When I was growing up my father owned a hardware store. I loved to walk through my dad’s store and hear the wood floors creak under my feet. There were tools for every job. While some tools will do many jobs, a saw will cut, having the right tool often made the job easier.
The same principle works in the kitchen. The other half of my dad’s store had housewares, so I learned all about the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets. Some were tried and true and others were here today and gone tomorrow. Many were very specialized and used for only one task.
When we got married I was registered at my dad’s store and most of our gifts came from there. I knew exactly what I wanted and did not want. I am not a huge fan of gadgets and do not like a lot of clutter on my kitchen counters, so I wanted things that could multitask. But just like on the hardware side, having the right tool makes the job so much easier.
One of my favorite kitchen toys in my KitchenAide Mixer. I received it for Christmas right after we got married and it has been on the kitchen counter ever since. This workhorse has stood the test of time. The KitchenAide is what I use for making all my bakery items from scratch. Basically measure the ingredients into the bowl and mix. It is more expensive than a hand mixer but can work so much harder.
I inherited a set of Paul Revere copper bottom pots and pans from my grandmother when I got my first apartment. Having the right size pot or pan when cooking just makes it turn out better. Pan too small and food does not cook well. While a pot that is too big may let food burn. Also, having enough pots for cooking several items at the same time is best.
Other gadgets I like include a coffee maker with a carafe rather than a warming plate.
With a carafe I do not have to worry about leaving the coffee maker on when we leave. Also it saves energy because the warmer is not left on for hours. I am a big fan of Tupperware! Again, I received several items for wedding gifts and have used them continuously. Over the years I have hosted a few Tupperware parties to earned free items. Tupperware is a great way to keep left overs and store staples. While Tupperware is more expensive up front, all items come with a lifetime warranty. So when items break or do not seal anymore, I contact my Tupperware dealer and get replacements. There are many less expensive food storage items at the grocery store now and I have tried a few. I have found that they are basically disposable and do not last through many washings. These products are great for sending food to others or taking somewhere that you may not get your container back. I feel the investment in Tupperware is worth the extra cost because it lasts for years. I have some Tupperware items that were my mother-in-laws and are over 25 years old.
For the health and safety of our family I use a food thermometer. One of Tim’s sayings is:
Hot foods hot; cold foods cold.
Basically this means serving foods at the safe and correct temperature. This is especially important for cooking meats. I have a chart in my kitchen cabinet that helps me remember the safe temperate for all species of meat. The thermometer is easy to use, just poke it in at least 1″ and wait a few seconds. If it is safe, serve; if not, put back in the oven for a few minutes.
Gadgets that I do not use include a food processor. I know that they are wonderful for getting a lot of chopping or grating done quickly, I do not like to wash all the parts and do not like to have it on the kitchen counter. Rather I have a Foley flat grater than I have used for over 24 years to grate cheese, carrots, etc for recipes. And I just chop or slice with a knife the vegetables for recipes. There is a lot less clean up and I do not know that it takes that much longer.
Other gadgets I do not use include: specialty slicers or cutters ( I have good sharp knives), garlic press, egg separator, egg slicer, and mushroom brush. I try to use tools that have many purposes.
What are your favorite kitchen tools? Not favorite? Let me know.