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March 2017



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she's holding her tonic like a cross

via kelliem  and silme : Kitchen Cupboard Meme: Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you had but got rid of.

"I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, electric woks, salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands (wish I had one!), garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers, sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors,bacon presses, bacon slicers, mouli mills, cake testers, pestle-and-mortars, and sets of kebab skewers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards."

I wish I had a food processor. It's on the list. Garlic crushers are utterly useless, though.


Garlic crushers are utterly useless, though.

Aye that. And pointless, too: if you have a knife, a little salt and a flat surface, what do you want a garlic crusher for>?
(Actually, a knife and a flat surface takes away the need for so many gadgets, it's probably supererogatory to say so...)
I like the opportunity to practice my knifework a little. Also, if you have a good knife, cutting is fun.
I like my garlic crusher =( I have zip zero knife skills. I want to take a class or something some day. I'm a self taught cook. I apparently have not been able to teach myself that =*( I finally got nice knives though! That has made a huge difference.

Edited at 2012-09-26 03:52 am (UTC)
I never get anything useful out of garlic presses. *g*

Nice knives make ALL the difference.
I don't care about 'nice'. I've been handed too many 'nice' knives.
Well sharpened edge, an actual point, a sturdy spine, and enough of a bolster to keep my fingers from slipping up the blade, that's all I ask.

Nice usually means you spent too much money, and you've never sharpened it, nor knew it would need sharpening.

No, nice knives are knives that are sharp. Period, end of story, everyone lived happily ever after (with no cut fingers!).

And sharp knives need sharpening very rarely if they see a steel on a regular basis.
Nice knives are knives that are sharp (actually sharp, not what many people mistake for sharpness), that hold an edge without being brittle, that are sharpened to a correct angle for the composition of the steel, that are balanced for their task, that are weighted properly for their task, and that feel like an extension of the cook's hand when used properly.

They are safer, faster, and more effective than bad knives.

"Nice" does not, however, equal "expensive." There are some quite nice, inexpensive knives in the world--although the nicest I have ever used does indeed cost an arm and a goddamned leg.
My favourite knives are the Kiwi brand small cleavers I get at one of the Asian supermarkets in town for... well, they were AU$5 per blade last time I bought them, but that was quite a while ago...

They're sharp, they stay sharp, they sharpen easily, and they're cheap enough that I don't mind them going through the dishwasher. I use them for everything except harvesting stuff from the garden.

My partner likes his chef's knife and the other various blades of goodness in our kitchen. But he'll use my cleavers, because they can go through the dishwasher :-P
I have a Shun. I maintain it with a steel, and send it back to the manufacturer once every couple of years as needed. It's just as lovely as Chaz describes below.

It is well worth what I paid for it, and I expect I will be willing it to somebody I like a lot someday, and if you haven't used one that's the equivalent, I don't think you can judge.

Edited at 2012-09-26 06:34 am (UTC)
Most of the new hand-held knife sharpeners now have a sharpening slot angled for harder steel knives like the Shuns.

Mine lost the tip last year, and the edge needs a little bit of attention, but I second the incredible experience of using a shun. Even battered and bruised, it is the best knife experience I've had in the kitchen.
Agreed 100%. :)
Yuss. I was badly missing the knives I left in England - only then we got married, and one lovely friend gave me us a Shun eight-inch chef's knife, which is really all the knife I need. I've been using it for five months, and it's still a physical pleasure that I'm very aware of, just to handle it.
I have a Shun, too. It was a trilogy-sale present to myself.

It makes every other knife I've ever used feel like a baseball bat.

Also, Shun will sharpen them for free when you need it. (One does pay postage, obviously.)
I love my Shuns. I also have the cleaver, and look for any excuse to whip that guy out.
I love my garlic crusher. I keep trying with my knife, but I fail miserably, the knife slides all over the place, and one of these days I'm going to kill myself. So I pull the dumb little thing out, crush my garlic in like two seconds, and move on. :)
Every item on that list that my roommate and I own we use at least yearly, and in most cases monthly or so. Several items that we don't own, we don't own because we break them faster than their usefulness bears out (garlic press any one? I finally got a nice self cleaning one and it lasted 2 months before dying)

I keep at least 4 pizza stones on hand and have killed 3 in 5 years
I have a large square one and a pizza peel. The stone lives in the oven. It sees use about once a week.

I am also a huge fucking fan of my slow cooker. Beans overnight with no effort. WIN.
The slow cooker is the only kitchen gadget I have ever encountered which actually delivers on the late-night-TV-infomercial promise of them all, which is "Push button; receive food". (Somewhere between two and twenty hours of waiting are elided, but I can leave home for a substantial portion of that, so I don't care. Besides, the TV infomercials elide that too)

I've actually discovered that the "low" setting on my slow cooker is too low to cook gristly meats properly, but that's a small price to pay. The slow cooker is the only kitchen gadget I really can't live without.

(Instant oatmeal, just wait four hours!)
They are pretty unbeatable.

All I can imagine is that some people don't actually cook, and so don't use these things?
You mentioning slow cookers reminded me it's coming up on cold weather, and I can make some of that drink I make with cranberry juice, apple juice whole cloves, stick cinnamon and slices of lemon. You let it simmer for about 18 hours, adding juice or water at intervals as it simmers down. When I serve it at parties, I use the slow cooker like a heated punch bowl -- put it on the table, with a ladle on a plate beside it, so I can serve it hot. Smells up the house something wonderful.
That's pretty much how I feel about my rice cooker - I dump quinoa and lentils and spices and water in, and twenty minutes later I have a perfectly reasonable pilaf. It's not the best food I make, but it's got a pretty excellent effort:tastiness ratio.
I have a steamer rather than a dedicated rice cooker (I do brown rice in the oven) and I fucking love that thing. (I actually have two, because the plastic steamer tray bit of my first one broke after fifteen years, and when I bought a new one it came with two plastic steamer bits.)

So now I have one for rice/quinoa/whatever and one for veggies!
Whoo. What are you doing, with your pizza stones? (I have my first, and I love it - for baking bread, not pizza - but if there are things that happen to pizza stones, I should probably be aware, and prepared, and so forth...)
Oh, things get banged around in my kitchen. Also when I am entertaining, I like being able to prep four pizzas at a time so I can just switch them out as needed.

the room’s suddenly spinning she walks up and asks how you are

The garlic press is faster, for me, than the knife, but today I did knife-and-salt because I was making vinaigrette, and it was going to be the perfect amount of salt for the dressing.

Over here, we call a cake tester a toothpick. Given that we never use them on our teeth, we probably ought to call them cake testers. The little dispenser sits on the stove back, in any case.

Re: the room’s suddenly spinning she walks up and asks how you are

Knife and... salt, instead of a garlic press? Here I just use a knife -- what am I missing?

Re: the room’s suddenly spinning she walks up and asks how you are

It helps hold the garlic in place and make a paste.

Re: the room’s suddenly spinning she walks up and asks how you are

I've had great luck with flat shiskabob skewers as cake testers

Re: the room’s suddenly spinning she walks up and asks how you are

I use bamboo skewers for both that and you know, skewers.
I love my garlic crusher! Um, when I can find it at the back of the cabinet ....
I was raised to believe the ideal cherry pitter was a carefully washed heavy U-shaped hairpin. We're pretty old-school in my family. For years the only commercially-canned item my grandmother bought was pineapple.
I think that every time I'm at the store and see mini-cupcake griddles, tortilla warmers, etc. Actually, usually I think first "I wonder who has room in their cupboards for all this stuff". Do these people not have ovens? I... don't get it.
I saw the mini cake ball griddle thingy and thought, "Hmm, I wonder if that would be effective at making takoyaki?" :P
I'm not sure we're thinking of the same thing, but the cooking supplies to work in a toaster oven seem like a good idea to me. One-person or small-appetite households deserve fresh yummies too, and making enough for eight just means it will go stale.

Thought pendant to that thought; there's a mild fetish for cooking equipment considerably larger than many households need, because big sizes *are* useful to professional restauranteurs, or caterers, or the sadly infrequent big jolly parties. But overengineering is bad engineering too.
Indeed. the problem with a lot of smaller equipment is that it can be sadly not very good at its job--I have had a number of underpowered microwaves, etc., over the years.

I feel "Microwave" should be on the list above. I use mine to... reheat tea and leftovers and steam veggies.

Went for years without one and didn't miss it much. It does mean instant gratification leftovers, though, rather than having to reheat in the oven--but reheating in the oven tastes better.
I melt things in it. Defrosting stuff I forgot I needed at the last minute and melting butter are pretty much all the use my microwave gets these days.
Garlic crusher often in use.
Cake stand proudly purchased over a year ago, languishing in catch-all closet.
Wishing for bread maker.
Teenagers all agog over popcorn popper - novel item since Jiffy Pop, alas.
Lusting after Kitchenaid mixer, tho cakes are absent from diet.
Vestiges of novelty-hungry consumerism, alas.