By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
It’s no secret. I love to cook. Everyone who knows me knows this. My favorite pastime is cooking for friends and family. I don’t know if I’m particularly talented, but I know that I have a love and passion for cooking. But, that’s not enough. You have to have the right tools.
Here are a few of my favorites from my kitchen:
Knives. You have to have a good knife. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to work with a crummy knife. But good ones don’t come cheap. When we got married, we received a Global vegetable knife. That started our love of Global. Now, for each holiday or birthday, my husband gives me a new one to add to the collection.
Ricer. This tool may not be familiar to you. I think they were probably more popular back in the days of the food mill. But believe me, you should have one of these babies. They make the best mashed potatoes on the planet. It just creates a nice silky texture without over-working the potatoes. Want gummy mashed potatoes? Use a hand mixer. Want fluffy, delicious ones? Use a ricer.
Mandoline. Ok, this one is fabulous, but incredibly dangerous. With the aid of a huge razor blade, you can use this tool for perfect slices. Mine has a dial that allows me to choose a specific thickness; 1/8” up to 3/8” for slices and julienne cuts. The first one I had was more basic but just as effective. Rather than having a dial, it had plates that you could snap in that would change the thickness of the cut for you. Whether you go basic or all out, this thing will allow you to have uniform tomato slices, onions, squash, apples, pepperoni…you get the idea. BUT, you must use caution because the last thing you want is to get in a hurry and run your fingers across that blade. Yikes! Hello Emergency Room. (LMC has one you know, but you don’t want to go there unless you have to!)
Cherry/Olive Pitter. I love this little gadget! All you do is load the fruit in the little bowl, press down and the pit just flies right out. This is great for fresh cherries (pack in the kids’ lunches and don’t worry about choking hazards) and nice olives like Nicoise, Calamata, etc. If you are an olive lover like me, you can spend a fortune buying the pitted ones rather than the whole olive. With a tool like this, it’s a piece of cake to pit them and use them in any application you can think of.
So, these are just a few of my invaluable tools. Of course, there are all kinds of other cool thing-a-ma-jigs that I’d love to have. However, kitchen stores, like shoe stores, can be very dangerous for a person like me. I have to exercise self-control in both places so that I can actually afford to keep food on the table!
Bon Appetit friends!