Sunday, June 22, 2008

Favorite Kitchen Tools - Installment #1

I have a kitchen full of gadgets and gizmo's. Some things I use regularly, a few items make obligatory appearances during the various holiday seasons, and others are doing time in the back of the cabinet waiting to be paroled once every couple years. I try to buy only those things that I know I will use, and refrain from impulse purchases (well, I like to think that I do). Still, I find myself reaching for the same spoon or knife or pan for most meal preparation.

Today's post is the first installment titled My Favorite Kitchen Tools. Perhaps others find themselves also using the same pieces over and over. Maybe there are those out there who are more adventurous taking advantage of multiple pieces. I am very interested in learning what all those magnificent blog chefs consider to be their valuable, indispensable, favorite kitchen tools.

Today's "My Favorite Kitchen Tool": Wooden Utensils: Spoons and Spatula's

Several years ago, when I converted most of my cookware to non-stick pieces, I also switched out my cooking utensils to nylon or silicon. Not only did I cease using my metal cooking utensils, I also stopped using my wooden spoons. Those new safe-for-teflon pieces with their comfort grip handles caught my attention. Fast forward to about a year ago, I purchased a new wooden spoon by OXO and immediately fell in love with it. It was like greeting an old friend. That little wooden beauty handles both stainless and non stick cookware with ease, won't bow or buckle when mixing cookie dough, and can stir soup without the handle getting too hot. The folks at OXO are very good about incorporating comfort in their designs, and this one has a comfortable, wide handle. The wood doesn't splinter, hold odors, or get "fuzzy". The bowl portion and handle length are perfect. Ah, the perfect multi task tool. It's the one item I consistently reach for. It just keeps on keepin' on.

The one thing it doesn't do well is spatula work. Then today I saw the answer. Hanging on the utensil rack at Target of all places ... A wooden spatula made by OXO. I picked it up. For those of you who saw the Harry Potter movie, do you remember when Harry gets his first wand at Olivander's shop? Remember the dramatic orchestra music sounding out and how the wind blew and the light shown on Harry? Olivander told Harry, "The wand picks the wizard, Harry!" Well, that's what it was like for me and my wooden spatula. Really. Only without the orchestra and the wind, and ... ok, well, let's move on shall we ....

This wooden spatula, like it's spoon cousin, will be a great multi-tasker. I plan to use it for scraping up those luscious browned bits off the bottom of skillets, for scrambling eggs and flipping sausage patties, for two-fisted stir fries, and who knows what else.

Then, while still enjoying my state of glee at finding the spatula, what do I see? The cast iron skillet that I've been scoping out on line. I haven't used a cast iron skillet for about 20 years. I've always found the skillets to be way too heavy for my small wrists, and the iron itself was a pain to care for. Now, though, the newer breed of cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned and in a variety of sizes. This one is only 10", not very big by skillet standards and it will require me to use both hands to lift it when full of food, but it's the perfect size for the types of food I want to prepare in it. Plus, it will give me a chance to see how I feel about using cast iron. It will be rigorously tested on the stove top, in the oven, and on the grill.

Now I just need to season my new wooden spatula tonight with a couple coats of mineral oil and it will be ready to go. Tomorrow morning, prepared in the cast iron skillet and managed with the wooden spatula, it's sausage and eggs, baby!


Pam said...

Well, I'm off to go find that wooden spatula! I need one now!

Marjie said...

I have a favorite wooden spoon. Really, it's half a spoon, and I use it whenever I'm taking tomato paste out of a can. Revisionist history says I broke it over Patrick's head, but it was cracked down the middle, and I smacked him in the shoulder when he said something insulting about my food during dinner, when he was about 14, and outweighed me by about 50 pounds. I always go for the same few utensils, despite having drawers full of the things!

Deborah said...

I have a couple wooden spoons from Pampered Chef that I LOVE - they are a few years old, and look just like when I bought them. You can leave those babies in a pot of spaghetti sauce, and after washing, there is absolutely no staining. And I grew up on cast iron - that's all my mom ever used. And although I don't use it exclusively, I do love my cast iron pans!

Manggy said...

That looks like a great buy-- unfortunately I've only ever seen OXO Good Grips products here-- none of those gorgeous wooden utensils. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try to look for one.

I've long been planning on buying a cast iron pan, I hope I have the patience to maintain it! It's nice to see a pan that can go into the oven and is nonstick while not being too expensive.

Laurie Constantino said...

I was feeling sorry for you giving away all your wooden spoons! I have one of those wooden spatulas and really love it.

Ruth Elkin said...

Hey thought i'd pop over and see your blog after you left that sweet comment on mine.

I love my wooden spatulas too... I always reach for them first when I'm cooking so i feel the love!

Great blog btw.

Pam said...

I love my wooden spoons but now I'll need to get a wooden spatula. I love your reference to Harry Potter - we are huge fans in my house.

Cheryl said...

A fellow Oregonian? I am in Beaverton! I was just thinking a blog on my favorite kitchen tools would be fun! There is nothing in the world like Oregon berries!

Paula said...

Great to see that everyone thinks fondly of good ol' wooden utensils!

Pam: Your CSA delivery looks great! Thanks for stopping by!

Marjie: Now that Patrick's older, what utensil size comes in handy? It's always great to see your name pop up here!

Deborah: I have a cheese grater from Pampered Chef that does a great job! Thanks for stopping by!

Manggy: I plan on using my new wooden spatula when I make your spicy prawn cakes! Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie Constantino: Your post on the spruce tips is so interesting! I love all the beautiful pictures you post. Thanks for stopping by!

Ruth Elkin: Your post on Apricot Cranberry Chicken Kiev was so creative! Thanks for stopping by!

Pam: If only I could do my dishes the same way that Mrs. Weasley does! Thanks for stopping by!

Cheryl: I am a fellow Oregonian! My avatar photo is a snapshot of my kids at Cannon Beach! Thanks for stopping by!