Cook’s Essentials – Simple Kitchen Tools to know

People who love food and cooking, aka foodies, like to stock their kitchen with helpful tools and appliances that make cooking a breeze. However it’s not always economical to buy every nifty gadget that appears on the market, and there’s not necessarily enough cabinet space for every single appliance we desire. The truth is that while these hot kitchen accessories are great to have, there are a few simple yet essential tools that will render the trendiest unnecessary.

Quality, well-sharpened knives are the most essential item in a cook’s kitchen. There are a lot of inexpensive knives available, but if you invest in two or three really good quality knives you will have a multitude of great tools at hand. You must have a quality Chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife, a paring knife, and it’s also advisable to have a Santoku or Japanese style knife. Please don’t rely on the knife sharpener that comes with a knife block as they really don’t accomplish the kind of precision that is needed. Instead head down to your nearest hardware store for a whetstone. It’s only a $10 investment and can keep your knives sharp indefinitely.

Microplane graters are not expensive but they are invaluable. If you’ve ever tried to get citrus zest from your standing grater you’ll know what I mean. Microplanes zest citrus, cheese, garlic, onions, and anything else you want finely grated. They’re also great for finely shaved chocolate or nutmeg.

Of course a really sharp, hand-held box grater is a necessity. You might be surprised how dull your grater has become over the years. If you use it a lot consider replacing it at least every year. It’s much more efficient when ultra-sharp, and they’re only a few dollars.

It’s also great to have a citrus zester. It’s a simple tool that scrapes the zest off citrus fruit. A zester produces strips of citrus instead of the fine shavings from a microplane. It’s great for a strong citrus hit over salad, a fruit cobbler, ice cream, as a garnish for grilled meats or pizzas or whatever else strikes your culinary fancy. The purchase of fancy cookware for glass cooktop should be done through the people. The preparation of the desserts and other food items is done with the interest of the chef. The cooking of the food is simple and do not require much skills of the person. The selection of the right cookware should be done after checking the rankings and ratings. 

Every cook should have some kind of juicer. Lemon and other citrus juices lend a clean and fresh taste to many foods and are also wonderful in salad dressings, marinades, and cocktails. I know I use mine every day and it saves me from a lot of extra work-and seeds. You can buy one that is all automatic, a hand press juicer, or a simple hand juicer or reamer.

Scissors are actually one of the simplest yet vital tools. There are lots of packaged goods that need a good pair of scissors in order to be opened, and herbs can be stripped right into a sauce or dish with a pair of kitchen scissors. Did you know the best way to cut pizza or focaccia is with scissors? It’s much easier than a pizza cutter, although you need to the food cool off a bit before cutting.

Cutting boards are an essential cooking tool. You really need at least two, one for cutting meats and vegetables, and another for fruit. You don’t want to cut your fruit and other non-savory ingredients on the same board you mince garlic or work with raw meat. Your meat and veggie boards should be fairly large and have a lipped border for catching meat and fruit juices.

A spider, or skimmer, is basically a large wire scoop with a long handle. It’s usually used to remove foods from hot liquids such as water or oil. It can also be used to safely remove food safely to test for doneness when you’re frying or cooking pasta. It’s a very convenient and safe tool.

Make sure you have a full set of measuring cups, at least one 2 or 4 cup liquid measure, and two sets of measuring spoons so you don’t have to wash them when measuring wet and dry ingredients. Most recipes use ½ or 1 cup measurements, but some baking recipes call for 1/3 or ¾ measures and you must be precise in baking.

A handheld mixer is truly needed, but a standing mixer is also a cook’s delight. Standing mixer’s are great for heavy duty jobs or recipes that have long mixing times, such as bread dough. Sometimes a recipe calls for beating something over the stove, or you just want to put together a small, quick recipe, and that’s when a handheld mixer is quite handy.

These tools make a cook’s life easier and they’re all relatively inexpensive. I use each of them every day and they enhance my time in the kitchen. Of course there are always appliances and tools that a cook will have an eye on for the future, but these are the most helpful for daily recipes and tasks. Bon Appetit, and good cooking!


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