By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody Likes Sandwiches

Last time when I wrote about kitting out your kitchen, I focused on knives. Now I'm going to talk about know, those fiddly bits that clutter up your kitchen drawers and take up space on your counter top. These small utensils aren't the sexiest of topics, but they are necessary to get you and your kitchen in fine cooking form.

A basic kitchen utensil list should include the following:

* set of measuring spoons
* measuring cup
* wooden spoons
* rubber spatula/scraper
* spatula/turner
* soup ladle
* potato masher
* wire whisk
* box grater
* can opener
* corkscrew
* citrus juicer
* ice cream scoop

If you want to bake, throw in:
* pastry brush (silicone bristles are way better than those creepy hairy nylon brushes)
* rolling pin

That's pretty much the basics. Can opener, whisk, corkscrew, etc. No explanations needed (I hope!) But what I really want to write about are my favorites. These next 3 items are essential in my kitchen and hopefully I can convince you that they should be essential in yours. Got some favorite utensils that I missed? Leave a comment and let me know what kitchen utensil has you crushing.

Tongs. I bought my first tong at a Japanese dollar store and I was partly swayed because it was branded "The Mighty Tong". Who could resist? Not me. Once I had them in my hands, I was converted. Not only do tongs toss salad like a pro, they are perfect for flipping vegetables in a stir fry, turning over roasted asparagus and the tong has replaced my colander for getting spaghetti out of a pot. Who needs a colander when a tong (and a pot lid) are on duty? Tongs. Just get one.

Microplane grater. Seriously, I love this thing. My husband put one in my stocking one year and I use it almost daily. Perfect for grating the zest from citrus, fresh nutmeg, mincing garlic and micro-shredding hard cheese like Parmesan. I don't know what I'd do without it and I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it.

Vegetable peeler. For years, I went without. The truth is I was lazy. Why peel when all you need to give is a good wash and a scrub? I still don't peel away the skin when I make mashed potatoes because mashed potatoes with the skin on are just freakin' fantastic, in my opinion. BUT, when I was gifted a sweet vegetable peeler by my husband, I realized that this wasn't the crappy metal veggie peeler of my childhood. This one had a swivel head, ergonomic design, and sharp – plus it peels the skin off of a butternut squash like a dream. And because of this peeler, I discovered the joys of carrot ribbons in soups and salads. Bonus! Maybe it's new-fangled, but it's definitely a charmer.

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

great post! you wouldn't believe how many of those items my/roomates' kitchen is missing. An important note about the rubber spatula: make sure it's all in one piece, the kind with a rubber top and wooden handle can bread mold under the rubber part....

shellie said...

I love tongs too! I also cant believe I lived without a micoplane for so long...but what I really really really love is my spider.

Joanne said...

Oh how I love shopping for kitchen gadgets! I already have a lot of kitchen tools in my kitchen but I can certainly use more, like a microplane grater, a melon baller, a candy thermometer... :) I've said it before and I'll say it again, "what a cute pink rolling pin!!"