Saturday, April 14, 2007

kitchen utensils

Take me to Williams-Sonoma or the IKEA kitchen section, and I'm like a kid in a candy store. The Pampered Chef? Don't even go there. I drool over kitchen utensils the way seven-year-olds drool over penny candy. I'll take one of these gadgets here, and a couple of those tools over there...
But eventually the voice of reason must step in - I mean, how many wooden spoons does one woman actually need? (Especially when I don't even use wooden spoons?)

Have you ever wondered how FEW cooking utensils can you get away with using? It's a great question to ask if you want to do a purge.

Take a look at what you actually use on a daily basis. I'm betting you have one or two favorite knives, a favorite spatula, a favorite cooking spoon, and a favorite scraper. What if you got rid of everything else?

I know, I know - that melon baller might come in handy if you're ever making a fruit salad for guests. But how often do you actually make fruit salad for guests?

I'm not suggesting that you get rid of the things you really use. Just give careful thought to the objects that are taking up precious space in your kitchen.

My personal weakness is rummage sales - I love vintage utensils with their charming patina, and it takes all my self-control to resist buying every wooden rolling pin in sight. (I don't even bake.)

I've created a few ground rules for myself. I try to buy nothing that isn't stainless steel or wood. (That means no plastic, no silicone, no aluminum.)

I've weeded my utensils down to the few I really use, and remind myself every time I'm in a kitchen store that NOBODY NEEDS ANYTHING. (Well, okay - maybe it's just me that doesn't need anything.)

I'm a vegetarian foodie who avoids Teflon pans. Here are my basics:
  • one chef's knife
  • one bread knife
  • one paring knife
  • one pair of utility scissors
  • utility snips

In my utensils drawer I keep:

  • a vegetable peeler
  • a combination can-opener/bottle opener
  • a jar opener (it releases the vacuum and makes opening new jars easier)
  • a garlic press
  • small tongs
  • measuring spoons
  • two stainless steel bag clips
  • pliers (great for breaking up cinnamon bark or cracking nuts)
  • a fine wood rasp (amazing for mincing fresh ginger or grating parmesan)
  • a large, flat grater
  • a small ladle
  • a wooden citrus ream
  • a honey "spoon"
  • a pastry brush
  • a tiny funnel
  • a cheese slicer
  • a pizza slicer
  • tea balls and strainers (I'm an herbal tea fanatic)
  • a ball of string
  • a vintage candy thermometer (it's just so cool)
  • a rolling pin (can't get rid of it yet)

In a large clay flower pot I keep my long utensils handy:

  • two wooden stirrers with flat edges for stirring pots (I use them more than anything else in my kitchen)
  • two stainless spoons with flat edges, one with holes for drainage
  • a larger, flat ladle with holes for drainage
  • two other ladles in different sizes
  • a wire whisk
  • two sizes of tongs
  • a vintage potato masher with a wooden handle
  • a spatula
  • an ice cream scoop
  • a vintage crank-style egg beater

That's it. It sounds like a lot, but only takes up one narrow drawer and eight square inches of counter space. How low can you go?

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

3 comments:

The Boston Warehouse Online Store said...

That's a pretty good idea and you can decorate a pot like that to match your kitchen. I'm going to give that a try.

Kitchen Utensils said...

Wow, the ability to keep all your kitchen utensils in a single drawer and such a small area of counter space is really impressive. There are a lot of utensils that can be substituted or done away with, but I still like having extra wooden spoons since they make great baby toys for teething infants.

Andrewgede said...

What a great post, I actually found it very thought provoking, thanks
Kitchen utensilsnu