Tools and Gadgets
Let’s face it, kitchens tend to be overloaded with
“stuff.” There seems to be a fancy gadget out there for every cooking
task imaginable. But the reality is that you only need a few basic
pieces of equipment to make your life in the kitchen easier. We’ve cut
through the clutter and come up with a list of the equipment we can’t
Tongs: One 9-inch pair and one
12-inch pair, stainless steel with non-slip handles, lockable for easy
storage. The long pair can double for grill duty.
Turner: The best turner, hands
down, is a chef’s slotted turner, also called a fish turner. Slotted,
flexible, and controllable, it’s an extension of your hand.
Whisk: You only need one, a French
whisk. Also called an egg or sauce whisk, this can handle most any
chore from whipping cream to smoothing out sauces.
Large spoon: Pick a wood one, to
prevent scratching your pans. Tight-grained wood, like olive or maple,
won’t absorb flavors.
Rubber spatula: Silicone is best
since it can withstand temperatures up to 900° F. The spatula head can
scrape and stir, then go straight into the dishwasher, sans handle,
for easy cleanup.
Ladle: You only need two—a 2-ounce
one for cooking and a 6-ounce for soup.
Instant-read thermometer: Digital
models are inexpensive and work well.
Can opener: choose a sturdy can
opener with a smooth operating mechanism.
Cutting boards: While wooden and
composite boards are equally safe, the lighter composites are becoming
quite popular. They’re reasonably maintenance free and can be thrown
in the dishwasher for cleaning.
Peeler: Choose either a standard
"scraper-"style peeler or a "Y" peeler with a comfortable ergonomic
Box grater: Four-sided stainless
steel grater with rubber base for stability. Stainless steel dry
measuring cups and spoons: having a couple of sets comes in very
Glass 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
Nesting mixing bowls: Stainless
steel bowls with slip resistant bases are wonderful, but glass is good
Colander/strainer: You’ll want a
large stainless steel colander with two handles for pasta and
vegetables; a medium-size fine-mesh strainer is great for removing
seeds from fresh lemon juice and straining small amounts of sauces.
Rolling pin: Choose a maple or ash
wooden pin with handles. Make sure it’s not too heavy for you.
Citrus reamer: A wooden or metal
lemon reamer with a large easy-to-grip handle.
Electric hand mixer: A simple
three-speed model is sufficient for most mixing jobs.
Stick blender: Also called an
immersion blender, these hand held blenders store easily, are a snap
to clean, and allow you to cook and blend food in the same pot. Good
for pureeing soups, making milk shakes and smoothies and frothing milk
for coffee drinks.
Food processor: If you do a lot of
chopping, slicing, shredding or pureeing, you probably need a powerful
food processor. They come with plenty of attachments to make food prep
fun and easy. They're also great for making and kneading dough in no
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