotchkes, whathaveyou. They had style and class and sex appeal. Even things like blenders and ice-cream scoops were sexy back then. Sexy and solid. They're still hanging around if you look in the right places.
In any case, I often fall in love with the aesthetic of something rather than it's function. Sometimes I'm good at resisting, but sometimes I'm not. I have clothing I own simply because it's so fabulous I had to own it, and this phenomenon is not limited to my closet.
In this instance, I acquired a teeny tiny pot at an estate sale about a year ago. I bought it because it was an amazing orange color, because it is enamel, which I love, and because it's a teeny tiny pot on the end of an abnormally long handle. I figured I could use it to melt butter – for pancakes? to go in crepe batter? And it was small enough that, as far as useless kitchen items go, it wasn’t very offensive.
I am writing this because perhaps you have something like this, and I recently discovered an excellent use for my teeny tiny pot. Seeing as how I have no microwave.
Unlike some people out there, I like my coffee best while it’s still actually hot. For a long time I was drinking it black – which began as a sort of self-imposed food challenge and evolved into a taste – but recently I’ve begun putting cream in it occasionally to help out my stomach. This is particularly fun during the holiday season when the stores all stock eggnog. The problem with cream and eggnog is that it’s cold, and it cools down the coffee. The solution to the problem is my tiny pot!
Because it’s so small - as opposed to say the small-size sauce pan I have, which was previously my only option for heating smaller amounts of things - less of the liquid is in direct contact with the hot surface and so it heats more slowly. Thus it is less likely to scald when you look away for a second - something I am always doing because there is always something to do in the kitchen, and I hate waiting for the pot to boil, as it were. The tiny pot also has the perfect little pour spout, and because this is its only use, heating cream in it doesn’t disturb the rest of my cooking schedule by dirtying something I need elsewhere.
So if you are also against microwaves and like your coffee to stay as hot as possible, wha-la! Tiny pot!
It is, of course, also good for melting butter. What else do you use your tiny pot for?