In the Kitchen: Utensils
2011 February 10
Basics, basics, basics. There are some things that everyone should have, especially people who love to cook. This week, I’m taking a look at some of the simplest tools in the kitchen–utensils. Most of them are very, very inexpensive and can be purchased pretty much anywhere, from grocery stores to Walmart. So, without further adieu, my top five must-have kitchen utensils:
- Wooden Spoons: They’re a nonstick pan’s best friend and can be used for essentially anything. Using metal spoons or a whisk in a nonstick pan can scratch the bottom, turning your $30 skillet into a completely useless item. Wooden spoons, however, don’t scratch at all! Whenever I’m sauteing or browning meat, it’s the first thing I turn to. Wooden spoons are also useful for the most basic function in the world–mixing. So, are they pricey? Of course not! Dollar stores generally sell them as 4 or 5 for $1. Whenever I have one that gets too worn down, I buy five more!
- Whisk: Not much to talk about, but this is great if you ever need to vigorously mix or beat something. Primarily, I use it when baking–beating eggs and whipping the batter together tend to be necessary parts of the baking process. Of course, when add in dry ingredients, I switch over to the wooden spoon, but the whisk is vital for the first part of the recipe.
- Measuring Cups: These aren’t really necessary for cooking, but they’re a must-have for baking. When you make cookies, muffins, etc., getting the exact measurements of an ingredient is absolutely essential for it to turn out perfectly. The last thing you want is too much flour messing up the chemical reaction of your baking soda and water measurements while the dough is baking.
- Grater: A lot of the recipes I make call for a lot of shredded ingredients. The solution is always pretty simple–get a grater! Vegetables, cheese and even herbs (like ginger and garlic) are all easily converted into thinner, smaller pieces when you grate them. It can also be useful if you need to get the “zest” of a fruit–no need to spend all that money on a zester, a grater should work just fine!
- Spatula: Ah, the last one–the spatula. This one is pretty much good for anything, especially when it comes to dealing with hot, cooked foods. Making a pizza in the oven? The spatula will help you remove it (if not making it on a tray). Pancakes for breakfast? Better use a spatula to flip ‘em! Baking cookies…how the hell are you going to get them off the cookie tray?! Yes, that’s right…with a spatula.