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Friday, March 31, 2017

MY Favorite Things

I read a blog post today, Nine to Five,  and the blogger was talking about her 10 favorite kitchen items.  It made me stop and think about my kitchen and what I would consider the things I would hate doing without most.  I thought I would list them since they are things I use nearly every single day. Don't get me wrong, I have a fully equipped kitchen and lack for nothing, but these are my absolutely essential and most used items.  I could do without a lot of things but not these. So here goes!

1. Keurig  I understand it is not essential and I can make coffee other ways but I love having a cup of freshly brewed coffee each time I am ready to drink one. I do not buy K-cups, instead I have refillable ones and change coffees regularly.  I have 3 mason jars filled with 3 different coffees which are rotated throughout the morning based of how deep a roast I want at any particular time.

2.Paring knife  Many years ago I broke down and bought some very good knives.  I have had these since the late 80's-early 90's. (Not exactly sure) but they have been fantastic. They sharpen easily and I can't say enough good things about them.  I would tell anyone to go ahead and invest in a couple of good knives and you'll probably never have to replace them.

3. Vegetable peeler  This is one I picked up at a discount store forever ago.  It is just one of those garden variety brands that Walmart and K mart carry, and I have had it and used it for decades. It makes fast work of peeling potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, apples and anything else I want to peel. Great invention and kudos to whomever invented it.

4. Colander  I make salads nearly every single day so I am constantly washing greens and other salad fixings.  I generally wash them in the morning and let them drip dry before sticking them back in the fridge.  I do have a salad spinner but it is a pain in the butt to get out and use for just the two of us, so I really save it (time and washing)  for days when we are having guests and I need a big salad

5. Wine tool   Both of my older sons worked in restaurants while they were in school and both wound up at the same really nice place.  When the restaurant was introducing new wines, the wine steward would have reps from the vineyard come and share samples with the wait staff so they could pitch the wines pairing them to menu items having first hand experience with it.  Invariably they would give each person on the wait staff a wine tool with their vineyard name embossed on it. At one time I think they about a dozen of them and  4 or 5 wound up here.  I like them much better than a traditional corkscrew because it has the knife to cut the foil, the corkscrew plus the edge that fits on the lip of the bottle also functions as a bottle opener. Nothing beats something you use regularly better than it being a free regularly used item

6. 8 inch chef's knife  Again there is not a day that goes by without me using this knife.  I could actually get by with just this knife and my paring knife.  I don't want to, but I truly could. Buy the best knife you can afford and it will be your friend forever.

7. Wooden spoons  I have about 8 of these all bought from the dollar store.  I know there are better ones out there but these serve me perfectly fine.  You cannot use anything better for candy making or caramelizing sugar.  The spoons don't transfer heat to your hands and the handles are easy to grab, especially for protracted stirring.  And yes there is a downside.  I have a gas cooktop and I have caught several handles on fire. (Not a true blaze, but smoking and charred)  When that happens they become kindling for the outdoor chimenea,  But honestly it does not happen that often!

8. Tea kettle  I do not stand at the sink with the water running waiting for it to get warm. I always have a kettle full of water and I heat it to boiling on my quick burner. Instant oatmeal? No problem! Quick cup of tea? It's ready.  Hot chocolate, bouillon, gravy anything that needs hot water is a snap with a kettle.

9. Box grater  Otherwise know as a knuckle buster.  Mine is the inexpensive kind from Kmart.  I will admit I have bought a replacement for my original grater which was part of a kitchen shower gift when I got married decades and decades ago.  If this one lasts as long as the lasts one did I might have to buy a replacement when I am in my late 70's. I use it for just about all my grating/shredding tasks.  I know the food processor is easier, but see my comments above about the salad spinner and clean up.  Unless I am grating a massive amount I will stick to my trusty box grater.  A quick rinse and a spin through the dishwasher  when it is full is all it takes.

10. Wire Whisk  Again I know life is easier with my stand mixer, and I do use it, but there is no way I am going to get it out to whip cream or make a quick mayonnaise. I use it for making puddings, sauces, gravy and anything I want to be silky smooth with a little air in it.

11. Hardwood cutting board  I have a couple of these that are made from a single slab of wood and have no glued parts for anything to seep into.  Yes I do have one of those white ones and I do cut raw meat on it, but everything else is cut on wood. It does not dull my knives, can be cleaned with bleach water and sanded down whenever I need to.  Following a storm when large hardwoods uproot I am a threat to go looking for large pieces of cut wood that would make good cutting boards.  Luckily I have people in my family with power tools!

12. Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup  This is just a multi function piece.  In addition to liquid measurements, you can zap it in the microwave, stick it in the freezer, use it as a small mixing bowl, stick it in a pot of simmering water for a makeshift double boiler.  If my kitchen were a baseball team this little lovely would be my utility player.  These are under 10 bucks and last virtually forever.

16 comments:

  1. My wooden spoons came from a crafter at Christmas Village. He is a forester in MS. I cringed when you mentioned burning a wooden spoon. I have six colanders! One is ceramic with a dish to match to catch water from the strained berries. Two are plastic. two are stainless steel, and one is aluminum. Good list even though I don't make coffee and don't have a stand mixer or whisk.

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    1. Cool! I would never buy really fine ones because of my penchant for singing them.

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  2. I love my wooden spoons. One in particular which I 'acquired' from my parent's house. I think it is probably over 50 years old and it feels right.
    Wooden chopping boards.
    Measuring cups, measuring spoons.
    And knives of course.
    I love my kettle too.
    And I am endlessly grateful to have hot water on tap. Years ago living in the country we went through a horrendous drought. We weren't connected to town water and our tanks went dry.

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    1. My mom is still using a wooden spoon she had when I was a kid. Yeah it is just about ancient!

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  3. I got a set of wooden spoons at my bridal shower 37 years ago. I still have them, but one spoon went missing. It was one that was narrow enough to fit inside jars. I went crazy looking for it and hubby had no idea what happened to it. I miss that spoon. :-(

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    1. I had a spoon like that at one time too, but I probably singed it. I loved that spoon.

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  4. Great list! If I were to make a similar list, it would include a can opener!

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    1. I like my can opener but I can go for weeks without every using it.

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  5. I have a jar opener I got from Pampered Chef. I have some difficulty making turning motions. The jar opener has handled many a jar that would have been left unopened otherwise, which means the food wouldn't have gotten cooked, and the cat that ate the mouse that lived in the house that Jack built. My Oster stand mixer is about twenty-five years old. It's showing signs of age, as am I. I am bereft (about the mixer, not about me).

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Hahahaha! Once I learned to break the vacuum seal on jars they don't foil me anymore.

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  6. I too love wooden spoons. We used wooden spoons almost exclusively when I was growing up and it's what I reach for first now. However, I have gotten some cheap ones in recent years that don't measure up. They are thin and feel like they might snap when stirring something thick. Like everything else, they don't make things like they used to.

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    1. Mine do snap occasionally, especially when they have a singed spot on them that weakens the handle.

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  7. I read 9-5 as well. It's an interesting topic. I agree on The Keurig and meedctocgive thoughts to other items.

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    1. It just made me think about the things in the kitchen that are used most often and would be replaced immediately.

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  8. I would have to include my Tupperware steamer - I use it so much. And of course beautiful ceramic bowls. Which reminds me of many years ago my in-laws came over from the States and we did a "round Europe in 40 days" kinda thing - complete madness. So in Spain I bought the most beautiful ceramic bowls, which we put in our luggage on the roof rack. When we got to St. Malo for the ferry over the England, we went under a low bridge - which would have been fine without the roof rack, but all my bloody bowls got stuck under the bridge and ended up reduced to red sand! It made me want to weep. Anna

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  9. Oh no! That would make me cry, I think. I have a set of ceramic bowls that I use all the time also and I do love them. I might have to do another post sometime on the actual pots/pans/bowls/ small apliances that make my life easier.

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