Kitchen Tools: Gadgets and Gear for the Beginner

by Zeeman Haus | 16th November 2009

Cooking is an important part of life. We all need to eat. With today’s hectic schedules and already-in-a-box dinners, a good home cooked meal is hard to come by. No one wants to spend their whole weekend putting together a meal either. But, on occasion, we all have to cook something, sometime, that someone will hopefully like. For those times, we will need to right kitchen tools.

How important is it to own the right kitchen tools? Have you ever tried to build a book shelf with a butter knife? It could be done, but at what cost in time and skinned knuckles? It’s far easier to have the tools you need right from the start. You will save time and a little skin by having what you need to get the job done.

Like any other job, you need to clearly define your objectives. Are you building a shed or a scaled down version of the Taj Majal? The same principles apply- do you plan on cooking like that often? Are you a connoisseur of pasta or just a plain “meat and potatoes” kind of cook? Believe it or not, there are tools for both extremes. The best thing you can do is buy a cookbook with recipes you like and read it. This will give you an idea of what to stock your kitchen with. Sometimes a single grinder will do multiple jobs where a mortar and pestle are just not practical.

Now that you’ve thought over what kind of cooking you prefer to eat, let’s look at how to get the tools you’re going to need. I suggest that you go to your local bookstore and buy a cook book. Every recipe will tell you what tools you will need to properly cook the dish. For the very basics you can find cooking tools in your local department store, the mall, or even in the grocery store. For bigger, more exotic purchases, I recommend the internet. There is a large selection of kitchen ware on the net and the prices are competitive when you compare quality. I wouldn’t buy a coffee grinder on the internet, but a new 12 piece knife set with cherry wood handles? Absolutely!

There are some specialized kitchen tools you should not be left without. A good set of plastic cutting boards and a sharp, good quality knife set are the base of any endeavor. Consider these your foundation. Generally, a four sided grater for cheese and veggies is a good idea. Wooden spoons and rubber tipped spatulas for mixing and cooking are essential. I recommend a mortar and pestle for things like fresh oregano and cilantro and a grinder for dried spices such as black pepper and mustard seed. Try to buy corers and kitchen shears with rubber handles if possible. Anyone who’s ever had to peel more than 4 potatoes at time will know why. Most professional kitchens will use a glass measuring cup and metal or plastic measuring spoons. I will take it to the next level and suggest a 2 cup measuring cup.

When planning and preparing a meal with your shiny new kitchen toys, be creative. Garnish with fresh food-yes, it’s okay to play with your food now. There are books that have instructions on how to make tiny swans out of cucumbers or some such thing. If that’s what you like-go for it. Personally, I feel like color in a dish matters. If you’re serving something brown, throw a nice sprig of lettuce with a crown cut cherry tomato on top. You can do that as you have a nice set of knives now. Have fun and put your own spin on things.

Well now you’ve wowed your guests or family and it’s time to clean up. I suggest you have a bottle brush on hand for any of your utensils that might have moving parts or tiny spots you can’t get to with a regular dish rag. Make sure that what you are putting into the dishwasher belongs in a dishwasher- please, no rubber handled utensils, big daddy fryers or rotisserie ovens. I highly recommend installing an upright sliding shelf under cabinet space. This helps you stay more organized and will also help with the time factor-sometimes you can spend more time looking for a spatula than you will actually using it.

The main cooking tool is you though. Remember, your cooking skill is just that-a skill. It’s acquired through practice and patience. Good luck and go cook something!

Zeeman Haus enjoys writing articles online on a variety of subjects. You can check out his latest website on Slicer Meat which discusses various meat slicers on the market and which one might be an option for you and your family.


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