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~My Shopper's Weakness~
Any shopper will tell you that not all purchases are about NEED - a good proportion of them are solely about GREED. In reality nobody really NEEDs more than a couple of pairs of shoes to keep their feet covered, but somehow they call us from the shelves, whispering 'Buy me, Buy me'. Fortunately I've weaned myself off the random buying of shoes and handbags but I still have a weakness for kitchenware - especially anything that's brightly coloured and made of heat-resistant Silicone.
My usual brand for bright pink kitchen 'stuff' is Kitchen Craft's Colourworks range. I actually had some problems finding this item to list it because I was searching under Colourworks and didn't realise it was a different brand. My gorgeous bright pink item for this review is a pastry brush or basting brush.
Going back to the lack of 'need', I don't eat meat, haven't roasted a chicken in more than 20 years and certainly never 'baste' anything. If basting is all about putting the fat from meat back onto the meat, it's fair to say it's a completely pointless waste of time me having a basting brush. My use of pastry extends to once or twice a year buying a pack of pre-rolled puff pastry or a pack of filo pastry sheets. I bought it purely because it was (sorry) "Pretty" and then I took it home in the hope of being able to find a reason to justify its purchase. Yes, my brush does come in handy for dabbing a bit of egg wash or milk onto the open surfaces of the pastry BUT in no way would that rare use justify the specification of a high-tech brush, brightly coloured and with stunning heat-beating powers. I could just use the old wooden- handled, plastic-bristled brush I inherited from who-knows-where.
Actually that's a lie. I couldn't use my old wooden- handled, plastic-bristled brush because I tried to use it to spread oil around a hot frying pan and all the fibres shrivelled up under the heat. It went from being an old wooden- handled, plastic-bristled brush to being an old wooden- handled brush with a mess of melted plastic where the bristles used to be. And this is the reason why I have a fancy basting brush. When I'm frying things I like to use the minimum possible oil but without going to the extreme of buying 'spray oil'. I put a blob of olive oil in the pan, let it warm and then brush the pan surface with the oil using my pretty pink brush.
The brush is 26 cm long with a stainless steel handle with a hanging hole at the end. The head is bright pink silicone rubber and is 8.5 cm long, of which over half is the bristle length. The bristles are soft and floppy and spread oil beautifully. The bristles are longer than on other similar brushes I've seen and are designed to hold more oil or fat which will be important if you're actually using it to baste. The heat resistance of the silicone is up to 315 C or 600F so you really don't need to worry about the bristles shrivelling up. If I were buying a stirrer or a spoon or an item that gets left in the pan, I would want the entire length of the item to be silicone to protect it from the heat, but I can think of no reason why this type of brush would need such a thing. You pick it up, you brush, you put it down again - it's not something you would leave in contact with heat for longer than you need to do your brushing.
Thinking back to my old brush, I'm convinced that the silicone and steel brush is much more hygienic. My grandmother had a wooden one with bristles that looked like an old man's shaving brush - I assume they were badger hair. I always thought that was not an item that could really be kept clean, whereas I have no problem at all to stick steel and silicone in the dishwasher. The colour will not fade, the handle will not crack and I will never ruin a pan and a brush by having the fibres melt all over the place.
The Zeal basting brush is available in a range of colours including the Hot Pink which I have, a lime green, a blue, a black and a very sensible but dull white. The pink one will cost you £5.34 plus postage on Amazon.