Cooking is Easy with Kitchen Gadgets from Knives to Scissors

BASICS

Number one on the list are good scissors. One regular for cutting fine herbs like tarragon, rosemary, basil, parsley or green onions (start at the green end). I find using scissors for small food items is quicker and safer than struggling with a knife. They come in handy for snipping tops off food bags, too. The second, heavier duty pair is great for cutting through poultry or rib bones.

Back L to R; meat cleaver,citrus blade hacksaw,bagel knife, whisks; foreground L to R regular and heavy duty scissors
Back L to R; meat cleaver,citrus blade hacksaw,bagel knife, whisks; foreground L to R regular and heavy duty scissors

Equally as important are specialty knives and slicers. An awesome tool for chopping poultry into smaller portions or flattening meats like veal is a meat cleaver. You can purchase an inexpensive, yet good one in most shops catering to the Asian community. Pick up a hacksaw from the local hardware store; it’s another nifty item to have for cutting through large bones.

Whisk away to creamy hollandaise or frothy milk to top your cappuccino. Larger whisks make exceptional whipped cream; a medium sized whisk is perfect for sauces and gravies, while the very small whisk is excellent when microwaving packaged sauces or making dressings. And a cone shaped whisk whips egg whites to perfection for meringues.

A Bagel knife, as implied, is easier to use when slicing because of the dull end and shortness of the blade.

And even if you don’t eat grapefruit often having the curved-end citrus blade in your arsenal is always handy, it’s also ideal for segmenting large navel oranges.

Right up there with whisks is a garlic press and/or slicer; another must have in every kitchen. The slicer does double duty to slice shallots, as well.

Never underestimate the many uses for different sized spatulas. From getting every last morsel of cake batter scraped from the bowl to retrieving mayo from the bottom of the jar they’re indispensable.

Back L to R; can opener, garlic slicer, garlic press, spatulas; centre L to R cork screws (black handle is step up type), ice cream scoop; foreground; L to R plastic ladles, potato peeler
Back L to R; can opener, garlic slicer, garlic press, spatulas; centre L to R cork screws (black handle is step up type), ice cream scoop; foreground; L to R plastic ladles, potato peeler

A reliable can opener is a must. Try to find one that cuts on top of the can as opposed to the side. It will hold the lid with a magnet which makes it simple to rinse off for recycling.

Small ladles make serving up sauces steaming hot from the microwave or pot a snap. You can pick them up in almost any dollar store in packs of two.

Always be sure to have at least one, if not two, high quality cork screws on hand. One that has a secondary ‘step-up’ function is a boon for longer corks in some wine bottles.

A sturdy and heavy ice cream scoop is definitely an important basic. Buy one with a metal bowl so it can be warmed under hot water before plunging into that delectable ice cream. If you can find one with a quick release lever all the better, it makes a fancy presentation by scooping potatoes or rice.

Potato peelers come in many shapes; fat handle, thin handle, some fit in the palm of your hand, regardless of its shape a sideways, swivel motion blade, I’ve found, work best.

Top L to R; hand graters, bowl grater, bamboo grater, nutmeg grater
Top L to R; hand graters, bowl grater, bamboo grater, nutmeg grater
Jar lid opener circa 1950ish
Jar lid opener circa 1950ish

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGETS

You can never have too many graters. They come in many sizes for a variety of uses. Small, hand held graters are perfect for grating just enough parmesan, asiago or romano on pasta. For recipes that call for a larger amount use a bowl style that has two or three different sized grater to choose from and comes with a lid for storing. Nutmeg has a more intense flavour when ground from a whole seed or pod so a nutmeg grater should be added to the mix; they’re quite small and will usually fit right on the spice rack. Another essential tool, especially if you love cooking Asian or Indian dishes, is a bamboo, ginger grater. You can usually pick one up for a couple of dollars in any shop that sells ethnic related products.

A great basic is a jar lid opener; it enables anyone to open the tightest of jar lids in a snap. If you have difficulty finding the style try thrift stores or check out garage sales. Mines an oldie, but goodie I inherited from my mom.

pot spoon rest
pot spoon rest

An ingenious gadget is the pot spoon rest. How many times have you lost the spoon in a pot of bubbling pasta sauce? This gizmo clips on the edge of the pot and prevents the spoon from falling in. Most kitchen stores carry them. They are awesome.

back; flip style tong,back centre from back; metal, rubber grip tong and wooden tong; foreground L to R; pie and cake server
back; flip style tong,back centre from back; metal, rubber grip tong and wooden tong; foreground L to R; pie and cake server

Every well equipped kitchen should have two or three types of tongs. A long handled metal tong, preferably with a rubber grip, are ideal for heavy food items like corn or whole chicken breasts. A wooden tong, again found in an Asian store, work extremely well for turning hot appetizers and a double-sided flip-style tong is great for turning vegetables on the grill. The best part is they have a slide closer on the side for ease of storage.

Basics for serving up slices of pie and wedges of your favourite cake are triangular servers specifically for this purpose. The pie server has a serrated edge for ease of cutting and cake servers are wide enough to balance a hefty serving.

onion comb/pick
onion comb/pick

One of my favourite must have gadgets is an onion comb/pick. It looks like a metal afro pick, but I wouldn’t advise using it on your hair! It does, however, make dicing an onion easy as one, two, three. Cut a thin slice from one side of the onion so it lays flat. Make diagonal slits across the top, in opposite directions, being careful not to slice all the way through and place the bulb (flat side down) on the cutting board. Stick with the pick and your fingers are out of harms way.

L clockwise; metal measuring cups, silicone, wedge pot holders, pasta server
L clockwise; metal measuring cups, silicone, wedge pot holders, pasta server

Every good cook is as good as her equipment, not that kind, and individual, metal measuring cups are worth paying a bit more for. Once reason being you can use them on the stove top to heat brandy for Beef Bourguignon or rum for bananas foster!

Silicone, wedge pot holders save you from burning fingers when lifting hot lids with metal tops and make moving metal handled pots easy. They also don’t stain when sliding out an oven rack.

If you’ve ever struggled getting long pasta from pot to plate try using a pasta server. It works much better than a serving spoon.

Photos by C.Borthwick all rights reserved


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Comments 10 comments

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks for sharing all your kitchen gadgets and things. creativeone59


KayBerries profile image

KayBerries 7 years ago

The onion thing looks really cool! I think I need to go find one.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C. Author

Thanks creativeone for checking it out!

KayBerries, the onion thing is one of the coolest gadgets I have.


one2get2no profile image

one2get2no 7 years ago from Olney


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C. Author

Thanks one2get2no, glad you liked it.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for sharing all this info about kitchen gadgets. I love the look of most of them.

Love and peace

Tony


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C. Author

Thanks, stay tuned for part 2, I'm a maniac.


Delaney Boling profile image

Delaney Boling 7 years ago

Carmen, I think I'm in love with you! LOL. Seriously though, I really enjoyed this hub. I have a similar hub about cooking utensils that you buy at the hardware store, but this list (with the exception of the garlic press - I prefer to crush with the back of a knife) includes items that I simply MUST have in my own arsenal. Very well thought out hub, and beautifully written. Thanks and I'm officially a fan.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C. Author

Really?! I know, I read your hub and I'm going to try the brick when I BBQ peppercorn marinated steaks tonight. I really liked the hub on racism, too. I'll get to them all eventually. Thanks for joining me. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I hope to hear from you again soon. BTW my second gadget hub will be posted next week, you think you love me now!


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

This is Brilliant, its amazing just how many utensils we use in a kitchen.

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