Clever cooks have always found inspiration outside the kitchen. The modern corkscrew came to us by way of a tool once used to clean the barrel of a musket. The Microplane grater was born when a frustrated chef used one of her husband's woodworking rasps to zest oranges for a cake. In The Apartment (1960), a repurposed tennis racquet brings new meaning to the phrase "dinner is served."
In a classic scene, bachelor C.C. "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) returns home with a big bag of groceries to find that his fragile houseguest, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) has been straightening up the place. "What's a tennis racquet doing in the kitchen?" she asks. Bud takes time to recollect: "A tennis racquet? Oh, I remember - I was cooking myself an Italian dinner." Fran is still puzzled, so Bud continues, "I used it to strain spaghetti." Boasting that he's a pretty good cook, Bud offers to make dinner. Fran watches in amazement as he uses the racquet to gleefully strain, rinse, and transfer the pasta onto a plate. "Wait 'til you see me serve the meatballs!" he says, pantomiming a perfect backhand stroke. - Nora