Jamie Oliver wants to replace your mortar and pestle with something he thinks is a little more useful. See, he was in his home kitchen (read our book review!) with his trusty pestle, but it was taking a long time to grind his spices and herbs. He thought there must be a better way, and he promptly invented the Flavour Shaker.
The Flavour Shaker is a nifty little device that Oliver promotes on his show and through his books. It's basically a small, ergonomically-shaped plastic jar with a ceramic ball inside. You put spices, herbs, garlic, or ingredients for a dressing or marinade inside then shake away. It pulverizes everything.
We haven't seen one of these in person, but we're intrigued. Usually we reject anything that promises to do something we can already do with a chef's knife, but the practical function of mixing up dressings and other emulsified sauces is appealing.
They are a little difficult to find in the United States, but plenty of UK bloggers have reviewed the invention over the last couple of years. The reviews are mixed; some think it's absolutely brilliant, while others feel that it isn't well executed. There are reports that the plastic acquires the smell and taste of the spices, which won't go away, and that the seal between the two halves is not very strong.
Some of these criticisms might be alleviated by the new stainless steel version Oliver recently released.
What do you think? Have you seen the Flavour Shaker? Have you tried it?
• Read more about how the Flavour Shaker was developed: The Flavour Shaker: Jamie's Invention
• Buy the Flavour Shaker at Golda's Kitchen, via Amazon. $29.75. This is only the plastic version; we haven't found a US source for the stainless steel one yet.
• See the stainless steel version here
Related: Book Review: Jamie At Home
(Images: Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker at Pots and Pans)