Ninniku-dare: Garlic Ramen Condiment

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Earlier this month, a wonderful surprise arrived in my mailbox: a gift from a friend who had visited Japan recently. She’d asked for my address, and I assumed she’d send a lovely card. Oh, but no! This gorgeous little work of art was nestled in a beautifully wrapped box! The tinned copper turtle looks more like a piece of jewelry than a kitchen tool. I’ve been holding on my palm and admiring it, afraid to put such a delicate thing to practical use. But now I’ve used it, the teeth are strong and sharp, very practical to grate garlic and ginger—more elegant than my utilitarian micro-planes.