Gadget Tree: What in the Heck is This?


Maureen asks: My son has been chasing his sister around the kitchen with this thing. I don’t even know where it came from. What is it and will I ever use it?

Kudos to your son for being so inventive! My kids were never that clever (but they also knew Mama wouldn’t take too kindly to them “playing” with her kitchen tools).

You’ve got a butter curler, Maureen. It’s used to carve butter into curls and other fancy-do shapes, especially for elegant dinner parties.

Back in the day, a big newlywed gift was a set of “garnishing” tools: a butter curler, lemon zester, melon baller, apple corer and peeler. Carved butter garnishes at the table can add an elegant look, and many restaurants use butter curlers for just that purpose.Butter Curls

Butter curlers were easier to use when butter came in 1-pound blocks, instead of ¼-pound sticks, but if you follow a couple of steps, you can still put one to good use:
1. Make sure the butter is chilled… but not TOO cold or frozen. If it is too cold, the curls will flake or break.
2. Slowly drag the blade across the top of the butter with a little pressure until it curls. By varying the pressure you can get thick or thin curls, balls and other designs.

Maureen, your curler is made of stainless steel with a plastic handle, so you can put it in the dishwasher.

This weekend, surprise the fam and create enchantment with little butter curls for their pancakes.

And tell Captain Hook to quit playing with the curler… he’ll put his eye out!


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: