Monday, February 06, 2006

Tools of the Trade

I think we already know that I'm not one of the cool kids, and I aim to fully entrench myself in my culinary un-coolness with this post.

Everyone has favorite tools in their kitchen, things they couldn't do without, and I am no different. I have noticed lately though that many people have hugely expensive and state-of-the-art gadgets in their kitchens.

I don't. I don't even own a microwave. I did until this last move but we never got around to replacing it, and I seldom miss it.

This is a photo of some of my very favorite kitchen gadgets:

Let me break it down for you;

First, on the bottom is my cutting board. Yes, it is a BOARD, not plastic or synthetic in any way. I have vivid and icky memories of the cutting boards we used in school. They were white plastic and if they were not dried properly and then stacked together, they reeked. It was gross. Not much else to say there. I love wood for cutting - it cleans easily, is kind to my knife and looks good -rustic, if you will.

On to what is on the board; on the very left is my treasured wooden spoon. Unlike others, it is very thick and sturdy, has slits in it to make stirring many things easier, and it doubles as a disciplinary tool if the need arises.

Next up is my chef's knife. Yep, that is a genuine, bona fide Dexter Russell Sani Safe knife. For anyone who knows what I'm talking about, stifle your laughter and pay attention. That blade is pure carbon, nothing else sharpens quite like it. The blade is full tang and thin, and even though the hilt is plastic, it's a firm grip and its lack of weight makes it useful for many, many things. I do love the feel of a Sabatier, and I have even had the money to purchase one guilt-free before, but I love this knife and can't see ever spending more than is necessary on anything.

My mezzaluna  was one of those things I just had to have. It's great for chopping herbs into tiny pieces without shredding yourself in the process.

Above the mezzaluna is my oil stone - the one I use to sharpen my beloved chef's knife. Yep, I sharpen my own tools. Why pay for someone else to do it? I can get my knives razor sharp with a minimum of damage and even correct some damage with my own stone. This is one of those priceless items.

A box grater? I don't have a food processor either and anything grated in this house comes by way of this tool. Another thing I wouldn't be without even if I did have a processor.

The last piece is another grater. I use this one for grating whole nutmeg. I almost never use nutmeg that comes from a container. I love the smell and taste of freshly grated nutmeg and this very fine holed baby does the job perfectly. I also use it to grate cloves of garlic when I am in a real hurry and don't have time to mince it with my knife.

My other favorites are my paring knife, my large and extra large stainless steel mixing bowls, my Calphalon pans, my cast iron pans, Grandma's rolling pin, my HUGE stockpot and the large ceramic bowl my mom brought home from Amish country. And my hands - best "gadget" I have.

I own a coffee maker, a blender, a toaster, a waffle maker, a coffee grinder and a Crockpot. I don't feel the need for anything fancier but there are some things I do covet.

I want a croquembouche mold. Not for any reason other than the fact that it's an odd piece of equipment. Nobody really NEEDS one, you can stack a croquembouche all by yourself, but I want one anyway because they are so obscure.

I want a Kitchenaid mixer. A red one. I don't think that needs an explanation.

I want a mortar and pestle to replace the heavy stone one that I somehow lost. I'd prefer an olivewood one but I can't be that picky.

I want a couscousier ... because they look neat.

By the way, we WILL be playing Ready, Set, Cook! tomorrow so, heads up everyone~be prepared!


cmhl said...

your tools look like medieval torture devices! wow!!! hahah.

bogus said...

I *have* the red kitchenaid mixer! Nanny nanny boo boo!! ;o)

KFarmer said...

Oh we girls and our toys! My fav? The RED KitchenAid Mixer the hubby surprised me with last Valentine's Day. He knew I wanted one, but would never-ever spend the money to buy it. I love that damn thing. Now even I can make bread and a good cake!

Can't wait till Ready-Set-Cook! Be gentle Sweet Anne, be gentle :)

Jennifer said...

I have a white KitchenAid mixer. I wanted the red one, but the white was on too good of a sale to pass up.
When my dad was shopping for Mom's Christmas this year, I did tell him to get "a KitchenAid mixer, red please". She was shocked and delighted. I don't think anyone would be disappointed with one of those!

Melanie said...

That mezzaluna thing looks pretty cool!

Anne Coleman said...

Jenni, K and Jennifer...I only have one thing to say :-P