Thanks for all those great comments on using or not using scales. It’s a hopeful trend. It got me thinking about useful kitchen tools, just as Ed Charles, Australian journalist and blogger, has been inspired by The Elements of Cooking to consider his own kitchen and not what is useful but what isn’t and asks people to name their least useful kitchen tool.
I’m not the first to suggest that a tool that has only a single use is just as useful in the garbage as it is in your drawer. A mango slicer, please. An egg separater—Jesus, an egg separator! We are born with the perfect egg separators, right at the end of our arms! Why would anyone be moved to invent one? Sarah on Ed’s blog said her “pie maker” was the most useless thing in her kitchen. Another commented that they love their pie maker. What is a pie maker?! I’ve never heard of a pie maker. I use my egg separators to make pies! (Google search: sunbeam pie maker, at right.)
I was sure I had some useless crap stored in a box in the basement but no—I don’t have a single useless gadget any more. I even threw out those ridiculous corn cob shaped corn holders my mother puts in my Christmas stocking every year. I only have practical gadgets, so I took a picture of them. Were I forbidden to use any one of them, I would be cranky indeed. Were I to go stage in a kitchen, I’d feel pretty confident that if I had these items, I could get just about anything I needed done.
Photo NOT by Donna
My favorite kitchen gadgets:
From right to left, big knife and little knife, rubber spatula, wood spoon with flat edge, fish spatula, microplane, instant read thermometer, Sharpie, sauce whip, string, fine mesh strainer, two spoons, measuring spoons, peeler, heavy side towel for grabbing hot things, and, the most important tool in the kitchen, kosher salt.
Comments welcome: be brief: single most valuable and single least valuable kitchen gadget.
post script 4/30: many people have noted their affection for tongs and wondered how this tool could not be pictured here. I have one good sturdy set of tongs that hang from the bar to the left of the hood and i use them all the time. But i don’t think they should be considered an essential kitchen tool. I know most cooks will disagree and I understand why.