Have you ever cooked in a strange kitchen and really missed a favorite utensil or gadget? All cooks have their “go-to” favorites. You may take them for granted while in your own kitchen, but you know how important they are when you are stuck without them.
Here is my list:
- My “White Handle” knives
Most chefs use a set of knives, but also have a favorite. Mine is a Victorinox paring knife with a serrated edge. We started using them after September 11th when it became impossible to bring knives on a plane. Our Executive Chef found the White Handle knives and started to send them to customer presentations in advance. They are less than $6 a knife when you buy them in bulk so we could leave them behind after a presentation. We started giving them to customers as we were leaving telling them how great they were and that we couldn’t take them home through airports. We wound up getting more complements on the knives than we did on our products. These are multi-purpose knives that work really well for all kinds of tasks.
- Food Processors
Please note that I say food processors, I have more than one. I have a traditional 12 – cup processor and a 4 – cup mini processor. I use the 12 – cup processor for most jobs like blending and grating. The 4 – cup mini has a blade that goes in two directions. You can use this function to get a more consistent dice on onions, etc.
What is simple for some people is hard for others. I once wrote a supper club menu that called for diced onions. One poor clubber complained to me that she spent over an hour crying over diced onions. I made the same recipes and it took me less than five minutes to dice the onions and not a tear was shed. I asked my friend if she had a food processor and she said yes, but I never use it…da!
- Wood Spatula’s
I use these for all sorts of things like: browning/breaking up chopped meats, stirring sauces in non-stick sauté pans, folding ingredients together. I could go on and on. They are always within reach in my kitchen and get used all the time.
- Mandolin slicers
Again, I am using the plural term because I have three. My wife used to give me a hard time about having three. Then we visited her brother and he has six. Different mandolins have different uses. They are also one of the more dangerous utensils in the kitchen as most chefs have lost more than a piece of skin by getting careless while using one. The bottom line is that if you need a uniform cut or dice, mandolins are a great time saver.
- Garlic Peelers
This definitely falls into the category of something you really miss if you are cooking in a kitchen where you don’t have one. My father once accused me of not cooking anything that doesn’t have garlic and onion in it. He might have been right. I do know that when I am peeling garlic without a peeler I feel like I am herding cats. It takes way too long.
This is my top five today but I have to confess that my list changes pretty regularly. Another great sign of how important to me a utensil is, is how often I gift an item. We regularly give away “White Handle” knives and they have developed a cult following amongst family and friends. Just about everything on this list has been a Christmas or Hanukah gift.
If you enjoy this blog and similar other stories/supper club lessons subscribe to get future blogs at www.impromptufridaynights.com/blog and be on the look out for my book Impromptu Friday Nights a Guide to Supper Clubs. Morgan James Publishing published the Kindle-Version on September 5, 2017 and the hard copy coming out January 30, 2018.