Kitchen tools. When you’re used to being in the kitchen, you end up finding a few tools that feel most comfortable to work with and help you get the job done efficiently. I have just started the third quarter of teaching Home Ec to middle schoolers and this means I am introducing the kids to a variety of kitchen tools they will use over the next nine weeks. In this photo, you can see a small sample of some of my favourites. I tell my students that I’m not a fan of single-use tools (avocado slicer, bagel slicer, strawberry huller….) and that when possible, if I can use one tool to do many jobs, that means I have less washing up to do! Efficiency and economy in the kitchen makes for a happy home cook. So, while this may not be the most exciting and tantalizing of posts, I’d like to introduce to you, the line-up of kitchen tools that make my job a little easier.
Some are absolutely essential: a nicely weighted, sharp chef’s knife will chop just about anything, just as you like it. And the razor-sharp serrated “tomato knife” I use, has become indispensable for …cutting tricky tomatoes, and it does well with the tougher surface of celery, along with a myriad of other thicker-skinned fruit and veg: think pineapple, and eggplant. To, literally, round out the trio of knives I have in the photo, is the offset spatula. It’s not really a knife per se, but it does the job beautifully of spreading icings, frostings, and the dollops of mashed potato on top of your Shepherd’s Pie, in the cleanest and most get-into-the-edges way! I love this tool so much, I often give it as a hostess gift because I feel no kitchen should be without one!
Next, you can see a selection of wooden scrapers and spatulas. I like these for helping move along scrambled eggs, stirring chocolate as it melts, scraping bits of just about anything out of a frying pan or pot. I like the option of having mini-sized spatulas when getting into the nooks and crannies of smaller pots and pans.
A permanent marker, along with what is not seen here – the roll of masking tape I have on hand to make sure containers are properly marked for future reference. A set of scissors are also important in my kitchen. I often use them to chop fresh basil into a chiffonade, or shower a bunch of coriander over a bowl of steaming curry. They’re also great for cutting rounds of baking paper to fit into the bottom of cake tins, and to slice kitchen string when I’m trussing a bird for roasting.
Next in the line of duty, lay my citrus reamer, and the lime squeezer I got from Mexico. I know, you can squeeze a half of a lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit with your hands, or by putting a fork into the flesh and using that to stabilize the fruit while you squeeze it. But I’m a pulp girl. With the reamer, I feel I can get the most juice out of the fruit, along with a few nice bits of juicy pulp. The lime squeezer works a treat and is guaranteed, with a strong flick of the wrist, to get every last drop out of any lime segment that meets that rounded chamber!
The whisk. Again, this one is a smaller edition, and I find it great for salad dressings, scrambling eggs, mixing dry ingredients for baking…. The wee rubber spatula does its job beautifully, scraping out my mini food processor after I’ve whizzed around garlic and ginger to make a paste, ready for curries. It also makes quick work when scraping out honey, nut butter, or yogurt from a measuring cup.
This set of measuring cups is one of the newest additions to my kitchen. My mom used to have a set of plastic measuring cups from Tupperware that included this fabulous six-part range of measures: ¼ cup, ⅓ cup, ½ cup, ⅔ cup, ¾ cup, and 1 cup. JOY! I know, it’s only two more measures than the standard set, but being able to measure ⅔ or ¾ cup in one fell scoop, makes me happy 🙂 My niece found this set at Lee Valley and I absolutely love using it!
The potato masher with the square grid pattern is the one I find does the best job as it criss-crosses and smoothes out cooked potatoes into a delicious mash. I’ve never really liked that squiggly-lined version. Do you?
The spooner! I’ve had one of these jars of tasting and tea spoons on my counter for eons. Through the course of one cooking session, I can use up all of the spoons and have to wash a few to see me through to the end of the recipes I’m cooking up. I’ve collected a spoon here or there over the years and like to have them on hand and at the ready. Tucked into this spooner is a meat thermometer – no explanation necessary. It’s just a handy place to have it!
A fine rasp is perfect for parmesan; for grating the rind of a lemon, lime, or orange; and makes short work of garlic or ginger for a last minute splash of flavour. The long skinny spoon you see beside it, is a Dutch thing. Rumoured as being frugal, the Cloggies use this spoon for scraping the bottom of the mayonnaise jar or the ketchup bottle, and it does just that! When in Holland….
The last item in this photo, my Dansko kitchen clogs, have saved my shoulder. They are a must-have for me, in my Amsterdam home. The countertops in my kitchen are higher than they were in Budapest or Toronto. Tall Dutch people = high countertops. When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I recall making a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and in the middle of mixing the batch, I shifted from the counter over to the kitchen table. With this, I noticed my right arm was no longer at a 90 degree angle bend (having my shoulder touch my ear!) and my arm was more fully extended, and much more comfortable. I happened to have a pair of these clogs on hand and have been wearing them ever since, when I cook. The 3-4cms of extra height I get with these have made chopping, stirring, and mixing a far more comfortable task.
Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this post! Perhaps you’ve learned something new or perhaps you’ve spotted some of your favourite kitchen tools in the photo. Maybe, you’re ready to order a pair of clogs!? If you’ve got a kitchen tool that you think I must have, let me know about it 🙂