It’s The End of an Era…

No, I am not talking about the death of Michael Jackson. Nor am I opining upon the resignation of Sarah Palin.

Nope.

This is about the death of a kitchen tool that has been a part of my life for well over ten years, which I found out about from an ad in the back of an old issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. It has served me well in my own kitchen as well as in the kitchens of others, and I even used it a bit when I worked in a professional kitchen–I just packed the critter up and carted it off with me.

Yes, my Sumeet has suffered a most final, and decisive death.

It is a sad, sad day.

It has been limping along for months–the motor housing cracked a long time ago, and was repaired with duct tape. The blades had finally dulled to the point that I could no longer put peeled chunks of ginger into the container and have them grind up–I had to roughly chop it first, and then the Sumeet would grind it to a paste. Fresh coconut and even worse, galangal had become impossible, even if cut into small pieces. And channa dalia–well, that is what put the final nail in the coffin of my faithful kitchen friend and burned out its workhorse motor. (The smell of burning motor bits is distinctive, disturbing and quite final. It was the smell, in addition to the sound of interior motor bits grinding against each other that told me that the Sumeet had given up the ghost.)

So, I raise my (third) cup of coffee of the day to my old friend and boon companion in all endeavors culinary, and wish it Godspeed as it goes off on its last adventure.

I feel as if I should give it a Viking burial, complete with grave offerings and burning ship, but I suspect I would get cited for littering, pollution of a waterway and unauthorized burning of a kitchen appliance in public if I hiked myself down to the Hocking River and after arranging a full array of funerary offerings (heaps of spices, garlic and ginger, most likely) around it on a raft, I set the supine Sumeet ablaze with all proper pomp and grief-filled circumstance.

So, let this post stand as the funeral to my loyal helpmate who until this very hour on this very day, never let me down, no matter what manner of crazy ingredients I set it to grinding.

Needless to say, I immediately ordered a replacement, but after doing research all over the web, but particularly among Indian blogs and websites, and hearing from readers of my blog over months that the company that makes Sumeet has given up on customer service, and reading reviews of other Indian wet-dry grinders, I decided to pick up a Preethi. (I started this research months ago, as I knew that this day was coming. The Sumeet has been wheezing along pathetically for a long time, so I have been preparing for its eventual demise.)

I have read great reviews of Preethi’s various wet-dry grinders and it looks and sounds like it will be a worthy successor to my old and dear kitchen friend.

Look for a review of my new kitchen goodie when it arrives.

Until then, I will be back to grinding spices the old fashioned way–with a mortar and pestle. (The good thing about the old ways is that they always work, they don’t require electricity and the stone implements required do not wear out within a human lifetime.)

13 Comments

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  1. Oh, this is sad. :( It is always tough when our favorite tools break, die, are lost, etc. Some might sneer that we’re anthropomorphizing, but, well, who cares? We humans are tool-using animals, of course we’d feel affection for something we work with every day, especially if it’s helped us bring beauty into the world.

    Comment by Laughingrat — July 12, 2009 #

  2. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

    Also, this has nothing to do with your dear departed grinder, but do you happen to have any canning-suitable recipes for apricot salsa? The markets here are currently FULL of tasty local apricots at excellent prices. I really want to take a crack at preserving some, but we’re not big jam-eaters. If not, do you think that using a canning-suitable peach salsa recipe would work? Apricots are, if anything, more acidic than peaches.

    Comment by Eve — July 12, 2009 #

  3. You have my sympathy. I wish you the best with your new companion-tool-to-be.

    We are tool-making and tool-using animals. Making and creating are our aspects most like onto our creator. We put a little bit of ourselves into our tools both when we make them and with each use.

    Comment by Dan Jenkins — July 12, 2009 #

  4. Oh how sad! It took me three months and assorted starts and stops in the process – and much frustration to actually obtain mine (oh the tales I could tell…). So when it goes, that’s it, and I suppose I’ll also be looking for a wet/dry grinder. I have a friend who swears by “the magic bullet” for Thai curries, but somehow I’m not sure it would work well for the Indian batters and the like.

    Anyhow – back to topic – A moment of silence shall be observed for its passing…

    Comment by Diane — July 12, 2009 #

  5. Wow, I was somehow totally unaware of the existence of these appliances. So cool! I am dying to hear your review after you get it.

    Comment by Laura — July 12, 2009 #

  6. Farewell and god speed, Oh Faithful Sumeet! May you live in the great electronics heaven in the sky (or where ever) where parts never wear out, gears always grind without any smoke and the spices always come out right. I am in completely sympathy. My ancient tiny but perfect-for-me Cuisinart appliance finally cracked open and is totally unusable. I haven’t been able to bring myself to put it in the recycle bin but I will, I swear I will. One of these days.

    Comment by Nancy — July 12, 2009 #

  7. Farewell, Dear Sumeet. A Sumeet mixie was the one staple gift every woman of my mother’s generation got, at the time of marriage. My mother’s Sumeet was precious to her, and it served us well, until it gave up one summer day.
    She has replaced it with yes, a Preethi Blue Leaf – somehow, it is not the same. Its too snazzy and too flashy for my liking…
    Reminds me of childhood days, of staying in apartments with mixies whizzing in various houses in the mornings.. at one point of time, i could almost tell if it was a coconut/ gram/ groundnut chutney that was being ground for breakfast! Sigh!!

    Comment by Roxana — July 13, 2009 #

  8. It is so good to hear that I am not the only one who understands how sad it is to lose a tool I have used nearly every day for over ten years!

    And yeah, I do treat my tools as if they have personalities–they even have names–and I am glad to know that other folks feel much the same. I always thought I was somewhat nutty for it.

    Roxana–I think it is cool that you could almost tell by the sound what was being ground up for breakfast! And yeah–it seems that the Sumeet -was- the standard for kitchen grinders for a long time in India–we’ll see what I think of the Preethi when it gets here!

    (I got a different model than your Mom did–so we’ll see what happens when I put it through its paces.)

    Comment by Barbara — July 13, 2009 #

  9. Hello Barbara

    You did good. Preethi is the best in line. The Blue leaf model is the one which the it thing now. it is doing a good job so far. Unfortunatly Summet company stopped selling stuff about 5 yrs ago i guess. WHatevr was sold was what was left of it or just cheap stuff sold in sumeetz name.

    I did read about the magic bullet stuff on your comments. OH i do say it does a fantastic job on making powders and curry pastes. But, its not for heavy grinding. I mean oh no dosa or idli batter . It can do small jobs not heavy duty stuff. I make chutney powder, rasam , sambhar, vangi bhat etc etc powder at home. But i have to do it in say 3 or 4 days as the motor heats up. I am too scared that it would die on me. Preethi does this stuff in a go Hence its easy . you always need heavy duty stuff for an indian kitchen.
    Have you tried making poran poli/boli . i think you shud try and i am sure kat and morganna would love it.

    Comment by shubha — July 13, 2009 #

  10. I’ve been yearning for a wet-dry grinder for a while. Do please let us know how you like the Preethi once you’ve had a chance to use it…

    Comment by Lexica — July 13, 2009 #

  11. Lowered my cooking flag to half maste in honor of your Sumeet. It was your recommendation and my persistence for 2 years that I finally got one. The stories I heard were wonderful “the factory flooded and we had to move it to another location”, “the motor needed to be redesigned”. At one time they were even listed in Williams Sonoma catalog but never delivered. So, for now I have my Sumeet but am interested in what you think of your new one. I look forwarded to great recipes from your new kitchen toy.

    Comment by Maureen — July 13, 2009 #

  12. Sumeet USED to be the best-once upon a time!There was a time when every kitchen in India had one.Now sadly they don’t make it like that anymore. Never tried Preethi-will wait for your review.We used Philips,while my mom switched loyalties to National :)

    Comment by Sweta — July 13, 2009 #

  13. Maureen: Your comments made me spit tea in a guffaw when I read them. My excuses were, “They shipped it here but we lost it and have to re-order,” “The factory in India is shut down for a month,” and “It’s held up in customs.” Ay-yi-yi! But it all makes for a good story now.

    Comment by Diane — July 15, 2009 #

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