A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about furnishing a kitchen for the first time and asked you to add to my list of essentials.
As usual, you did not disappoint.
Trish Sedlin writes that she finds her glass pie plates indispensable and that while she also loves her Kitchen Aid, she “can’t live without” her food processor and blender.
“Rather than buy by brand name, my husband checked the horsepower capacity on several kinds and recommended the strongest. He was right,” she wrote.
Good tip, Trish. While there are certain brands we may trust more than others, it’s always good to check the specifics and, if possible, go and actually handle the items yourself. I find this especially true with hand-held kitchen tools.
She also points out that copper-bottomed pots take a lot of work to keep shiny. They do, and she’s even more right when she points out that a lot of us don’t have time for that sort of chore. The pots I favor have copper sandwiched in between the steel — so it’s copper-bottomed without being exposed, thus cutting down on the cleaning while giving you the benefits of copper’s heat transfer and retention. I’ve thrown mine in the dishwasher for more than 10 years and they’re still going strong.
Jane Christensen noticed I left out mixing bowls and a colander and, shame on me, I did. If you’ve ever tried to make a cake with only an old butter tub to mix in, you know the value of a good mixing bowl. I actually have two sets. Metal is for when I need something to transfer heat quickly, like when I need a double boiler or when I need to put something on ice to stop the cooking, and a heavy plastic set with nonslip rubber bottoms. Whoever thought of those nonslip rings is a genius and deserves some sort of international prize.
I also have a variety of colanders. I have a plastic one with a matching bowl for when I want to lift something out and leave a broth or other cooking liquid behind; a heavy, very large plastic one; and one like Jane has used for nearly 47 years, the metal kind with feet on the bottom.
The last was inherited from my husband’s grandmother. It is one of my favorite kitchen tools and is also responsible for one of my favorite kitchen stories. When we were first married and combining households, we had a garage sale to get rid of some of the excess items (and, inexplicably, 5 gallons of pickles my mom bought for our wedding. Pickles? I still can’t explain it. But that woman was sure happy to buy them from me.).
During the sale, I walked in our house to get a glass of water and found a strange man going through my kitchen cabinets. I started to assault him with a broom when he held up that metal colander and offered me $10 for it. My reply can’t be printed in a family newspaper. Let’s just say he left and I kept my colander.
Keep the tips coming, guys!
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.