Determining the most essential kitchen tools to have reminds me when I decided to experiment with golf; almost 15 years ago. I remember going to a buddy of mine who at the time had a handicap of 4 for advice. “Don’t worry”, he said. “I’ll take care of you”.
The first thing he told me was to hold off the shopping spree and to just get a good beginner’s set of golf clubs with the essentials; a putter, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge (of course…) and a #7 iron . “And preferably second-handed; you know, just in case golf doesn’t work out for you”, he said. And so I did. I went out and got me a second-handed, multi-branded, multi-colored beginner’s set. If I remember correctly, I didn’t spend more than $50 for the whole thing including the bag. Eventually I got into the sport and ended up buying a complete set. And guess what, my favorite clubs are the ones that I originally purchased; so now I have a couple of clubs I don’t need or use.
So why the story? Take a look at your kitchen drawer where you keep all your kitchen tools. Pretty full, isn’t? Ok, to your defense, it’s probably not your fault as most of them were given to you as wedding gifts or you bought them for just in case you needed them some day. But think about it, how many of them you actually use.
Spring is around the corner, and besides of being the season of getting our landscape back into shape, it’s also that time for backyard cookouts and when we walk around the house collecting stuff we don’t use or need to move them to their new place; the garage or the attic. Or as we call it, Spring cleaning. Let me help you with your kitchen drawer.
In my opinion, these are some of the most essential tools your kitchen drawer most have. At the end, you and only you can determine which tools are best and most essential for you.
- Knives – No need for a 30 piece knife set. There are four basic knives that will get the job done. A 10-inch chef’s knife; the workhorse of the kitchen and good for just about anything. A flexible boning knife, a paring knife for smaller jobs and a long, serrated knife. for cutting breads, cakes, and things that are at risk from crushing when using a conventional knife.
- Kitchen shears – Not only to cut food but to handle any other cutting jobs where a knife it’s not enough.
- Digital timer – Any experienced chef will tell you that timing is key to the success or failure to any recipe. And while you develop your time keeping skills, a digital timer is your best friend.
- Meat thermometer – Success on grilling that perfect steak or baking the perfect holiday turkey depends on two things; time and temperature. You already have the timing part with your digital timer; however, the meat thermometer will close the deal. Probe thermometers are the most common ones. There are also digital and laser ones. If you go probe, go with the heavy-duty ones. I personally use one that’s a combination of all of them and I found it on-line for less than $100.
- Measuring cups – Preferably in individual sizes; 1/8 cup 1/4 cup 1/3 cup 1/2 cup 2/3 cup 3/4 cup and 1 cup.
- Measuring spoons – Because a “pinch” of salt can mean different things to different people….
- Microplane grater (aka zesters) – For when the recipe calls for just the flavor of ginger, onion, or citrus fruits….
- Scraper spatulas – For your baking projects. A large and a small and made of silicone. They are more expensive but will last you more. I also use them instead of wooden spoons to brown ground beef. Wooden spoons can develop mold if not washed and dried properly.
- Regular spatula – For that perfect pancake flip.
- Whisks – For when using a mixer, blender or food processor is too much.
- A High quality can opener – There are many options out there. For food safety reasons, I use one that opens the cans from the side instead of the top.
- Tongs – A very versatile kitchen tool. I use them for everything, from blending salads to frying or for any task that requires a good grip
Unfortunately, I stopped playing golf some time ago after I started with my weekend catering business. So what happened to my golf clubs? Well, they are sitting somewhere in the attic next to a box labeled “Kitchen tools I don’t use”.
I hope your kitchen drawer looks much better now.
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