It’s always better late than never around here, right? Well, I hope so. Vegetarian Times ran a great feature article in their November 2012 issue about cooks and their tools called “Smart Kitchen Essentials: VT’s 25 Favorite Tools for Cooks.” I thought it would be fun to take a look at their list and offer my own commentary on whether those items had become essentials in my kitchen. Care to play along at home? Feel free to leave comments about what you love when you’re in charge of dinner.
I’m going to break this list into three posts so that I feel like I have plenty of space to chat. Me, concise? Only when forced into a page limit by a grant application*.
Items in bold are things that I actually own.
1) Ceramic baking dish. I love that beautiful red gratin dish you see up there in the photo. I feel like I don’t use it enough—I tend to choose soup over casseroles when I do big-batch cooking—but every time I bake something in it, I feel all warm and fuzzy and perfectly domestic.
2) Bamboo steamer. I don’t steam things very often, hence I do not own a steamer. Anyone have a bamboo steamer? Your thoughts?
3) Pressure cooker. I cook things low and slow, hence no pressure cooker. I can see its utility, though, especially for cooking beans.
4) Dutch oven. Oh, yeah. My Dutch oven (a 5.5-quart round one from Le Creuset) sees almost daily use in my kitchen. Of all my pots and pans, this is probably the one that gets the most action.
5) Cast-iron skillet. Mmm-hmm. I waited far too long to add a cast-iron skillet to my kitchen gear, but now that I’ve got one, there is no going back. I use my skillet for browning onions and making frittatas and deep-dish pizza. Cast iron feels solid and sturdy to me, and I like to believe those characteristics are magically transferred to the cook and those she feeds.
6) Knife sharpener. I feel guilty any time someone brings up the topic of knife sharpeners because my knives need to be sharpened. I’ve had them for almost five years, and they haven’t received any care to keep them honed and sharpened. Ugh, one of these days…
7) Kitchen shears. Yes, of course. Kitchen shears are super useful and handy to have around.
8) Picnic-friendly paring knife. I have a paring knife, but not one that is cleverly designed to travel to picnics. When I picnic, I tend to prep everything before leaving the house. What say you, readers? Is a picnic-friendly knife useful in your life?
I’ll be back tomorrow with the next eight suggestions. Until then!
* And just barely then, too. I feel bad for my editor/advisor. But he seems to take my verbosity in stride.