Spring Clean Your Kitchen...
Rage, Rage Against Useless Kitchen Gadgets
Top 10 Gadgets Worth Keeping
In my line of work I spend a considerable amount of time in other people's kitchens and I'm always amazed at the number of gadgets they have - everything from pasta measurers to turkey cannons (Google it). For the sake of brevity (and to keep from overheating on the topic), I think it's best to discuss what you DO need as opposed to what you don't. So here goes - my advice on a well equipped kitchen:
1. Good quality knives: 9 or 10 inch chef's knife, a serrated knife, a couple of paring knives and a carving knife. You don't need to spend a fortune. What's most important is that you keep them sharp by using a steel often - if a knife is dull it's useless and potentially dangerous.
2. Excellent stainless pots: a reasonable sized pasta/stock pot, a couple of sauce pans and a couple of good quality Teflon fry pans are key. I'm also a fan of cast iron fry pans; they are inexpensive and offer a nice, consistent heat for
frying, so pick one up and you won't be disappointed.
3. A food processor: you get what you pay for here. Spend a little more, but avoid too many bells and whistle and put the money into one with a more powerful motor. Power and durability is key.
4. A ricer: available at most hardware stores, this inexpensive little number does wonder when pureeing veg. Try riced potatoes as an alternative to mashed.
5. A digital thermometer: takes all the guess work out of roasting!
6. A gas stove: yes I said gas stove! Your stove is the single most important piece of equipment in your kitchen, and gas is the only way to go. There is not a single good restaurant in the world that does not have a gas range; electric cook tops just can't compare. It's all about the evenness and responsiveness of the heat, which means you have more control, and control is key to good cooking. But don't despair, you won't starve if you have to rely on electric for a few more years.
7. 2-3 pair of well-sprung tongs: these are the most indispensable item in a well-equipped kitchen. And by now, you know that in my mind a well-equipped kitchen is a lean kitchen, where essentials rule. The beauty of such tongs is that they can go from pulling out hot oven racks to stirring to tossing to plucking like no other implement (the key is to ensure they are stainless and, as I said before, well-sprung).
8. A stainless steel whisk: goes without saying when it comes to sauces.
9. A good sharp stainless cheese grater. Great for cheese, zesting, and makes short work of boiled eggs for egg salad.
10. A good quality stainless strainer or colander.
As for the rest of the gadgets that may be gathering dust or lying broken in your kitchen (including your under-used microwave oven or Cole Cleaner, designed to disinfect pop cans with ultra violet light)... I say put them into a box and take them to Goodwill, then enjoy all the extra counter and cupboard space you'll have in your kitchen (and the money you'll save eschewing useless gadgets for life).
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against useless kitchen gadgets.