Stab, stab, stab
The best thing I purchased for my culinary and emotional life this year is an object I have named The Stabber. Is it sold as the Cocktail Kingdom Anvil Ice Pick, but words are difficult sometimes here at the frozen-ass end of the year, especially when it's beverage time and the ice is all clumped together. Where is the (makes wild, potentially misinterpreted hand motion) stabber thing? My husband always knows where The Stabber is. He gestures toward it or hands it over, and I lunge toward the fused mass of nugget ice with tremendous fury and immediate results. It's so satisfying—the efficiency of the process, and the calibrated heft in my hand—that my brain immediately slumps into a calmer state. Not so much that I don't still want that cocktail (because I surely do), but it's a rare chance to do something physical and violent in the service of something actually pretty benign.
I bought The Stabber in New Orleans on a July day when the temperature reached 93 degrees, the humidity sloshed up to 73 percent, and I was thinking how pleasant it would be to craft myself an igloo with it. I'd spied it in the box but didn't lay my hands up on the blessed object until I arrived back in Brooklyn (high of 77 degrees, 96 percent humidity). It's an exquisitely crafted thing, with the eponymous "anvil" of stainless steel at one end for scoring ice, a sturdy wooden trunk to anchor it, and a tapered point at the other end for jabbing into stubborn bergs of fused-together ice chunks and absolutely not for committing crimes with.
My job involves a good deal of sitting and staring, with the occasional bout of cooking and grocery lugging. It's easy to forget I am in possession of a body until I attempt to stand it up and it reminds me that I really should do that more often. Because The Stabber ($19.99 and worth every penny) is crafted for maximum effect with the least amount of effort, and I feel mighty and furious when I am jabbing into the solid mass like a wussy, East Coast Ernest Shackleton and feeling it crumble to frozen rubble for my drink. I could probably defend myself from an Abominable Snowman or rip open a Tauntaun for shelter with an implement of this degree of danger, but mostly I make lemon and mezcal drinks, and I tell myself that's just as cool.