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tools of the trade

August 29, 2007

the first step to running a good kitchen is having the tools you need to hand.

below is a list of what i consider kitchen essentials

:: knives

you should have a good chef’s or butcher’s knife with a 7-9 inch blade

a smaller utility knife with a 4-6 inch blade

and a paring knife with a 2-3 inch blade

it is also good to have at least one bread knife or other heavy-serrated edge knife (these can range in size from as small as 3 inches to as large as 10 inches in length. i prefer a medium length knife myself)

a cutting surface, such as a cutting board, is also helpful.

:: utensils

several large spoons both with and without holes are handy, as is a whisk and a potato masher

several spatulas, both serving spatulas and stirring spatulas

a large meat fork

a steel knife sharpener

can opener

egg separator

skewers (either bamboo or steel)

and oven mitts

a juicer is nice to have, as is a garlic press but not essential

likewise a flour sifter and an apple corer/slicer

a nut cracker is another frivolous item i find useful, along with a set of nutmeat picks.

:: containers

you will want to have a set of mixing bowls handy (i like the nested stainless steel variety with a lip ranging in size from smallest @ 3 inches in diameter to largest @ 24 inches in diameter, but ceramic or plastic work just as well)

a couple of pitchers (i like the gallon size if you can find them)

a couple different sizes and shapes of casserole/serving dishes (glass or ceramic)

and storage containers (ie tupperware)

a colander or two

:: pots & pans

you want at least one medium and one large skillet

one big pot for boiling soups, potatoes, pasta, etc (i also own a humongous crab pot with a steamer basket that i often use to make massive batches of soup, chili, or gumbo when i’m not using it for crabs)

a stacked steamer pan

and a couple small to medium sauce pans

you will also want a couple of flat baking sheets

:: measuring

measuring spoons that range from 1/8 tsp to 1 tbsp

1 set of dry measuring cups that range from 1/8 cup to 1 cup

2 liquid measuring cups (2-3 cup capacity)

a pitcher with measure markings is also handy

meat thermometer

:: equipment

an oven and refrigerator, of course, go without saying

a grill is nice if you can afford one, but any recipe that calls for grilling can be broiled

you will also find a crock pot and a broiling pan indispensable

a blender or food processor is helpful, as is a cake mixer, but i consider all 3 to be luxury items

this list is by no means exhaustive and each cook will have his or her *must have* gadgets.

so what have i left off of the list? (besides mrCoffee – his exclusion was intentional) – let me know in the comments section.


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