There Is So Much More to Trivets Than Meets the Eye
A good trivet can protect your counters, save your hands, open your jars, and soothe your addled psyche.
If you're a lucky-enough child, the people entrusted with your care go to certain lengths to shield you from the mundanity of adult life and instead point you toward the good stuff. It's a vast horizon of possibility; why wouldn't you grow up to become the legally appointed president of Mars, or the person in charge of sharks, or the human who invents infinite cheese and also dogs that stay smelling like puppies forever? It never occurs to you that you may age into being a grownup who not just uses but actively cares about trivets. Them's the breaks, kiddo.
My personal trivet fixation didn't become evident to me until recently when I came into possession of a new table. In the interest of keeping it nice for a time (I can never keep anything nice) I looked around for a trivet and was startled to notice that there were at least three options in my line of vision, and probably more if I hunted around for a moment. It's not like there was a nest of kitchenware gnomes depositing them on my tabletops and counters in the dead of night, or I spiraled into a retail fugue and woke up to a queue of UPS drivers building a box rampart outside my front door (I'm afraid it's all trivets, ma'am. I need you to sign here). Nope: I had apparently been devising a trivet-centric life for myself over the past decade and a half, and they formed a center of gravity that began attracting other trivets to it. May I tell you about several of my favorite trivets?
Deluxe Round Trivet, $75 at lecreuset.com
There's the ur-trivet that started it all. Oh, she's a hefty lass, a real beaut crafted of red enameled cast iron and guaranteed for life by Le Creuset. Trina (I call her that because she's tri-footed and as a former metalsmith I am compelled to anthropomorphize all major ferric objects in my life) was actually a gift, part of a cookware set my husband (he doesn't call her anything and that's his choice—marriage is about compromise) and I received from his longtime best friend as a wedding present. If we hadn't acquired her in that manner, I'd have coveted Trina from afar, not believing myself worthy of the $75 splurge. Trina believes in me and she will be here long after I have passed from this earth. I find comfort in this. She's currently holding aloft a bowl of black walnuts but could easily double as a doorstop.
Silicone French Trivet, $16 at lecreuset.com
Her jazzy little cousin—also cherry red—lays quietly nearby, currently unencumbered but at the ready to receive the burden of a blazing pot while keeping the countertop unscorched. She, too, is of Le Creuset lineage and you can see the family resemblance—the French architectural details mimicked by Trina's cast curves are pressed into relief in a silicone disc that is slightly less permanent (only a 5-year warranty) but can weather the stresses of the dishwasher, and temperatures up to 482°F. She has no name, but I trust her with my life—or at least my mortal, burnable flesh, and the surfaces of my home. She's only $16. She's worth it.
In another branch of la famille silicone, I'm in possession of two (2) matching blue honeycombed discs that function in my life as, yes, trivets, but also potholders, coasters, and a source of pleasant tactile sensation when I just need to (literally) feel something. When my anger and angst have nowhere useful to go, I will sit and stroke and poke the pliable surface, pressing down with a fingertip and releasing with a satisfying POP! No amount of pressure will cause their disfigurement though granted, I have not allowed my dogs access to them. They're available all over the place, but will set you back a mere $2.25 at American Science Surplus—a site that has classified them as "the world's safest Frisbee." I want this comfort for you in these vile times.
I also purchased three or perhaps four fleur de lis trivets of an indeterminate metal while wandering through a Century 21 department store one evening after leaving the office, back when I went to an office and wandering through stores was a calming activity rather than a source of throat-squeezing urgency and utility. I intended them merely as wall decor, but I actually stand pots and my teakettle on top of them to forestall any potential rust stains on the shelves. Trivets, is there anything you can't do?
Perhaps I should have studied siliconesmithing in addition to metalsmithing because it is becoming clearer to me upon excavation of my habits that it's something of a fixation / therapy source to me. I wonder if GIR takes Aetna. Not only are they the purveyors of my favorite face mask—they also devised some curious little multi-beveled silicone squares that function as trivets, coasters, pot holders, jar openers, and possibly a pocket-sized emotional safety blanket. The GIR site currently appears to be out of the standalone packs of the 4" x 4" model that I favor, but they do come bundled with a larger 8" x 8" model that I may allow myself if I feel I can withstand that level of joy.
My husband also came to the marriage with trivets. I'll tell you about those another time.
Here are some additional trivets for which I yearn but do not currently possess:
Chrissy Teigen has earned her place in the pantheon of modern-day domestic deities and I have no doubt that this trivet is reflective of that level of quality and rigor.
8.5" Round Aluminum Trivet, $13 at target.com
Granted, I find myself in a hyperemotional state quite frequently these days, but I started crying when I saw this trivet. It's made of red-enameled cast iron and it has a rooster in the center of it and it could easily become the center of my personal gravity.
Enameled Rooster Trivet, $20 at lodge.com