My Five Favorite Kitchen Tools

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A long time ago I got an idea to write a post about my favorite tools in the kitchen, but it slipped my mind until my mom took this photo of me cooking on Easter.  This is a neat way to talk about my cooking style and I’d love to hear about your favorite items, too!

  1. Dutch Oven- My oval,  blue, enameled cast iron Le Creuset ”French Oven” was a gift from Ed’s mom for my birthday years ago.  I use it for so many different recipes almost every day.  I like to cook bacon in it, as I’m doing in the picture above, because it keeps the grease from splattering all over the place.  Tonight, I made arroz con pollo in it, and I use it for roasted chicken, pork roast, pot roast, stew, soup, macaroni and cheese, paella, pasta sauce, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, casseroles, and many more recipes that I can’t think of right now.  So many of my recipes begin “In a large Dutch oven…”  I love that it can go in the oven or on the stove top, and that I can pop the lid on and stick in the fridge, then put it right in the oven to warm up.  I’d love to get another bigger one sometime in the future, but I know this one will always be my favorite.
  2. Chef’s Knife- Back when we first started dating, Ed gave me a set of Wüsthof knives.  I use the big chef’s knife everyday.  Whether it’s mincing garlic, chopping onions or herbs, slicing carrots, cutting up a chicken, or even slicing homemade pizza.  In a pinch, I’ve even used it to peel apples (when the paring knife was dirty) and it’s great for slicing through tough winter squash or pumpkin.  It’s also top choice for serving cake or ice cream cake.  I used to be afraid to use such a big knife, but I’ve never cut myself with it (now I probably will) although I’ve come close and chopped my fingernail right off once, but that was back in the days when I actually had nice, long nails!
  3. Large Mixing Bowl- I have a few big bowls, but I use the same stainless steel one all the time.  I use it to make salads, mix dough and let it rise, mix pancake, cake, brownie batter, marinate meats, or even fill it with water and use it to speed up the thawing process when I’ve forgotten to take something out of the freezer.  I don’t remember where I got this bowl but I’ve had it for a long time and use it all the time.
  4. Wooden Spoons- It seems like every cook knows the value of wooden spoons.  I’ve got quite a few of them and I’m constantly using them all day long.  I think I could probably get by in the kitchen if they were the only utensil I had.  In the photo above, I’m using one to stir scrambled eggs.
  5. Homemade Apron- I think for a lot of women, the apron is a symbol of oppression, of being stuck in a kitchen.  However, I think aprons are beautiful and they remind me of my family’s matriarchs.  To me, aprons symbolize self-sufficiency and taking care of your family, and I wear mine as much for the pretty style as for function.  I made my apron about a year ago, and I’m eyeing patterns from MaryJane’s Farm Stitching Room for future creations.

There are other things I love, too, like a great big cutting board, tongs, pie pans, a scallop baking dish, or my great-grandmother’s biscuit cutter, but the five above are my favorites.  I’d love to hear about your favorites! Either leave a comment or write a post, but don’t forget to leave a link here!

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14 Comments

Filed under Home, Living from Scratch, Sewing, Sustainable Living

14 Responses to My Five Favorite Kitchen Tools

  1. Jon

    I’ve heard that Ed knows a thing or two about dutch ovens . . .

  2. I have that same apron pattern… just need to sew it up! Ah, a Le Creuset pan. My husband and I go into William Sonoma and drool over those, as well as the beautiful knives and nifty gadgets. You’ve got a beautiful, well-stocked kitchen.

  3. You’ve gotten me all excited about making my own kitchen tool post…but it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. I’m in paper grading hell right now. :) I love my wooden spoons, too. Especially how they take on a certain patina after years of use. Some folks call it “unsanitary.” I call it “character.”

  4. Hmm. My favorites:

    1) Kitchenaid Professional Series Mixer
    2) Pizza cutter (also works to cut crackers and divide dough into rolls)

  5. I love my stand mixer. I cook one-handed a lot of the time right now, so having a machine to do the stirring is a real help.

    And I’ve wanted a Dutch oven for a while now. My birthday’s coming up soon, maybe this will be my year. :)

  6. LOVE that pic of you in your apron! I also love that you use Grandma Rose’s biscuit cutter!

    I was sure I’d see a garlic press on your list of the Fab Five, as I know that’s one of your favorite ingredients.

    You’ll probably have to write another post of your “2nd Top 5!”

  7. Jon- now I realize why they call it a “French oven.” Perhaps that’s what I’ll call it from now on.

  8. Beautiful apron, Abbie. I have a big Le Creuset pot, too, that we picked up at a charity yard sale for next to nothing. It’s so big, though, that I don’t use it all that often.

    My favorites in the kitchen would have to be:
    1. cast iron skillet – I do use that daily!
    2. whisk – seems like I use it daily, too.
    3. measuring cups & spoons – for when accuracy matters (like in baking).
    4. French Press – I can get away with 1 cup of decaf a day, and my French Press makes it easy to make a small amount.
    5. baking rack – it’s the kind with a dense grid rather than bars one direction only. I use it for cooling baked potatoes & yams as well as baked goods. I use it over one side of the sink to rest washed vegetables on to drain. I use it over the sink to create more counter space when I make sushi; I put a small cutting board on it to slice the sushi rolls.

  9. If I don’t have 5 fave tools, does that mean that I’m really not that good of a cook?

  10. I loveeee great knives and wooden spoons!

  11. Rob

    My name is Rob and I am a kitchen gadgetholic. My faves are:
    CUISINART FOOD PROCESSOR-
    POPEILS SHOWTIME ROTISSERIE
    JACK LALAINE JUICER
    MANDOLIN SLICER
    OVE GLOVE
    FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKER
    CUISINART COMPUTERISED AUTOMATIC COFFEE MAKER W/ BUILT IN GRINDER
    DOUBLE KRUMKAKE IRON
    WONDER KNIFE

  12. Hmm I was going to give this one some thought today and then I didn’t. The first two things that come to mind are my small black plastic (silicone?) turner (spatula) from Pampered Chef. It is convenient to use and my favorite size. I use my little food processor a LOT which really surprised me, I almost didn’t take it when Brian’s Mom offered b/c I didn’t think I’d use it. A stand mixer is really nice to have, mine is out of commission right now and I miss it. I also have a little flat plastic strainer that hooks on the lip of a pot so you can pour the water out of your noodles without dropping any in the sink. That is really handy.

    Maybe I should look for a dutch oven at the markets this summer. I did notice your recipes use that a lot and without one I use a lot more dishes. Thanks for the idea!

  13. I’m totally in love with my Cuisinart Convection Oven. Is that too big to be considered a gadget? EVERYTHING gets baked faster in that thing AND it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. I love it so much that I bought one for my daughter’s wedding shower last weekend.

    The KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer – Baking is SUCH a breeze with this thing.

    I don’t have a good set of knives, but I have a few cheap chef knives that get used every day and my second daughter bought (at my request) several years ago one of the big square knives which I use every time I dice onions. It can slice thinner than my chef knives and I can dice onions, celery, other hard veggies by just whacking my hand on the top side of the blade. Before I had this, I absolutely hated the thought of dicing onions or celery. Now, it’s easy and routine.

    I really appreciate the Flexible Chopping Mats which come in colors that help me keep veggie chopping separate from chicken chopping separate from fish chopping separate from beef chopping.

    I think the 5th for me would be the maybe 2-quart sauce pan I’ve had for too many years to count with the lid and the veggie steamer insert. It’s 100% stainless, has experienced pretty much burned EVERYTHING and still shines and performs. My daughter would have liked something for her shower resembling it, but I couldn’t find anything similar.

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