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We all cook on some level. Whether it is just boiling water, our microwave skills, or multi-course meals, there are certain basic kitchen tools that will make the job easier. Sometimes, we’ve made do for so long without having the proper tools, that we sort of forget the proper utensil even exists! I like to cook, and here is my list of what every kitchen needs:
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Good measuring spoons. Buy a set of metal measuring spoons and have a complete range of sizes from ¼ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. If, on the off chance that you need to measure 1/8 teaspoon, just fill the ¼ teaspoon halfway. Metal ones are easier to clean, and won’t hold flavors or smells like plastic can.
Measuring cups. Get a set of metal measuring cups for dry ingredients, and at least a one cup glass measuring cup for liquids. If you cook for larger groups, then a 2 cup glass measuring cup is ideal.
Sharp knife (knives). Invest in some good knives, and take care of them. Learn how to sharpen them. They are much safer and easier to use when sharp, and you will have fewer accidents. I like to have a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife at the minimum.
Cutting Board. Although I love the look of a wooden cutting board, it’s really not practical for everyday use. Try to find one that is polyethylene and can be run through the dishwasher; then buy two of them. Use one for raw meat, and the other for cooked foods and veggies. Run through the dishwasher after every use.
Whisk. These will come in handy to mix dry ingredients together, or smooth out a lumpy sauce, or to mix salad dressing ingredients that don’t normally blend. A whisk beats in a large quantity of air to emulsify the mixture so it will hold together. Buy a sturdy balloon whisk.
Grater and peeler. Peeler for peeling carrots, potatoes, and other veggies; a grater for shredding cheese and other soft foods. Get a four or six sided grater to give you different options in the size of your shredded food – from julienne to finely grated cheese for pasta.
Tongs. Whether you are trying to flip food in a pan or grab something that is molten hot from the microwave, you’ll find tongs come in handy almost daily.
Mixing Spoons. A few good wooden spoons and a couple of long-handled metal mixing spoons should be enough. If you plan to make soup often, a good metal ladle should be added as well. Good quality wooden spoons should last several years and seem to get better with age.
Kitchen Shears. This is one I never really thought about until a few years ago. They come in handy for opening packages, slicing through hot pizza, cutting a chicken into pieces; the list is endless. Sometimes I use them to cut up a small amount of herbs or even bacon slices!
Kitchen Shears are heavy duty and sharper than conventional scissors, and are up to most any job you can think of. Just don’t use them in the place of regular scissors for tasks like opening your latest mail.
Having the proper tools for the job just makes life a little easier, and when life gets easier, cooking become less of a chore!
Want to move beyond the basics? Here are a few more suggestions of things I use ALL the time.
What are some of your favorite must-have tools for the kitchen?