Ode to my Salad Spinner

by Karen Topakian

My favorite kitchen tool broke today. Ok it didn’t break. It leaked. All over the counter. A hairline fracture renders it useless.

It’s my orange-y red salad spinner. Bought 26 years ago when I first moved to San Francisco. At Rainbow Grocery. The old Rainbow. On the corner of 15th and Mission. Where you paid for your salad spinner separately from your lettuce.

I love this salad spinner because of its simplicity. A simple round plastic container surrounds a removable clear plastic interior basket. A lid with a knob. When rotated, the basket spins and the water expels. Centrifugal force in action. Thank you for discovering that principal, Sir Isaac Newton.

I’ve even taken it on vacation. This past weekend it lounged around in a condo in Yosemite. In January, it spent a few days at Lake Tahoe, relaxing at a rental house. It works seven days a week. Sometimes twice a day. 

A replacement must be purchased immediately. But what kind? And will I love it as much?

In 1984, there were only a few styles. Now the list of salad spinner features* approaches infinity.

Here are a few:

One that sanitizes

One with a crank

One with a big ass push button

One with a one-pump lever

One with a retractable pull cord

One that collapses to store flat

One that’s clear plastic

A stainless steel one

Several in designer colors

A very large one and a very small

Even an electric one

If you have a salad spinner that you love and would love to recommend. Write it in the comment section. Otherwise you can find me at Rainbow pestering the workers for a suggestion or left to the mercy of a clerk at William-Sonoma or Macy’s!

*Why were engineers working on “improving” salad spinners instead of developing sustainable technology?


  1. Pamela Gerard says:

    I have a spinner but I can’t say I love it! Can’t you still use your leaky one in the sink?

  2. Heidi Gatty says:

    ours has a tab on a string that you pull to get it going and it works great. secretly, however, i covet one with a push top and brake button. i also kind of love the oxo products, so if i was in the market i’d probably buy this: http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=7023&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results

  3. This comment comes three weeks after the blog was written. Karen, you are great at cliff hanger blogs. What happened thereafter? Did your partner fix the old one with superglue? And what bus do you take instead of the 26 Valencia?

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