I love cooking big, hearty dinners when I get home from work. But like most New Yorkers, my kitchen is teeny-tiny with minimal cabinet space. It’s a delicate balance: I need enough cookware that I have the ability to follow a Chris Morocco recipe to completion, but not so much stuff that my little cabinets are cluttered and messy. As a result, I’ve become quite a conservative shopper when it comes to kitchen tools — if I’m going to buy something, it has to be practical, do its job extremely well, and, ideally, serve multiple purposes.
Last Christmas, my sister gifted me something called a Marna Piggy Steamer — a microwave-safe, silicone lid with a little pig head on it that you can put on top of pots, pans, and bowls to trap steam. I didn’t think much of it at first, beyond finding it cute. The language on the packaging didn’t do much to convince me, either: “Place on pot for stove-top cooking,” it read. “Use in place of plastic wrap in microwave.”
But then one night, a couple of months after receiving the Marna Piggy, I was cooking an extravagant meal that involved using pots and pans of various sizes. After realizing that the pot I was about to cook rice in was missing its lid, I took a leap of faith, chucked some water and rice in, and threw the Piggy Steamer lid on top. After 20 minutes, I removed the piggy and saw something I wasn’t expecting: perfectly cooked, fluffy rice. The best rice, in fact, I’ve ever cooked. The success, I deduced, was thanks both to the little holes in the piggy’s “nose” (they allow a small bit of steam to leave the pot so the rice doesn’t boil too aggressively) and the thing’s silicone edges (which means it keeps an abnormally tight grip on the pot, ensuring enough steam is trapped inside to cook everything thoroughly). Pleased, I began doing all my steaming with the piggy (green beans, broccoli). Everything I cooked under it turned out as perfectly as the rice did — not too firm, not soggy, and particularly flavorful.
It wasn’t until a few weeks after my rice triumph that I realized just how much the piggy is capable of. Remembering that the packaging had mentioned it was microwave safe, I started using it as a lid for my bowls of leftovers. I first attempted this with a bowl of two-day-old tofu and peanut noodles, and was delighted to find that the piggy, unlike the wrap I usually use to cover my leftovers, doesn’t burn my hands — you pinch its “ears” together and lift it right off. And even better, it kept my food perfectly moist, without any sogginess. At this point, impressed, I Googled the piggy — and found that it’s description mentioned it was designed to quickly open stuck jars, too (something about the silicone). The next time I had a stuck lid (jam), I ran to grab the piggy, and used it to yank the jar open. It opened immediately. I’ve used it since on pickles and a jar of tomato sauce. It’s really incredibly useful, for a silicone sheet that loosely resembles a pig.
The piggy has quickly become one of my most-used, most-beloved kitchen tools. If you’re someone who, like me, cooks a lot of rice and steams a lot of vegetables, uses your microwave a disturbing amount, or has terribly weak arms, you’re going to want to consider buying one for yourself.