When a salad spinner barely spins anymore, it’s probably time to get a new one. That’s the situation in my house right now. Like a car that has a flat tire, my salad spinner sputters and makes an awful clicking sound as the lettuce goes round and round. That noise is my salad spinner crying out to me for help. My salad spinner wants to be put down.
But I tend to hold on to things. In the case of my salad spinner, I’m holding on to memories.
But wait. If you think this is going to turn into a weepy essay about my grandmother who came to America with only a salad spinner in hand, you are wrong on many levels. I know nothing about the history of my salad spinner. All I know is that it was once owned by my mother and now it’s owned by me. And that is apparently all I need to know to form an unreasonable attachment to a kitchen tool that no longer works.
I’m probably not the only person who is holding on to a 70s-era salad spinner, and I’m certainly not the only person who has kitchenware that is being kept around for sentimental reasons. And while I’m not here to tell you to throw away your grandmother’s molinillo or your dad’s Argentinian toaster, I am going to suggest, lightly, that if the sentimental items in our kitchens are no longer effective (or attractive), maybe it’s time—time to get real about the stuff that is cluttering our drawers, time to move on and replace the broken stuff with stuff that works.
That’s easy to say and hard to do. I’ve put off writing this article for months, because I can’t imagine throwing away something that my mother used for decades, and that has served me for decades, too. But this is ridiculous logic. My salad spinner barely works. My salad spinner is a tint of yellow that hasn’t been seen since 1978. The plastic bowl of my salad spinner is so cloudy you can’t see whether the bowl is empty or full.
The other day I used a friend’s salad spinner, and I was shocked by how easy, fast, and effective a salad spinner can be. That’s when I decided that enough is enough: I’m going to buy a sleek, modern OXO salad spinner of my own. But before I did that, I wanted to call my mother and tell her that I was moving on. The conversation went like this:
“Mom, remember that yellow salad spinner?
“Oh my heavens.”
“I still have it.”
“That was a wedding gift.” (Note: my parents got married in 1977.)
“I’ve been holding on to it for sentimental reasons.”
(Silence for a minute.)
“David, salad spinners aren’t that expensive.”
“I know, but—”
“I think it’s had its life, sweetie.”
“Well, I don’t know, I think it could—”
“David, you need to do what that woman on TV says. Pick it up and say ‘thanks for the wonderful salads’ then put it in a landfill.”
“That’s the only place it’s going to go, you can’t give that thing away now.”
“I mean, I gave that thing to you because I found a better one.”
Originally Appeared on Epicurious