18-15: Basic Kitchen Utensils

Doing a bit of housekeeping…here’s one that’s been sitting in my draft queue since around Christmas. 18-19: Basic Kitchen Utensils covers exactly what it says–basic tools even novice cooks should have in their kitchen. This is part of Cooking School, the back segment of Simply Delicious that covers basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes for all levels of aspiring chefs.

After the jump, I’ll show you what I’ve got in my own kitchen (similar to how I covered 18-3: Good Kitchen Knives and 18-6: Basic Pots and Pans). None of it’s super fancy, but it gets the job done.

Colanders and strainers This collection is a snapshot of my lifetime cooking career–pieces that survived several kitchens, moves, relationships, jobs, etc. The vegetable steamer on the left side isn’t really a colander or strainer, but lives with them in the cabinet and is at least 20-30 years old–it was a hand-me-down from my mom. The larger colander in the back was my husband’s from when he had his own place & kitchen, before we met. The blue colander on the right is the one I took when I moved out of a shared apartment junior year of college (mentioned here).

Bowls: I like having several sizes of stainless steel mixing bowls–they’re the most versatile and easy to clean. I don’t really buy plastic bowls, I feel like plastic tends to absorb smells & colors, plus it just doesn’t seem as clean as metal.

Carving boards:  I’ve never purchased a large wooden cutting board–mostly due to lack of space to store one. I do have some larger plastic ones–in fact, most of my boards are plastic, either from IKEA or the restaurant supply store. Wooden ones tend to warp and seem less clean than plastic ones (especially because plastic can go through the dishwasher). Don’t even get me started on glass cutting boards–they’re awful for your knives and ears.

How cool is that bird-shaped lemon wedge juicer in the last picture above? A quick Google search shows that they’re still out there somewhat, but most of them are either out of stock or going for a high price on eBay. A new treasure I’ll have to keep an eye out for on thrift store and flea market trips.

Measuring cupsThis isn’t even the extent of my measuring cup collection–these are just most of the liquid ones. Dry ones are the ones that come on the ring (1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.). I had ones all the way up to a gallon when I was working as a cook–you’d be amazed how much that comes in handy when you’re making a large pot of soup or mashed potatoes.

Grater & citrus fruit juicer: Obviously there’s more tools here than what’s named (I’ve since procured one of the juicers like in their picture–I hadn’t yet when I took these shots). Along with my graters (in the middle), there’s a lemon juicer (clockwise), melon baller, 2 types of corers, zester, egg slicer, masher, wine key, garlic press, and turkey baster. I have 3 or 4 more of these types of shots, all with different kitchen tools I have, but this was already getting complicated.