As part of Kevin Sharkey’s kitchen remodel IRS write-off (am I cynical? Why, yes!) several months ago, Living did a big feature on his kitchen and how “Martha” (meaning MSLO I think) helped him redo it. Included in this was a list of kitchen essentials. I went through that list on my blog and a lot of you commented about your own kitchen essentials. Someone is snoozing in editorial at Living because April’s issue includes yet another shorter list of 10 kitchen essentials. So just for kicks, I thought I would go through this one as well.
– Measuring cups and spoons. Duh.
– Asian strainer. I do like mine, but I think a slotted spoon is almost as good.
– High-heat rubber spatula. Yes, definitely.
– Vegetable peeler. They say they like Y shaped peelers. I am fond of my Oxo peeler with the rubber handle.
– Flour-sack towels. Personally, I prefer a terry towel since it absorbs more.
– Maple cutting boards. I use plastic only. I agree that wood is nicer, but I think plastic is safer.
– Mini kitchen torch. I don’t have one and have had success just using my broiler when needed.
– Pump-style salad spinner. I had one and chucked it when we moved 10 years ago. It just took up too much room. I also hated washing it. So now I soak my greens in a colander in the sink, then let them sit in the colander over the open sink to drain and pat them dry with a towel.
– Mandoline. I don’t have one and toy with buying one. I am afraid I’ll slice off some bodily appendages with it. I do have a slicing attachment for my Cuisinart which I use for large amounts of slicing.
All right readers, what are your thoughts on this list? My personal list of top ten essentials would be: plastic cutting boards, chef knife, small paring knife, rubber scraper, handheld cheese grater, tongs, silpats, nonstick pans, Oxo veg peeler, and measuring spoons/cups, including glass liquid measuring cups which I use to boil water in the microwave.
Love my Amish-made wood chopping block, but I only use it for veggies and fruit, never meat. I think you need a heavy plastic one for those. Also love my salad spinner, but it’s the small, personal-sized one. I hated the full-sized for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
Don’t have a mandoline. Have a good knife. 😉 I also prefer (much) terry towels and the Oxo peeler. Also don’t have or want a torch and agree the broiler works fine.
I’m surprised a good chef’s knife isn’t on this list. I’d also add a Kitchenaid stand mixer, which I use almost every day and rely on for all sorts of things.
Flour sack towels or tea towels are handy if you make a lot of dough/pastry things. They are less “linty” than terry towels. I use them when I’m making fresh pasta to cover the dough as I’m working with it so it doesn’t dry out.
I never use our salad spinner anymore. We usually buy bagged salad mixes, and even though Martha insists we should wash greens even if they say they’re pre-washed, I’m usually too lazy! I feel like I use enough herbs that maybe the mini-spinner would have been a better investment?
We got an Oxo mandoline as a shower gift and it’s not something I use all the time, though I will say it makes perfectly cut thin french fries. However, the safety holder results in a moderate amount of wasted food.
I have never had a need for a torch in my kitchen. I’m sure a lighter would work in a pitch. But really. Fire? Me? Not a good mix. That’s why I don’t grill. With you on the cutting boards. I have a big wood block for veggies, but plastic for meat etc. You need to put that e coli through the dishwasher, and you can’t do that with wood. I don’t even know what a mandoline is, so apparently it can be done without. I agree with all of your assessments!
I use a bamboo chopping board. Pretty as well as sustainable.
Properly sharpened knives are a must. I was THRILLED when my darling man bought me diamonds in the form of a German knife sharpener.
I think I may have mentioned this on your last list, but I adore my great-grandmother’s cast iron skillet. It gets used almost everyday and has been going strong for a good 80 years.
Love my microplane(which can also do double-duty as a cheese grater). And can’t live w/o my salad spinner, despite its heft and difficulty washing. But we eat salad every single night, and I definitely don’t trust the “pre-washed” greens.
several good knives and a sharpener of some sort, definitely. I have two smaller knives I use daily and a lovely carbon steel chef’s knife dating from my days as a restaurant cook. couple of good mixing bowls are essentials too.