Tools of the Trade

While I am no expert on kitchen utensils, I do know what I use, what I like, what I want and what I think is useless.

The most important tool(s) for any chef is their knives. It is important to have a good set and not necessarily an expensive one. While I’d love to have a set of professional knives, I’m very happy with my fairly inexpensive Chicago Cutlery set. It included a variety of knives (paring, chef, bread, etc.) and honing steel. Yes, sharpeners are important. I don’t mean those crappy ones you see in tv ads, but a good honing steel and a whetstone. Personal preference perhaps, but will keep your knives sharp longer. Have a friend or professional show you how to use them so you don’t screw up!

Kitchen appliances have come a long way since I was a kid watching my mom cook. Of them all, a good stand mixer is a must if you bake. I love my professional grade Kitchenaid and use it often. There are a few models out there that are pretty good and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Blenders are good to have and I wish I had a really good food processor. That’s my next kitchen investment. There are plenty of smaller gadgets that I’ll be talking about later.

Also, get yourself a GOOD cutting board. And avoid glass ones at all costs – they are bad for your knives, and dull them a lot faster. I tend to avoid wood, mainly because I’m lazy with the necessary upkeep. The thin silicone mats aren’t bad, but I prefer the thick, reversable, polypropylene ones. Don’t bother with the ones that offer “feet” – save yourself the trouble and put a dish towel or wet paper towel under it and it won’t slide around the counter.

2 Replies to “Tools of the Trade”

  1. Even though I’m getting more into baking, I don’t think I’m going to get a standing mixer. Part of that is space. I just don’t have the room for it. Part of that is the constant battle with the ex over his tangerine monstrosity that his mother bought him and the one time I tried to use it and he nearly took my head off because I wasn’t using it “right”. Nevermind that I’d never used one and he wasn’t willing to teach me how — even though -he- insisted I try to use it. So I’ve got this sort of…PTSD from being snapped at and they intimidate me.

    I don’t have a blender anymore (other than me single serving one and I LOVE it), but I did get a food processor for Christmas from Joe and Linda. I haven’t used it yet, but I can’t wait to. I’ve already got plans to try and make salsa at some point and hummus at another point. My sister bought me a cast iron griddle pan for grilling inside and Aunt Norma bought me a cupcake thing. Part of it is a pan, but it’s a carrier, too, and double stacks. So there will be cupcakes this year! And more double-layer cakes and the other thing I need to work on is bread. I think I need to buy some new loaf pans because the ones I have are old ones of the ex’s (and he gave them to me in bad shape), so my bread never comes out right.

    1. Stand mixers are great for those who use them often enough. We keep mine down in the basement shelving because we don’t have room in the kitchen. Don’t let the past make you fearful – its almost impossible to truly “do it wrong”. He was being a schmuck.

      That, and my arms get too tired mixing shit by hand. 🙂

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