One of the lovely things about this time of year is that if you are lucky enough, you get invited to friends’ cottages. As a polite and grateful guest, I always like to volunteer to make at least one meal…satisfying my love of cooking and also repaying the invitation. But it is very hard cooking in some one else’s kitchen, when you are used to your own tools…
So…I’ve come up with my own Top Ten list of things that I believe all well-equipped kitchens should have:
1. A good variety of sharp knives: paring, all purpose, chef’s, and bread knives
2. Kitchen tongs: I can’t live without mine and they have to fit your hand size-wise (the SO has a pair but they are too long / big for me so I need to buy him a new pair…really as a gift for me…)
3. Spatulas: silicon for scrambling eggs and getting the last possible bits of food out of mixing bowls, and wooden for easily scraping all the best bits off the bottom of skillets when cooking onions/garlic/etc.
4. Wooden spoons: I seem to have inherited all of my wooden spoons from my mother and my grandmother…they need to be broad enough to have a “spatula” component but rounded enough to easily lift up food to taste
5. Variety of mixing bowls: small / medium / large. I will fess up that I had to mix up a batch of pancake batter this weekend in the dog’s food bowl (very very well-washed out in advance, trust me…) because we forgot this essential piece of the breakfast puzzle
6. Variety of well-balanced pots & pans: there is nothing worse than cooking with old warped pots & pans that don’t sit evenly on the burner…
7. Cutting boards: sounds basic but one good large acrylic cutting board for raw protein and one large wooden cutting board for everything else will do you well
8. Pepper grinder: I use many varieties of salt but if you love freshly ground pepper, it is worth investing in a good grinder. I bought mine fifteen years ago and it is still going strong.
9. Flipper: I am sure there is a proper word for this but it is not a spatula. It is what you use to flip pancakes, crepes, etc. I find that silicon versions work the best.
10. Grater: I rely on two kinds for this – a traditional cheese grater for bigger pieces and then my rasp for finely grated lemon rind, ginger, parmesan.
There are many other utensils & gadgets that I rely on daily in my kitchen such as my food processor, blender, salad spinner, colanders, mandolin, rice cooker…but I can do without all of those in a pinch as long as I am set up with my Top Ten.
Have I missed anything off your Top Ten list?