09 December 2011

10 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets


Kitchen equipment and gadgets make me happy. I have some gadgets I never use, and I knew when I bought them I would never use them! But they don't take up much space, so ... But, like most of us, I don't have room in the kitchen for big items I don't use. Deciding what I really need and want to keep and what is simply taking up space and might be actually needed by someone else is a good thing to do once a year.

A massive garage purging, some of it excess kitchen stuff, inspired this list of 10 Favorite Pieces of Kitchen Equipment. First on the list, of course, is my tea "equipage"--all things tea, from kettles to sugar tongs. After that, the items are in no particular order.

And since the photo above is of whisks, and whisks aren't even on the list, I should tell you about them. Left to right: OXO Good Grips Nylon Balloon Whisk, a stainless steel balloon whisk, 15-inch Danish dough whisk from King Arthur Flour and an English cake whisk I got in England long ago. These are all frequently used items. 

10 Favorite Pieces of Kitchen Equipment

Tea Equipage: Love my 1.8-quart white Chantal Enamel-On-Steel Classic Teakettle with two-tone Hohner harmonica whistle! For large parties (or even office use) there's my Zojirushi CV-DYC40 Super VE 4-Liter Vacuum Electric Dispensing Pot. Read my equipment review for more details.

Knives: I don't think most of us really need as many knives as a lot of us have. A good chef's knife, paring knife and bread/serrated slicer take care of most tasks quite nicely. My current favorite is the Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Cook's Knife. Read my equipment review for more details. 

Salad Spinner: I can't believe the number of people who still don't have a salad spinner. I've had the same one for decades and can't imagine life without it. I don't even know what brand it is, but when it breaks I'm getting this one: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner.

Manual Can Opener: OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener. This is THE best can opener, manual or electric, I've ever had. Works so smoothly, there's just no need to have an electric one taking up valuable counter space.

Roasting Pan: I made-do for years with a series of flimsy, handle-less, barely big enough roasting pans until I got fed-up one day and decided to invest in a "real" roasting pan that would not irritate me every time I used it and would last my entire life and beyond. I got the 16x13x4-inch Calphalon stainless roaster with nonstick roasting rack and never looked back!  

Half-Sheet Pan: I use these, Sheet Pan Half Size - 12-7/8'' x 17-3/4'' Heavy Duty, 13 Gauge, for everything from cookies and hand pies to sheet cakes that will feed a crowd. They can also be pressed into service whenever you need an extra tray.

Dutch Oven: A Dutch oven (or French oven, as my favorite brand calls it) is a must. I have three, all enameled cast-iron: a 5-quart round Dutch oven, a 5.5-quart Le Creuset round French oven and a 6.75-quart oval French oven.  

Scoop/Disher: You need a few different sizes for cookies and meatballs, as well as ice cream. This is my favorite for cookies and meatballs: 7/8 Ounce Size 40 Stainless Steel Round Squeeze Disher (13-0638) Category: Dishers. (I've never actually heard anyone say "disher;" have you?)

Ice Cream Maker: I love, love, love my Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, you can get the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

12-Inch Skillet: My All-Clad 5112 Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan (flared sides) is probably the most frequently used skillet and takes the place of a 10-inch straight-sided skillet I used to have (you don't need both). If you already have that, a 12-inch straight-sided skillet is a good thing to have.

Of course, this list is far from comprehensive. What do you consider essential in your kitchen? And what do you love so much you keep it around even though you never actually use it?

Update 11/27/14: 10 Favorite Kitchen Essentials

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34 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

It is SO hard to find a good manual can opener, but I have a really good one too. My favorite is my deep red KitchenAid mixer. Second is my Hamilton Beach Brew Station, my jellyroll pans (like yours, I think), a couple really good Tramontina knives, my Rada stainless paring knives which I purchased at a little Amish store in Bart, Pennsylvania! and good potato peelers - both a left hand and a right hand.

Jean said...

Judy, I like your list, too. I bet I'd love that little Amish store in Bart PA! It's probably best I stay out of there!

Angie's Recipes said...

;-! I don't have a salad spinner...and hardly use my ice cream maker, but I love my manual can opener ;-)

Jean said...

Okay, Angie, ice cream is one thing, but YOU have to have a salad spinner! ;-) Glad to find another manual can opener fan!

Peter Bryenton said...

These four work well in the square frame.

Jean said...

Thanks, Peter!

Vic said...

Surprise, surprise! Although I cook only thrice a year, I have ALL these gadgets in my kitchen. *Sighs with relief.*

Jean said...

Aah, Vic, even cooking but thrice a year, one deserves to know the joy of working in a well-equipped kitchen.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I thought it was a MAN who could never have enough tools. Ah, well, I do have a can opener. How else can you sprinkle rust in food? And I also have the two essentials which you must have overlooked. Those would be a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm (also called a timer, as in "…bake until smoke alarm goes off”).

Sorry to be so rushed here. Just in from all day emergency run trying to help my lad buy a new car after his deep-sixed…

P.S. None of your whisks look like they could kill flies…

Jean said...

Well, I DO have a lively interest in tool tools as well. AND hardware stores. Funny you should mention your "timer." My sister did not inherit the cooking gene, and my dad used to call the smoke alarm her husband's dinner bell!

Jennifer @ Town and Country Living said...

Jean, I totally agree with you on the salad spinner! Thanks for visiting my blog today. I'm now a follower.

Jean said...

Thanks, Jennifer! Besides just being easier, it saves tons of paper towels!

Karen said...

Salad spinner is a must, especially with a summer garden. Have to agree with your list... they are essentials. And yes, I can open a lot of cans by hand for the space an electric one would take up on my counter!

Jean said...

Thanks, Karen! And I always found electric can openers hard to clean.

Bella Michelle said...

Ah, kitchen fun! LOL I have actually asked for kitchen "stuff" for Christmas this year as many of my beloved gadgets have seen better days after 25+ years of use! Love you blog, btw!

Jean said...

Michelle, thank you! Yeah, I think we who are past the newlywed stage need a couple of showers--a kitchen or general shower and a personal shower--every so many years!

Charles said...

Great list - I have an old, tired can opener but it does the job perfectly and I've had it for years. I just don't understand the point of electric things for utensils which basically have no business being electric - they just take up loads of space!

Salad spinners - Never saw the point to be honest. I can achieve a similar result by giving the leaves a good shake and patting dry with kitchen paper. I think my four favourite kitchen things are:

- Potato Sticker... I can't find this one on Amazon, but I bought mine in Sweden. It's basically a long metal stick, perfect for testing the done-ness of potatoes and cakes, without leaving unsightly holes which a fork might.

- Citrus Reamer

- Mandoline

- Last but not least, my favourite saucepans, which I just started collecting!

Jenn said...

I think those are great kitchen gadgets! My favorite... my 12-inch skillet, my knives, and my stand mixer!!

Jean said...

Ooh,yes, Charles, I *love* my little wooden citrus reamer! I use it every day. Your potato sticker is usually called a cake tester--try looking for it that way. Keep meaning to try a mandoline (have a horror story about that!), and I am blessed to have inherited fabulous heavy saucepans from my mother. About the salad spinner--patting dry with kitchen paper does work just fine, but I try to use as little of it as possible.

Jean said...

Well, Jenn, a heavy-duty stand mixer *might* make my list--if I *had* one! I'd be willing to let someone send me the white KitchenAid Artisan and just see if I could be tempted away from doing everything by hand.

Anonymous said...

Jean--

You got me today. I ordered the recommended knife and good grips can opener. Sure hope you get credit for those purchases. Your recommendations are all fabulous! I love good grips brand...and agree...don't know how someone lives without a salad spinner. Now...your holiday cookie favs are needed...

Susan J Meyerott

Jean said...

Sue, thank you! I can't wait to hear how you like the knife and the can opener! I used to use a 10-inch chef's knife, but that was way too big for my hands. A 6-inch is great for some things. But the 8-inch is THE perfect all-around knife.

JavelinWarrior said...

I love this list of gadgets - completely agree with the dutch oven (I have a Chausser), the icecream maker (I also have a cuisinart) and manual can opener (I quit the electric a long time ago). Thanks for sharing :)

Jean said...

Thanks, Javelin! I love when people agree with me :D I haven't see a Chasseur pan "in person," but I understand they are high quality pans.

JavelinWarrior said...

Chausseur (or however it's spelled) seems to be a slightly less-expensive brand but similar in quality to Le Cru. I found mine on sale at Tuesday Morning and couldn't resist ;)

Jean said...

It looks like a really good buy! I'll have to check out Tuesday Morning as well!

Mr. P said...

That cake whisk looks like an angel food cake folder. I don't know if that is what they are supposed to be called, but Rose Levy Beranbaum writes about them in The Cake Bible. She says they are all but impossible to find these days, but are the best thing for folding flour or cocoa into beaten egg whites. They'd be great for a chiffon!

Jean said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr P! I just had a feeling you might know about that. [Mr P is the "king" of lamingtons, BTW]

Melanie said...

Would you believe that even though I cook proper meals only once or twice a month, I have a good number of those gadgets!?! Oxo Good Grips has been my "go to" brand since I contracted RSI in my right hand 6 years ago.

I love my salad spinner. I had a big one and passed it on to my sister when I bought a smaller one that made more sense for my "cooking for one" lifestyle. The Wustof knife is perfect for chopping veggies, and I love my oval French oven for making soups.

Jean said...

How cool! A lot of people with a "cooking for one" lifestyle don't cook proper meals even once or twice a month. And salads and soups are such a healthy way to eat.

Mary said...

I LOVE my dough whisk too! I started to comment on almost everything here, but I love too many of the same things. Definitely a great list.

Jean said...

Thanks, Mary, I'm sure we do have a lot of the same gadgets. I don't know why *everyone* doesn't have a dough whisk! Isn't it fabulous?!

Carole said...

Nice post. You might like Finally A Can Opener that Works and Keeps on Working

Jean said...

Thanks, Carol. I'll check that out!

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