Sunday, July 15, 2012

What’s Indispensable in Your Kitchen?

Yes, the electric mixer is great for the occasional cake or whipped potatoes.  You can’t make a decent frozen margarita without a sturdy blender, and the food processor is wonderful for slicing a ton of onions or shredding cabbage for cole slaw, but for day-to-day meal preparations?  Three drawers in our kitchen are devoted to small hand implements, and two magnetic knife strips hold knives of every shape, but here’s what I find myself reaching for at least once or twice a day:

Tomato knives with their long slender, serrated blades hold their cutting edges for years.  Our first one was so useful that we bought two more so that there would always be a clean one on the rack.  I use them not only for tomatoes, but for slicing peaches, pears, avocados and any other soft fruit that squishes out of shape with more conventional (and duller) knives.  I slice bagels and bread with them and anything dense like fruitcake. They can neatly divide a BLT without letting everything slide out from the slices of toast.

I discovered culinary scissors a few years back and they’re better than nut crackers for opening up lobster claws or for cutting the tail into equal halves, but these little short-bladed scissors are perfect for mincing herbs, cutting dried fruit into my morning cereal, trimming that tough membrane from citrus fruits, or shredding raw bacon or prosciutto for various dishes.

Could I cook without them?  Of course I could.  I did for years.  But like many small things (from kittens to grandbabies), they make life just a little more pleasant.  What are your favorite small tools?

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