Post # 118 Ace is the Place . . .

April 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Back about a hundred years ago, there was a commercial for Ace Hardware where a catchy tune was sung “Ace is the place with your helpful hardware man!”  Of course, now it’s changed to “helpful hardware people”, but that’s a different story.  Here in town, we have a bunch of Ace hardware stores.  It seems like there’s one on every corner, but that’s not really accurate, because every corner has a 7-Eleven.

I like hardware stores, especially the “old timey” ones.  I love going into stores with crowded shelves and spending a couple of hours rooting through the things that are crammed in the back and covered with two years worth of dust.  You never know what kind of treasure you’re going find.  It’s like going through a used book store and finding gold.

Anyone who has read this blog with any kind of regularity (both of you) will recall my travails with making donuts.  Still haven’t found “the recipe” and I was stymied by the cutting process.  Watching Alton Brown on the Food Network, I “learned” about a kit of cutting rings running from 3.5 inches down to 7/8 of an inch.  True to AB’s philosophy, these are multi-use and watching the show about donuts, you can use the smallest ring and the third largest ring to cut the “perfect sized” donut.  I searched diligently in the old style hardware stores, in bakery stores, in restaurant supply stores, and finally found a set in a kitchen store.  I was happy happy happy, but still looking for that elusive donut cutter.

The donut cutter I was looking for cut out the outer ring and inner ring simultaneously.  It was one unit and easy to use.  I’d never seen one personally, but had seen pictures on the internet and on television.  Every bakery section, every kitchen section, every cooking section of every story I ever went into got searched thoroughly.  It didn’t matter if I’d been to the store just a few days previously, I looked just in case it showed up out of the blue in a stock change.  No donut cutter.  I saw several pan to bake donuts, but I wanted the donut cutter so I could fry donuts.  The donuts I’m after are the round version of fried crullers.  Mostly, I need the flavor that I remember from my childhood.

There’s another small device that I’ve been after for a number of years.  Way back in the misty yesteryears of my youth, my mom had a Fry Daddy.  It was an electric heating pot you filled with oil to turn into a miniature deep fryer.  Once you were finished with it, you let the oil cool, snapped on a protective plastic lid, and put it in the fridge until you needed it again.  It helped keep the oil from turning rancid so it could be reused.  It was really only practical for families who did a lot of frying.  We used it mainly for French fries.  Until we stopped using it altogether.  It was awkward, hard to store, and took a long time to heat up.  But it had one thing that I used over and over for years.  The scoop that came with it was amazing.  It was slotted so oil drained off quickly.  It was long handled to reach to the bottom of the pot without burning your hand, but not so long as to be awkward.  It was shaped vaguely like a butterfly so it was easy to flip things into its center.  Without realizing they were doing it, they created a very elegant tool for handling cooking food.  I kept that thing for years, until I lost it recently.  By recently, I mean a few years ago.  In the multitude of moves since my divorce, it got misplaced.  I’ve seen it once or twice, but have managed to misplace it each time.

I’ve looked in all the same places that I looked for a donut cutter.  It just wasn’t to be found.  I even figured I’d buy the deep fryer again, but when I looked, they weren’t including that same design of scoop.  I bought other skimmers that do a good job, but they weren’t the same and in the back of my mind I regretted having lost it.

Have you ever seen a pair of wooden toast tongs?  These are small, wooden devices that you use to grasp things gently.  They are mainly used to get hot items out of toasters.  They are made of wood because it doesn’t conduct electricity and are safer to use in a toaster that’s still plugged in.  They also don’t conduct heat so grasping them for a length of time won’t burn your fingers.  They also don’t last in the dishwasher much past the fifth or sixth washing.  Who knew?  They’re also impossible to find in any store.

So, we have Ace hardware on every corner.  I think I said that.  There’s one that is so large it takes up a half block.  It’s huge!  It’s got several door fronts to go to different departments.  It’s got a hobby section.  IT’S GOT HOUSEWARES!  Guess what I found at Ace Hardware?


Yup!  You see it!  That’s a wooden toast tong on the bottom; that’s a donut cutter in the middle; that’s the Fry Daddy Scoop at the top!

Ace really is the place!

BTW – Due to some things occurring in my life right now, posts are going to be a little more sporadic than usual.  I’ll continue to post at least twice a week, and I’ll shoot for my normal schedule of M-W-F, but with everything happening, I can’t guarantee the days or the times.  Thanks for understanding.


  1. Well if you want a frier with a oil reservoir I bout Emeril’s on HSN. I love it not only because of the reservoir but also because it has an oil filtration system that cleans the oil before it goes into the storage. Also it has a basket and it’s not too big and not too small. I found the doughnut cutters here at my fave kitchen store and they have your wooden thongs too… Now the Fry Daddy I haven’t seen but I truly wasn’t looking but now that you mentioned it I will, I’ll let you know if I find it. And if you want a doughnut recipe let me know… LOL

    • Sweetie, you’ve not been paying attention. I’m in constant search for that perfect donut recipe. If you have one, send it along! I don’t want a deep fryer because I’d never use it enough. We’re grillers, not fryers. BTW – I don’t wear wooden thongs.

  2. Growing up we had this device that held donut batter, and had spring-loaded center that dropped the batter into the oil and then left a perfect donut when released. It was pretty killer. I wouldn’t be surprised if my Mom still had it.

    • Think you could steal it for me? Or how about her recipe for donuts? Either or both would be great!

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