Country Living Series

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The basics of kitchen equipment

I bought a new toy this week from a thrift store: a pastry blender. It cost a dollar.


I tried it for the first time while making biscuits for breakfast, and it worked just great.

I'd never used one of these gizmos before, but after watching a neighbor make biscuits with one, it looked like a spiffy idea. While a pastry blender isn't a necessity -- I've spent over twenty years making biscuits and pie crusts without it -- it was delightfully handy and easy to use. So, it's been added to my inventory of kitchen tools.

When Don and I were first married in 1990, I had only the most basic kitchen implements: some pots and pans, a few utensils, cups, etc. As I began cooking more, I gradually added more items that made cooking more convenient -- cookie sheets, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, a bread board, a cutting board, etc. Since I'm not a gourmet cook I don't have "gourmet" items in my kitchen, but I have what is needed to cook from scratch.


Sometimes I am startled by what people lack in their kitchen. I'm not talking about newlyweds just getting started in life; I'm talking about established families whose kitchens lack mixing bowls or pie pans or a rolling pin. I recently met someone who didn't even own a single measuring spoon.


I understand why this is. It's because so few people cook from scratch anymore. People are busy, convenience food is cheap and abundant, and the art of a homemade meal has become rarer.

I don't pretend to be a culinary genius in the kitchen (in fact, I actually rather dislike cooking though I do enjoy baking) but knowing how to cook from scratch is, I feel, important. No, more than important -- essential.


Scratch cooking is one of those unheralded and under-appreciated skills that we should all learn because it's the answer to an obvious question: What would you do if frozen pizza or canned chile or boxed macaroni-and-cheese were not available? This is a particularly important question for Preppers because it affects what foods they store.

With a few exceptions, most of your food storage should be ingredients, not prepared food. This means basic staples from which you can assemble complete meals. Most staples (properly stored) will also last longer than most processed foods.

Endless numbers of Preppers have stored away endless amounts of rice and beans, but often they lack the ability to cook up those rice and beans in tasty ways. Worse, lots of people have wheat stored away, without any real comprehension of how to turn that wheat into a loaf of bread.

Our pioneer ancestors were experts at cooking from scratch. They had no choice. The food they grew, raised, or caught was in “scratch” form and needed to be transferred into something edible. And yet pioneer recipes have come down through the generations as testimonies of the wonderful and delicious ways in which basic foods could make marvelous and nutritious meals.


Sadly that ability –- to take raw ingredients and create delicious meals out of them –- is either watered down or gone. We are so entirely dependent on prepared foods from the grocery store (or deli or restaurant) that the definition of "scratch" cooking means making a cake from a boxed mix.

So challenge yourself to take a bag of dried beans and make a meal out of it. Learn how to cook grains, beans, and rice, in addition to meats, fruits, and vegetables. For an additional challenge, grow some of those component ingredients yourself. Make note, then acquire, the kitchen implements necessary to create meals from scratch.


Stocking the kitchen with the basic tools for scratch cooking doesn't have to be expensive, as my pastry blender demonstrates. Many items of excellent quality can be found in thrift stores.

So tell me -- what's your "must have" nonelectric kitchen tool you can't live without? Post it so others who are just beginning to stock their kitchens can learn.

59 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm, different sizes of wire whisks, a 2 cup and a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, and a Dutch oven. A crockpot if you are able to have electricity. ;-) I have a pork butt in my crockpot as we speak!

    kelliinkc

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  2. I could probably live without a whisk, but I wouldn't want to. A whisk works so well for blending dry ingredients for biscuits, cakes, etc., and for eliminating lumps from gravies and sauces. It is the tool that I reach for most often.

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  3. Essentials for my kitchen: Wisk, silicone spatula, rolling pin, pastry blender, 2-3 good knives, measuring cups/spoons.

    **I agree that great deals can be found at thrift stores. I find almost new or brand new kitchen tools for a fraction of the cost in stores. I think a lot of these new brides get wedding & shower gifts not knowing how to use them, then donating it to Goodwill. A recent find was a never used looking All-Clad brand pot with lid for $8. This would be very pricey in stores if you are familiar with this brand.

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  4. I too am amazed that people can't cook! I was raised by my grandparents and everything was cooked from scratch. We also used up all of the leftovers usually as a different dish altogether. I am so glad that I know how to cook from scratch. That doesn't mean I always do, but I can if I need to!

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  5. Oh, I always use a manuel can opener!

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    1. Same here. Stick with the manual.

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  6. Whisks - small, medium and large. And a good set of spatulas that can work their way into the tight spaces of jars. At least one large muffin tin. Not only for muffins, but you can use them to make cakes, rolls, fruit pies, pot pies and desserts.

    Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

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  7. Wood spoons, a good heavy spatula, cast iron pans, 2-3 good metal mixing bowls (large enough for a large bread recipe), a stock pot, a large sauce pan, and a couple heavy duty cookie sheets. Oh and the loaf pans for the bread and one good casserole dish. Otherwise you can do without most of the rest of it. I suppose also I would add measure spoons and cups along with at least a 2 Cup pyrex measuring cup. You can make just about everything with those things. A rolling pin is good but a wood dowel or broom handle works well for that too. Even a wine or vinegar bottle or glass works in a pinch.

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  8. I couldn't manage without my stone jelly roll pan aka bar pan, used like a cookie sheet, and my stone muffin pan.

    I was shocked when you said you'd met someone who didn't own measuring spoons. I understand not cooking but surely, everyone at least owns a set of those!

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  9. My vintage knives, several pressure cookers and my well seasoned cast iron skillets (most gotten from free cycle)

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  10. A potato masher, not the round one w squares, but the sqiggly wire one. I use it to mash taters, mix spices into ground beef and pork (for hamburgers, meat loaves, sausages), I mix up dough for pancakes and biscuits, cakes and brownies.... I love using it to make cookie dough! When first married, we didn't have beaters, and couldn't afford a set, but I had me one of those potato mashers, and it did the job well! So well, that 16 yrs later, I'd rather grab one of my mashers than dig out the beaters!

    Other than that, i need a good, sharp paring knife, and a larger knife, too, and a sharpener/stone to keep them in tip-top condition. I like having 2-3 of these knives, so dh can help, lol. And mixing cups....a generous supply! I have 4 sets, qnd 2 of the 4 cup measures. And I *need* all of them, lol! And wooden spoons. I love them. And wooden cutting boards. Canning funnels...i have three...and most days have 1-2 of them in the dish washer for some reason or another.

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    1. Yes ! I don't think that I could get along without my old fashion Potato masher .. too much bother to get out the beaters.

      Dee in Arizona

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  11. My Ulu knife (thanks, Mom!)

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  12. I have a non-electric can opener, I hate electric ones. They are just a pain to keep clean. I also use my pastry blender for mashing berries for homemade jams and sauces. A whisk, like the others have pointed out, can be used for multiple kitchen functions. I also have a non-electric mixer. It is operated by a crank handle. This took a while to find, but so handy for mixing up items you would normally use a small hand mixer for. One more item that I would be hard pressed to live without is my outdoor gas grill. I know it isn't a "kitchen" item, but it sure is handy. I use it for the original purpose, but it also has a side burner for regular cooking. I also have a tray pan with small holes that I use for grilling fish, shrimp, and small veggies. This item means I can create more variety in my meal planning.

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  13. A potato masher!

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  14. I just bought a stainless steel measuring cup in a 2 cup size that has graduated measurements stamped in the metal. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and my first thought was "my glass measuring cups can break and then what would I use". I also bought a heavy duty potato masher so I could make homemade refried beans. Buy the best quality equipment you can afford, doesn't mean electric with attachments.

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  15. To quote Alton Brown of Good Eats on the Food Network, the only uni tasker he allows in the kitchen is a fire extinguisher.
    Since you don't do TV, most episodes are on Ypu Tube.

    Terry
    Fla.

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  16. My mom is a cook from scratch person and I am pretty sure there is not a single measuring device in her whole kitchen! But that is how my grandma cooked and my mom and most of my 6 siblings. I need a measuring utensils to bake bread but not for regular cooking. Also, my husband does all the cooking at our house and he doesn't use measuring stuff either. We do make sure we can cook all the food we store, either with electricity or without.

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  17. I cook and bake everything from scratch, so my essentials are my stainless steel measuring cups, stainless steel measuring spoons, my pyrex glass measuring cups (love using these to fill my canning jars when canning things that need water added), potato masher, a couple high quality mixing spoons, good quality whisk, good rolling pin, cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans, meat thermometer & candy thermometer (while not essential, they do help me out a lot), pyrex glass casserole pans (both 8x8 and 9x13, great for freezing casseroles in for an easy meal when I don't have time to cook), cast iron pans and dutch ovens, and most of all good quality knives and a good sharpening stone! Some of my stuff is hand me downs that has been in my family for several generations such as the knives and some of my cast iron pans. But a lot of my stuff I have gotten for free, really cheap at yard sales or auctions, and then at thrift stores. I often can buy 9x13 glass pyrex casserole pans for $1-2. And while not essential I do love my blender, a high quality blender can last forever. I love making nutritious smoothies to go along with meals, so am always using my blender for that as well as blending sauces up when I can.

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  18. Just got a vintage hand powered meat grinder off of ebay; must have sausage after it hits the fan :-)

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  19. I have a very well equipped kitchen but my most-needed item is a good quality stainless steel stock pot. (I have an All-Clad that I love.) I'd recommend starting there. After that, cast iron skillets, tongs, whisk, heavy cookie sheets (especially those with sides such as jelly-roll pans) good knives including paring and chef's types, and a good maple cutting board.

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  20. Iron pot and skillets in multiple sizes, hand powered mixer, pastry blender, good knives, wooden spoons, metal cook utensils, stainless steel mixing bowls, potato masher. Some of these are older than I am and came from my mother. Some were wedding gifts. Some came from thrift stores or garage sales.

    When I was married and went 1000 miles away the next summer to visit my mil, I decided I wanted pimiento and cheese and asked her where her grater was kept. She said she did not have one, never had. She asked what I needed it for. She asked if pimiento and cheese could be made, stunned by the fact I knew how. She went to a neighbor and borrowed a grater for me. She told all the relatives in amazement that I was so young and could make pimiento and cheese from scratch. Yes, her food was barely edible.

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  21. Our youngest is about to inhabit his first apartment while he attends diesel mechanic school. I've been buying his first "kitchen": set of Corel dishes, basic flatware, 9x9 & 12x9 glass baking dishes, 2 cup measuring cup, colander, three plastic mixing bowls, whisk, cooking utensils, wooden spoon set, spatulas, a few drinking glasses.

    I'm hoping a set of knives and pots and pans will be graduation gifts, if not, we'll get stuff from thrift stores.

    He has always been a terribly picky eater and I taught him how to cook from a young age in an effort to get him to try a better variety of foods, with some success.

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  22. I will add that I use my pastry cutter a lot...pie crust, biscuits, any time I need to cream butter and sugar together. Makes the job easy peasy and through.

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  23. I'm happy with a good chef's knife with a sharpening stone, a big cast iron frying pan and my wooden work board. Color me happy! I bake bread but that's about it so mixing stuff isn't so important to me. If you take bread to neighbors, sometimes cookies come back.

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  24. basic set of Cutco knives (made in US and they will shapren them, etc for a small fee) which I got from my mother who had them for 35 years. I use the paring knife daily as well as the small chef's knife. Bowl scraper that my brother made for me in wood shop. I fits my hand perfectly and the curve is awesome for getting every bit of batter from the bowl. My butcheer's block (which I got from my grandmother, who got it from her mother so it is over 100 years old) It is the perfect height for me to chop veggies, roll out dough (the perfect size for making pecan sticky buns), mix things by hand. My enamel lined dutch oven, my cast iron skillets (from my great grandmother again)and a set a mixing bowls that a friend made for a wedding present. I had been complaining about not having a really big bowl and she made a set that goes from 1/2 cup to one that holds almost 15 quarts! (It does double duty as the fruit bowl in the kitchen. Time to do dishes, my late shift just finished eating (Track meet was over about 1/2 hour ago)

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  25. I could not get by without my wooden handled manual can opener made in the usa circa 1920's...my iron skillet and iron dutch oven made circa 1900's ...and I really do use my grandma and mamas old cookbook too.

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  26. If you buy whole bean coffee, you need a hand crank coffee grinder/mill. This was one of the first things I looked for when I started thinking about no electricity. I have a percolator, just needed the grinder.

    J

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  27. A manual can opener. I do not even have an electric can opener....I have 4 or 5 manual can openers..

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  28. Our favorite use for the pastry cutter is to make guacamole! Couldn't live without a couple of good knives, jelly roll pans, big mixing bowl and a stock pot. Oh and a big stainless saute pan and my cast iron pans and measuring cups and spoons and my stainless steel mixing bowls that nest so nicely, and my meat grinder and my grain mill and whisks and lots of wooden spoons!

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    1. I use my zig-zag potato masher for guacamole as well as mashing potatoes and mixing meat load.

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  29. I live off grid and it is a long way to a store.. all of our meals are made from scratch.... I could not live without my dutch oven, caste iron frying pan or a sharp knife... I make my pastry with my hands and love the feel of it.. i use a small spoon as a tsp and a large spoon as a Tablespoon.. always have... use a coffee cup to measure a cup... always have...

    (my slow cooker is my dutch oven on the wood stove)

    it all tastes good to me...

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  30. I cook from scratch daily. Since I was raised by a traditional Mexican mother, I make flour tortillas from scratch, boil a large pot of pinto beans every month and freeze them, etc. etc.,. I actually make everything from scratch. Therefore, I have a molcajete, rolling pin, cast iron skillets, about 6 cutting boards for cutting different meats, and various knives, etc...basically things to make cooking easier and more accurate. I don't use a microwave, and really try to learn to can more each year. We'll eventually live off our land; a homestead on 17.5 acres, so I'm getting as much practice as I can. I am surrounded by neighbor wives that never or rarely cook from scratch. I just don't understand that and think it's so very unhealthy and quite expensive. I can relate to you Patrice, in many ways. I admire you so much and just have a difficult time putting your new book down. It makes me laugh and really think about doing many prep things before our time comes to leave this crowded and busy city. I just recently bought 4 chicks and just love them. I am looking forward to eating freshly laid eggs in about six months. Thank God for your site! and you're in my daily prayers. I hope Don is 100 percent recuperated.
    Hugs and blessings your way, from the Lone Star State.
    Alicia

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  31. A wooden spoon that you like the feel of, a good stock pot and frying pan and most importantly good SHARP knives (one chef's knife and one paring knife will do it) and a suitable cutting surface. Any random collection of dishes and utensils will do. I think I could get by without measuring spoons and cups. Not because I don't cook from scratch, but just because I have a concept of what those measurements look like in my hand. I realize precision measuring is important for baking, but being limited on what grains I can eat, I don't do a lot of traditional baking and don't have to worry about baking and being that exact.

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  32. What a delicious dessert. Tomorrow I will prepare like this.

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  33. My Rada Vegetable Peeler. Oh. My. Gosh. It is the best peeler I have ever used. I have a mesh strainer I use at least 4 times a week; it doubles a a flour sifter, colander, and strainer of liquids.

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  34. My grandmothers old cast iron pans, my big metal mixing bowl, a good rubber spatula, and my whisks(1 small, 1 large). My family bought the little whisk for me for christmas as a joke. It is great on mixing items in a pyrex 2 cup measure. I also have my grandmothers pressure canner. It's 72 years old and still going strong.

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  35. Looking through the list you folks have posted....I have soo many favorites! Rada peeler, cast iron dutch oven, wisks, you name it. And I do have a pastry blender....that's all I ever used. I do really enjoy my Rapala knives -- yup the hunting/fishing ones. They do a wonderful job for me. I have three sizes. (http://www.amazon.com/Rapala6-Fillet-Single-Sharpener-Sheath/dp/B001NXC89O/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1368709437&sr=8-9&keywords=Rapala+knife)

    Probably my latest edition is a manual egg beater. Eh, its okay.

    I received a stick blender many, many years ago as a Christmas gift and never took it out of the box. I was going to attempt soap making and thought I should haul it out for that. Haven't gotten to the soap, but it IS a handy little electric gadget. If it broke tomorrow, I wouldn't spend the money to replace it.

    You're right we've bred the ability to scratch cook out of our children. Grandma used to make pies - crust and filling from scratch. My mother would use refrigerated pie crusts and canned filling. My generation (not me!) buys frozen to bake. And today's clan just goes to the bakery section to get one all baked. Its just too much work to turn on an oven anymore. Geesh!

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  36. A large cast iron skillet (preferably vintage to a newer one) and a good quality chefs knife (I have Wustof brand and I love it). I really don't know if I could function well without these two tools in my kitchen!

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  37. I have many old fashioned utensils that I love and use all the time, but my new favorite is the Swing-Away can opener I bought at a local hardware store! It is mounted beside the door of my pantry, and works great! It has a handle for turning and is not tedious like my other non-electric can openers that always hurt my hand. I remember that my grandmother had one like it.

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  38. I love my Griswold cast iron skillets, griddle and muffin pan. Have to have very large stainless bowls (even use them for serving), measuring cups and spoons,wooden spoons, good chef's knife and paring knife, 9X13 baking pan, 8X8 baking pan (both pans preferably Pyrex), stainless stock pot and sauce pan,three-pronged stainless cooking fork, and tongs.

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  39. Good knives, garlic press and citrus press(of all things). I use them just about every day it seems.
    But the most important reasons for cooking from scratch at home--since I'm not a prepper--taste (I have no interest in eating out as what we eat at home tastes far better than just about anything we can buy) and nutrition. Whole, real food, without a lot of added fat, sugar and salt.

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  40. Besides all the useful basics already mentioned, my particular need was for something to mechanically grate cabbage, for coleslaw, which I love. (The extra protein in the salad when you use a grater is disgusting!) I found something called a Mouli shredder at a thrift store for seven bucks, from the 1940s or 50s, and it's an ingenious and eco-friendly tool: a rotating grater blade with a levered handle to hold food in a well against the cutter. (No more pink cabbage and nummy little chewy bits.) The other thing I use regularly and haven't seen mentioned is a cast iron muffin pan. It builds up a beautiful finish with use so that you don't need paper cups, the muffins just fall out -- and it bakes incomparable muffins. I won't even bake in a pinch with a metal muffin tin any more. Also I'm of one mind with the person who bought a hand-crank meat-grinder. I found a really old one in a junk store for fifteen bucks, to use not so much for grinding meat, as because it had a 'peanut butter' blade included. Eureka! I didn't want to buy an oil press because they're so expensive (and hard to clean), but I want to be capable of self-sufficiency should that necessity be realized -- so a 'peanut butter' blade can easily double for a sunflower seed mill, so that I can make cooking oil, fresh, as I need it, which I don't use a lot of anyway. Even if social order doesn't break down, which I earnestly hope it doesn't, while preparing for the time it does, this is just a way of life I prefer.

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  41. Cast iron pans and pots, rada knives especially the tomato knife and my marble cutting board used for baking purposes only. Here is a different use for your pastry blender, deviled eggs. We like a little texture so I always used a fork and did not mash the yolks up very fine. Then one day I got the idea to use my pastry blender and it worked perfect, just the right consistency for us and it was easier on my hands than a fork.

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  42. I am 62 and grew up with a mom and grandmothers who cooked everything from scratch. The only thing I remember them buying at the store was jelly -which served a dual purpose -jelly jars for drinking iced tea. I have always cooked from scratch as well, although I sometimes buy packaged foods.

    My daughter-in-law to be is not a cook at all, and her idea of dinner is a pre-packaged meal or a bowl of cereal on the run. ARGHG! Hoping she will learn by my example as she loves to come to our house for dinner. Don't want my son and future grandchildren not to eat well and healthily!

    Tricks of the trade: Cast iron and enamel-covered cast iron Dutch ovens and all my mother's colorful and useful Pyrex mixing/serving bowls.






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  43. Cast iron something. We have both regular cast iron, and some enameled Le Creuset pots/skillets/braisers. I like kitchen/cooking stuff - in fact an LC pot was one of my Christmas gifts this year. Cast iron can go from stovetop to the oven (just need to be careful with or replace bakelite knobs), to even fire.

    A good, hefty mixing bowl is also a must. If they're not weighted right (like no outer lip at the edge if that makes sense), it's not near as easy/fun to mix things up. I've got one particular stoneware bowl I use all the time, and then my variety of stainless mixing bowls that have been through the wringer. At 11 years old they're starting to be all full of character with dents here and there, adds to their charm.

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  44. My Griswold frying pans and Dutch ovens. Those pans not only fry, I bake pies and biscuits in them and the Dutch ovens are used to bake my rolls. One of the Dutch ovens has a trivet in it that I also use as a bacon press. I love to fill my largest oven up with a hearty stew. My brother gave them all to me, along with a fabulous set of knives. I have an All Clad stainless pot for boiling and such, also a gift from brother, and I have the use of his largest pots (he's a good neighbor!) because I can store them easier than he can in his small kitchen.

    sidetracksusie

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  45. Other people have said it, I'll just add my voice in support. Good knives, and a way to keep them sharp.

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  46. Wooden spoons, cast iron skillets, dutch ovens that can hang over the fire, and a couple of good whisks. I also purchased a Pampered Chef utensil for "chopping" ground beef in the skillet while browning. I use this tool all the time when browning ground beef, sausage or turkey. I don't know what it's called but it's awesome!

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  47. The first purchase my wife and I amde together was a stainless steel colander 22 years ago. It gets used almost every day for everything; from pasta, strawberries, and draining hamburger to lettuce. It still looks new today. So don't buy cheap junk, spend a little more and get quality that lasts a lifetime.

    I must confess a weakness for kitchen gadgets, and my guilty pleasure is a garlic press, as I hate to clean and mince garlic by hand. My wifes favorite is her marble mortar and pestle I bought her as a birthday gift years ago. Nothing beats gringing your spices fresh.

    Joe

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  48. I restarted housekeeping last year. I brought a stock pot with lid, a cast iron skillet and mixing bowls with me. The first things I bought were measuring cups and spoons,large and small cookie sheets, 9x13 metal pan, whisk, mixing spoons and spatulas, chef knives, 2 & 3 qt saucepans with lids, cake and pie tins,and that pastry blender. I've always used one to make biscuits and it works great. Even at Wal-Mart they're only 3 dollars.

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  49. I could live without a lot of things... but I'm learning to use weight instead of volume for baking recipes, so a balance with a graduated bottle for water volume as the weight might be useful.

    I also learned to bake with gem-shaped measuring spoons, so I can come close by comparing hand-measurements.

    I'm jealous of your pastry mixer. Mine is cheap and bends to the point of unconsciously using the bowl to re-bend it.

    Without my pasta roller, I would give up on rolled doughs, especially trying my own pasta. Spatzle is a pressed pasta, and I have yet to determine if I can do that. Orzo and Gnocchi, I've done gnocchi.

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  50. I could live without a lot of things... but I'm learning to use weight instead of volume for baking recipes, so a balance with a graduated bottle for water volume as the weight might be useful.

    I also learned to bake with gem-shaped measuring spoons, so I can come close by comparing hand-measurements.

    I'm jealous of your pastry mixer. Mine is cheap and bends to the point of unconsciously using the bowl to re-bend it.

    Without my pasta roller, I would give up on rolled doughs, especially trying my own pasta. Spatzle is a pressed pasta, and I have yet to determine if I can do that. Orzo and Gnocchi, I've done gnocchi.

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  51. I had the opportunity to participate in a "modern" traditional holiday dinner at an in-laws and what I've done for years. Starting at the store, I went around the outer edge getting produce, dairy product, meat, and a few things from the baking isle (flour and canned pumpkin as the sugar pumpkins we only good for decorations. I watched my in law and other middle aged women in "power suits" (she was my ride) combing up and down the isles getting canned pumpkin pie MIX and refrigerated pie dough so they could make a "scratch pie", boxes of "seasoned bread cubes" and other canned or pre-made stuff for the homemade stuffing. Pre-seasoned hams and turkeys with plastic timers were other "time saving" things in carts for home made family dinners. For the same amount of people, she spent 3 times as much time in the store and 5 times the money than I getting through the crowds in a manual wheelchair.
    When I got to her house on Thursday, the kitchen was piled with packaged stuff, she'd been in the kitchen for hours (and sent people to the store for poultry seasoning and canned whipped cream0 frantic with all the things she needed to do with all the packaging to open and dispose for this homemade dinner for 12.
    The next day, she joined my clan at my house, remarking on the terrific smell of the cranberries, and pies just coming off the stove. The rolls were rising, the turkey heading in the oven, and people casually peeling the potatoes and vegi's as we drank coffee. The giblets stock simmered on the back of the stove, vegi's were prepped for their final cooking. Everyone was relaxed and the kitchen was clean. An hour before the bird was finished, the stock was strained and set to reduce, rolls were set to proof, and the stock pot of potatoes set to boil. Once the turkey leg wiggled freely (ie done) it came out, covered with a towel, and the pan deglazed so the juices could be added to the stock. The rolls went in, and the vegi's as they finished cooking went right in with them to stay warm. Kids mashed the mountain of potatoes, while I made the roux based gravy, and the oven's contents went out to the table.
    She was amazed at how much easier it was for me to make a dinner for 16 in a wheelchair from scratch ending with just a few pots to clean verses her 6 hour stress festival ending with a destroyed kitchen and almost all of the food room temperature when dinner was served.
    People ate "politely" at her's and with gusto at mine. My house smelled like the holidays, and people were relaxed. At her's the tension could be cut with a knife. These are her words before she asked me how I did it, without all the conveniences of a modern kitchen. Good tools and real food make a good dinner, so now I'm teaching her how to do this for Christmas, from the shopping through the clean up, just as my mother and grands taught me and I have taught my kids.
    BTW, my adolescent kids are teaching their friends how to cook since many don't have the skills to even make boxed mac and cheese.

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  52. Finally I have found something which helped me.Appreciate it!
    kitchen equipment

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  53. Finally I have found something which helped me.Appreciate it!
    kitchen equipment

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  54. I love my Griswold cast iron skillets, griddle and muffin pan. Have to have very large stainless bowls (even use them for serving), measuring cups and spoons,wooden spoons, good chef's knife and paring knife, 9X13 baking pan, 8X8 baking pan (both pans preferably Pyrex), stainless stock pot and sauce pan,three-pronged stainless cooking fork, and tongs.
    Charlotte
    http://thekitchen.site/

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