When I was just in the beginning of my cooking journey, I wanted every latest gadget, matching sets of pots and pans and all the trendiest kitchen stuff. And I became addicted to kitchen gadgets. I even tried to optimize my kitchen storage to help facilitate my addiction of buying kitchen gadgets.
Now, 6 years later, after some trials and errors, I know that the most important kitchen gadgets or utensils are those that work for me and I use them frequently. And they become my best friends in the kitchen and one of them is my faithful microwife ………..ooops I mean microwave 🙂
Why Best Friends?
The relationship I have with my kitchen gadgets is an intimate one. Whether whisking eggs, slicing onions or ladling a sauce, confidence in the kitchen often stems from the grip around a familiar handle. I am sure we all have our favorite kitchen tools, those that are indispensable and we couldn’t live without.
It is really hard to narrow down what my favorite one is. Let’s start with My Aprons. They have become essential items in my wardrobe and I am picking those ones which I think look stylish and beautiful. I have 6 aprons with different design. But my favorite one is the oldest apron, not because its the prettiest but its the one I got from my sister back in 2005 when I started my cooking journey.
Then My Knives. Knives are arguably the most personal of kitchen tools. In his book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain explains just how reserved chefs can be about their blades with the line, “Don’t touch my dick, don’t touch my knife.” Also in the army they are taught that “A knife is your best friend”. Soldiers require particular tools in order to survive in the field and the same holds true for cooks and chefs as they also require certain tools to survive for the long term in the kitchen. Our best friend in our kitchen like a soldier is our knife.
When I started my love affair with cooking back in 2005, I bought 5 different types of knife for different purposes. They are all un-branded and cost only a few bucks each but they have been my best friends ever since. How I lived without these knives, I will never know.
Last Christmas, I was so lucky to get a gift from a friend – one complete set of knives. Although now I have this fancy set, but from time to time I still use my favorite old buddies.
The next useful item in my kitchen is My Green Chopping Board designed by Joseph Joseph. Strange enough, I bought this chopping board in a book store named Aksara. It’s been scrubbed and scraped and there are few scratches from the knives, and the board is now not as shiny as before.
What starts out as a mere functional tool, through time becomes something quite important. I really love this particular chopping board – it has a very unique smart design where you can fold it after you chop something.
My Reliable Wok. I love my Wok not only for its reliability or for its primary function, but also for the associations and memories I have with it. I bought the wok in Ace Hardware one year or so ago after I did my little research on wok and wrote a blog post ‘Walk to Wok. I was with my second daughter and she saw the display of different woks with big sign SALE. She pointed it out to me as she knew I was looking for a wok, at the time. There I saw this wok as the only piece left of this size on the SALE shelf – and it was love at the first sight.
My wok has a flat bottomed exterior and a convex interior that is extremely stable and does not need to be held with one hand due to its weight; leaving you a free hand to be able to work with while the other is continuously moving ingredients in the pan.
Did you know that you could both steam and smoke in a wok? Simply heat a small quantity of water on the bottom and when it begins to steam cover with a bamboo steamer. And this is my beloved Bamboo Steamer:
My other Woks: sometimes I need to use my other woks: medium size stainless steel wok and small iron cast wok.
Wooden Spoons. I love my wooden spoons. They are durable, easily washable, heat-proof, versatile…I simply cannot substitute with others for all the things I can accomplish with simple wooden spoons.
My Mortar and Pestle. I have three different mortars and pestles, a large stone mortar, a heavy medium-size granite which I love best and a small wooden one.
Each has it’s uses and I use them all. I can make marinades, herb blends, spice-paste, crush chilies, crack nuts etc etc. Definitely very essential tools!
Though I use mortar and pestle a lot but sometimes I also rely on My Cuisinart Mini Food Processor. The bowl capacity is just the right size for all but the biggest jobs. And I love the easy cleanup. Make balado, bread crumbs, spice-paste for rica-rica, and more with this tiny, efficient appliance.
Plastic and Steel Colander. This perforated plastic bowl is crucial for draining foods that have been immersed in boiling water, or straining solid material out of liquids.
It’s difficult–and dangerous–to try draining pasta from a pot of boiling water without one of these gadgets.
Measuring Cup and Spoons. I have 3 measuring tools but I love my measuring cup the most (the one in the middle). It’s a very simple measuring cup. This measuring cup is ideal for most of my cooking and baking needs. Intervals at a quarter, third, half, two-thirds and three-quarters are typically indicated on the side.
My Little Essentials Tools: Amongst these little essential tools. my least favorite is the Garlic Press (the one at the right end). Can’t remember the last time I used this. The cleanup is horrible, and if you have decent knife skills, it only takes a bit longer. Plus, some chefs claim a press gives a more acidic taste compared to mincing.
Pots and Pans. It’s hard to overestimate the usefulness of cooking pan. Whether stainless steel, Teflon-coated or enamel, saucepans can be used to saute, stir-fry, boil, simmer, steam and even re-heat all kinds of food.
And this is one of my favorites:
I don’t have a complete set of pots and pans. Sets are good for the company selling them, but not for the consumer. You never use everything they put in a set. You have your favorites and the rest merely take up space in the cabinets.
And this is my favorite grilling pan:
My Special Rice Spoon and Spatula. I have 2 special rice spoons, one long and one short which I love so much because the rice don’t stick on it and one spatula scrapper (note: in the middle of the 2 rice spoons)
Mixing Bowls. I have 2 favorite mixing bowls for mixing batter, sauces and other semi-liquid foods.
My kitchen cabinets are filled with a mishmash of stuff for cooking and baking.
I would have enough to fill more cabinets and still have a full kitchen set up, but I can’t part with any of it. I haven’t used some things in years, but I may at any moment, so I need to be prepared.
That’s why, I don’t dare step foot in Pantry Magic, a special cookware shop in the city where I live, in fear of finding some obscure piece of equipment I have to have.
With all of these tools, I don’t think there would be much I couldn’t do 🙂