ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10 Most Useful Food Prep Tools and How To Use Them

Updated on July 20, 2008

Moms and Their Fetishes for Kitchen Gadgets

Over the years, my love and interest of cooking have resulted in the collection of a great many kitchen tools, gadgets and do-dads. Many were given to me by my dear, late mother, who had a fetish for the latest and greatest kitchen gismo. She absolutely HAD to have every single one of them, and made sure I did too.

So, I've managed to accrue a great many kitchen tools. Many I can live without. But, there are those few, the most simple, and the most basic of any and all kitchen tools that I cannot part with. I simply can't function in the kitchen if I don't have them.

This hub was inspired as a result of my recent trip to my daughter's house in Rhode Island. Since she just had a baby two weeks earlier, I came out to take charge of the cooking, at least for a few days. I was so excited. To cook for others is one of the ways that I express my love for them. I would make a few of her favorite things, like potato salad, grilled chicken, flank steak, and black bean enchiladas.

So all I could think of during the weeks leading up to my trip were menu plans and ingredient lists. The first thing I wanted to do after landing in Providence was go to the grocery store. Pretty pathetic, I know.

But this time, I knew that my daughter really needed me to be there for her in this way. I was more than ecstatic to once again have the chance to play the role of caregiver at this very significant time of her life.

While my daughter is so wonderful in so many ways, cooking isn't really her thing, and her kitchen was missing many of my personal-must-have kitchen tools. Trying to do many food prep tasks without many of my everyday kitchen tools made me appreciate my "top 10" so much more!

Before I left Rhode Island, and like my mother did for me, I made sure to stock my daughter's kitchen with at least 8 of the tools from my list. Right now, I'm working on sending her #9 and 10!

Using a Knife for Slicing an Onion (:39 sec)

Spatulas and Whisks (4 mins)

No Electrical Power Required!

1. Sharp Kitchen Knives

First and foremost, a good set of chef's knives can be your best tools in the kitchen. Some years ago, my father got me my first really "good" chef's knife, a Wüstof brand premium knife, and I've been hooked ever since. Pricey, yes. However, if you take good care of them, premium knives will last forever.

Safety First. For knives to be useful and safe, they must be sharp. Dull knives can slip off the onion or whatever you are attempting to slice, and can do some serious damage to anything in the way. Keep them sharp by using a sharpening steel after each use. When I notice that the blade is getting especially dull, and is inefficient while slicing, I use an electric knife sharpener.

How to Care for Knives. Clean them thoroughly after using. While some brands may state that their knives are dishwasher safe, I always wash mine by hand, using a mild liquid detergent and a dishrag. Clean them especially after slicing citrus fruits. The citric acid can be corrosive if left on the knife. Store in a knife block, on a magnetic rack, or in a knife case. Don't just throw them in a drawer.

2. Wire/Silicone Whisk

Before I discovered the joys of whisking, I used a fork for beating eggs, and a wooden spoon for making gravy. After my hard work, I usually got flat scrambled eggs and lumpy gravy.

Whisking during food prep really helps to fluff things up a bit. Whisking introduces air into the product to make it light and fluffy. Silicone whisks resist heat, so it can be used while stirring on the stovetop, which work especially well for blending gravies, sauces, soups and stews.

3. Silicone Spatula

I don't even use the regular white plastic spatulas anymore. Not since I melted half of it by leaving it in a hot pan by mistake. Silicone can tolerate heat up to about 400°, so it is very useful for sauteing. Also, its thickness and durability make it useful for scraping batter from bowls.

4. Tongs

A very versatile tool that is good for handling raw meat when you don't want to use your hands. While cooking over an open flame, you definitely need to keep your hands and fingers out of the heat. Tongs are like extensions for your fingers. They allow the cook to have some dexterity while grilling various types of tricky foods, such as onions and peppers.

5. Salad Spinner

After washing lettuce and other greens, plot them into the spinner, and let centrifugal force dry them off. It's much quicker than using paper or kitchen towels, and the leaves get almost completely dry. No more slimy lettuce.

6. Vegetable Peeler

Many a chef can chip the peels from vegetables in lightening speed using a knife. I know. I watch the Food Network Challenges. But I have neither the time, nor the desire to learn this type of skill, and I would probably turn a giant potato into a nugget anyway.

So I have the standard peeler that makes quick work of carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini or apples. By starting at one end of the fruit or vegetable, and running the peeler down its length, the peeler will take the top skin off, with little waste of the usable product. If you want to get creative, you can use a peeler to make think "ribbons" of vegetables to go in salads.

7. Flat Spatula

How else would you flip hamburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches?

8. Pasta Spoon/Server

Great for taking lengths of pasta out of the cook water and into another pan to sauté together with the sauce or other ingredients. Then, use it to serve the pasta into pasta bowls.

9. Potato Masher

I prefer a hand masher over using an electric mixer because, first, you don't have to drag out an electric appliance. Second, mashed potatoes will tend to gum up if you whip them too hard or too long. This gadget is also good for making guacamole. Yum.

10. Soup Ladle

A big ladle serves a bowl of soup in one or two dips. It sure beats using a gravy ladle!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Pam Pounds profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Pounds 

      10 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

      Thanks so much, Sally! Glad you enjoyed. A vintage hand ice crusher - very cool. I'll bet that holds a special place of honor in your kitchen!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Fantastic Hub! This is the first of yours I've read, and I'm looking forward to reading all.

      About kitchen gadgets. My aunt Katie is a gadget freak, has been all her life, and she's well up into her eighties now. Whatever's new on the market, she's got it.

      My all-time favorite of hers was a hand-cranked ice crusher from the 50s. My best friend knew about my love for this thing, and gifted me with a *vintage* one not too many years ago.

      The tools on your list are also my most essentials, with a few tiny differences. For one, my knife choice is Sabatier, the carbon steel, not the stainless. I agree that the cost up front is worth it.

      Now, about the potato masher and the avocado. YES! You can mash that green thing with a fork, but a good hand-wielded potato masher does the best job.

      Thumbs up!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent set of tools and, I agree, a must for every kitchen.

      One little gadget I've found to use on my gas range is a heat defuser. The burners on the new range were smaller than my old one and it seemed that everything was burning right in the very center of my pans, no matter how low I turned the flame. This does just what it says and spreads the heat evenly over the whole bottom surface of any pan I use. I don't cook without it!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)