Monday, December 28, 2009

Well-stocked near-the-stove kitchen toolbox

It’s the New Year, and time to look around at “stuff.” I have 70 spoons, spatulas, spoonulas, ladles, canning magnets, strainers, whisks, tongs, crab mallets, rasps, and pancake turners in three containers on my kitchen counter. While I don’t use them all the time, few are dusty, so I will keep them. None get the workout of the seven sets of measuring spoons, four sets of metal measuring cups, and uber sharp knives, but they are in a story for another day.

Were I just starting out, I would want the following tools near my stove. You can spend a fortune -- or not. Never overlook restaurant supply stores for good quality at moderate prices. Professionals give their tools a daily workout, and their standard for toughness is “weapons’ grade.”

  1. 2 silicone spoons (look like wooden spoons and are indestructible)
  2. 2 silicone spatulas or spoonulas (stir everything and are indestructible)
  3. 1 potato masher (electric mixers or a food processors risks glue-ish potatoes)
  4. 2 rasp graters (1 fine for airy mounds of Parmesam; one for coarse grating)
  5. 1 long handled (9-inch) metal slotted spoon
  6. 1 long handled (9-inch) metal spoon
  7. 1 ladle (with at least a 4 oz. bowl, for soup, stew and chili)
  8. 1 offset spatula (your frosted brownies will love you)
  9. 1 small strainer (keeps the lemon seeds out of your drinks)
  10. 2 whisks (1 small for drinks, 1 large for pancake batter)
  11. 1 set of locking tongs (long handled if you grill, short if you work on top of the stove)
  12. 2 pancake turners (for pancakes, burgers or fish; 1 metal, 1 silicone)
  13. 1 set of metal measuring spoons (plastic will melt)

If you decide to give some or all of these as a gift, duct tape them to a large sturdy (“weapons’ grade”) sheet pan from the restaurant supply house ($9.00). Unless your gifts get tossed by accident, these tools will live forever.

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