Post #489 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

July 8, 2016 at 8:16 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #489 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

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I found the above picture in an article I read recently about this person’s favorite kitchen items; the ones they couldn’t live without.  And as it always does with these things it set me to thinking.  Is there a kitchen item I can’t live without?

See, when I started cooking, we didn’t have a lot of the gadgets and things I have today.  Mom wasn’t an inspired cook and made do with the things she had to get the job.  So I learned early on how to cream butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  We had two of those.  I learned to slice everything by hand because we didn’t have a mandolin, and the box grater had one side for slicing.  We had two sheet pans, and one round pizza pan.  One set of measuring spoons, and one glass measuring cup.  We had three millions bowls of various sizes.  We had three or four different knives and a cutting board.  We had casserole pans, cake pans, pie pans. I don’t recall if we had an hand mixer initially, but we had one later so either we had one all along, or I got one as a gift.  I got a wok one Christmas and a couple of wooden spatulas with it.  We had metal spatulas, but no rubber ones.

I actually appreciate the way I learned to cook.  Not having the electric gadgets around made me learn how to do things by hand.  I can whip cream in a ceramic bowl with a fork to a light frothy goodness.  Same with egg whites.  There are few techniques manageable by machines today that I can’t do by hand.  That’s not to say I WANT to do it by hand.  I’m a firm believer in the easier way.  But there’s a lot to be said for knowing how we got there.

So, my first kitchen essential (apart from plates and cutlery) would be bowls.  I like a large assortment in various sizes and materials.  It’s hard to mix things if you don’t have a bowl, or if the bowl is too small.  I also like bowls that are older, more antique-ish.  We have a HUGE purple bowl with a small chip out of it that we picked up from an antique store in Tucson.  We call it the bread bowl, but there’s no real practical application for this bowl.  It’s large enough to mix up 12 loaves of bread and heavy as a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  Right now, it’s hidden in a closet because there’s no place to put it.  We have several various formal serving bowls, too.    Not too matchy matchy, but all look good together.  Necessary when feeding a large group of people or a large amount of dishes.  Along the same line, I also like various serving platters large and small and various shapes.  We have a couple that are round and many that are oval.

My second kitchen essential are knives and sharpeners.  I can make do with a single sharp knife to get all my ingredients chopped and sliced, but having the right tool for the job makes life easier.  For my whole life, I bought those butcher block sets with a dozen different knives plus steak knives plus scissors and sharpening rods.  But on our latest move across the country, we decided to follow the advice of America’s Test Kitchen and bought highest quality knives individually as we could afford them.  They’re on a magnetized strip on the side of the fridge and always within reach.  We learned from ATK that the knives sold in sets are not the best quality, and I’d found that I replaced them several times over the years.  Plus, I got things I never used, like a cleaver.

My third kitchen essential is wooden spoons of various lengths and uses.  Right now, we have over a dozen various wooden utensils.  Wood is best although it gets stained fairly easily.  Wood doesn’t conduct heat so it’s safe to leave them in a pan for a moment.  Wood also won’t scratch sensitive surfaces on cookware.  Wood won’t last (although I’ve had a few pieces survive almost a decade), but it’s inexpensive and easy to replace.

My fourth kitchen essential is various pots/pans/skillets/sheets.  I lumped them all together because they are what you cook on or in.  I love cast iron although recently we moved over to a heavy duty nonstick cookware set.  We have various baking sheets, pots and pans, skillets, cooling racks, baking ware, etc.  We love browsing kitchen stores and finding odd pans that will do double duty.  No single use items for us!

My last kitchen essential is reliable measuring tools.  I bake a lot.  Baking requires exact measurements whether it’s in cups or teaspoons.  We have a full set of glass measuring cups from 1 cup to 8 cups.  We have two other sets of nesting metal measuring cups for dry ingredients.  We have three sets of measuring spoons.  A little excessive perhaps, but I don’t have to wash anything while cooking as I used to do as a kid.

Our kitchen has a lot more to than just these items.  You may remember a couple of posts in Tucson bemoaning the amount of stuff in one drawer.

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We don’t have that here, but if we keep collecting as we do, it may end up that way.

So what are your kitchen essentials?

Enjoy

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