Material Object: Jennifer Fisher
As told to Joshua David Stein. Illustration by Lucilla Tubaro.
What's the most important item in your home? In our series Material Object, we explore that very question, asking some of our favorite people which of their possessions connect them to their past, to their family, and to themselves.
Known as the "Queen of Hoops," Jennifer Fisher is the founder of Jennifer Fisher Jewelry, a jewelry brand with stores in Beverly Hills and SoHo, and the founder of JF Kitchen, a line of flavored and blended salts. Below, Jennifer shares the story behind her childhood mandoline.
For years my mandoline sat unloved and unused in that kitchen drawer we all have where rarely used tools go to grow old. It’s not that I didn’t cook. When I was in fifth grade, out of some sense, I suppose, of wanting to prepare me for womanhood, my mother enrolled me in cooking classes in my hometown of Montecito, California. There I learned how to make brownies from scratch, how to poach an egg, how to make homemade orange juliuses. (The secret is sugar.)
But, for some reason, by the time I got to college at University of Southern California, my mandoline had fallen into disuse. And there it stayed for years. When I moved to New York, to work as a fashion stylist, I brought the thing along out of a sense of obligation. It wasn’t until after I had my son, Shane, eighteen years ago, and my daughter, Drew, sixteen years ago, that the mandoline began to speak to me. As soon as the kids grew out of the frozen chicken nuggets and pizza phase -- which took a very long time -- I began using the mandoline to transform vegetables (yucky!) into long thin virtually recognizable slices. When I got home from work, I’d pull out my mandoline as fast as I could. I’d put ribbons of carrot or English cucumber and sweet peppers in a bowl and, without anyone saying anything, the kids would just graze. By the time dinner was on the table, they’d already eaten their vegetables without complaint.
"When I moved to New York, to work as a fashion stylist, I brought the thing along out of a sense of obligation. It wasn’t until after I had my son, Shane, eighteen years ago, and my daughter, Drew, sixteen years ago, that the mandoline began to speak to me."
As it turns out, everyone loves a good mandoline’d vegetable. When I began posting what I cooked and ate to my Jennifer Fisher Kitchen Instagram, the most feedback I got was, “How do you make everything look so professional?” Well, the answer is the mandoline. It’s right at the side of my sink and I use it more than a frying pan and a knife. I credit it with giving my kids a healthy diet and I credit it with making all my salads Instagrammable.