What's Your Favorite Specialized Kitchen Utensil?

| 6/17/2009 11:17:13 AM

Tags: kitchen tools, equipment, tools, cooking, question to readers,

kitchen utensils

Most good cooks rely heavily on a decent chef's knife and a few basic spoons and spatulas. But do you have other specialized kitchen utensils whose absence in your kitchen would incite serious depression? Yea! We want to know about them.

Please post a short report about your favorite kitchen utensils in the comments section below. And if you happen to know a great retail source for obtaining them, do tell.


3/30/2011 6:52:32 PM

I absolutely love my fruit reamer. It is an easy hand tool that I place in mt kitchen tool bucket on the counter. I love it because it is simple, easy to clean and doesn't take up a lot of space. There are mad in a variety of materials but, mine is stainless steal.

3/30/2011 11:27:57 AM

my pampered chef micro plane, mandolin and garlic press and my baking stones...

12/19/2010 1:22:56 PM

I love my submersible blender from Cuisinart. I like to make vegetable soups and the blender works great on my tomato, carrot, or split pea soups. It also has a chopping attachment that I use to chop nuts.

betty charette
12/10/2010 1:12:09 PM

I absolutely love my ulu!......my cast iron pots and pans, my food mill, my pasta maker and my dim sum makers.

5/12/2010 10:46:39 AM

I would have to say my knives. They were my Grandfathers and they really hold an edge. I cant stand a dull knife. Second would be my cast iron, take anywhere cook anything!

8/23/2009 4:43:33 PM

Scissors! All sizes - use them all the time. Have at least a dozen pair hanging from hooks on the wall.

8/23/2009 3:02:48 PM

Scissors! All sizes - use them all the time. Have at least a dozen pair hanging from hooks on the wall.

7/27/2009 1:31:10 PM

I too love my microplane- use it multiple times a day. I also love my 5" Henckels Professional S Santoku knife- use it many times daily as well.

janet diehl
7/22/2009 7:26:25 PM

Alexia: I wonder if your 3" x 3" spoon with holes in it and 4 legs on the bottom is for picking up pasta from a hot pot of water. A twist of the wrist and long pasta would hook over the "legs" and the water would drain quickly through the holes in the spoon. Have you looked through Lehmans catalog?

janet diehl
7/22/2009 7:08:03 PM

My favorite kitchen tool is a unique tong that was my Grandma's, but mine for the past 35 years. It is a single piece of aluminium that is bent in the middle into a "hairpin" curve; not folded. This bend is maintained by a ring, like a big key ring. When the ring is slid towards the bend, the two ends sping apart; when the ring is slid towards the toothed ends, it closes. It is held in the palm of the hand, and is very easy to use. Also, before bending the curve, all the edges of the piece of aluminium have been slightly curved - so when it is in the palm of your hand it feels smooth, not sharp. The two "picking-up" ends are slighty rounded, rather than being blunt and have teeth cut out. I dread the day when it breaks; I've never seen another tong like my Grandma's. It is soooo useful and easy to clean. One can pick up very small pieces or large pieces with out having to put strain on your fingers.

7/18/2009 12:48:55 AM

response to the favorite kitchen utensil: my wooden spoon, used for just about all cooking, including stirring jam and jelly

lanita knight
7/17/2009 4:30:01 PM

My favoritie kitchen utensil is by far the Muli Juilienne (sorry if the spelling is wrong!) that my grandmother bought for me in the early 1980's. Store bought shredded cheeses can't compare with the taste of fresh. This also slices and has three blades to shred different sizes.

lindsey blonder
7/16/2009 12:51:00 PM

100% micro plane grater/zester. We use this at least a few time per week--zesting citrus--shaving parmesan or other hard cheeses--grating fresh nutmeg or ginger or garlic--and on and on.

emily gaiser
7/14/2009 3:45:48 PM

My favorite kitchen tool is my double-ended spatula. It's not designed like other silicone spatulas with a separate handle stuck in a silicone paddle. I've found that those allow mildew and bacteria to grow up inside. This is a link to a local shop's site where I buy my Chef'n SwitchIt: Eggshells Kitchen Co.: http://www.eggshellskitchencompany.com/switchit.html Emily Gaiser

7/5/2009 12:46:05 PM

I have several favorite utensils, but the one I use every day, for many tasks, is the inexpensive santoku knife I bought at Wally World for around $10 2 yrs ago. It's all stainless, molded in one piece. I cut up meat, veggies, slice bread with it, anything! I use a paring knife when needed for smaller stuff, but that's all. It sharpens easily on my steel.

sam george
7/1/2009 8:28:56 PM

The kitchen accessory that I use the most is my dish drainer. I do not use the dish washer and I hand wash all my dishes as I do my cooking. I have a fully stainless steel, self-draining dish drainer from Zojila that sits next to my kitchen sink and automatically and continuously drains water to the sink. As dishes dry I put them away. This drainer does not collect water and is raised on legs above the counter to clear the lip of the sink. It is very stylish and is then one thing in my kitchen that attracts notice and gets the most favorable comments. It is built really well and will last me a lifetime. It rarely needs cleaning and when it does, it is a breeze to clean up since the stainless steel drain board does not stain or rust or build mildew or mold. I just could not live without it. You can find this item at www.zojila.com

6/29/2009 8:39:28 PM

Call me a simpelton, but my tongs are about the most used and needed tool in my kitchen. Showing obvious signs of ware, I use them when I fry, when I cook meat and don't want to puncture the meat. They rock.

6/29/2009 4:09:28 PM

I don't know what I would do without my pastry blender. It's not just any blender either, after buying two through local grocery outlets I finally set out to find the perfect one at an antique store. The one I formerly owned belonged to my great-grandmother, and then my grandmother. Maybe it was just a sentimental thing but when I found myself without it I cooking just wasn't the same. Nowadays they are not made to last. Luckily the antique store had just what I was looking for and for less than the two I had bought. Even though its not my great-grandmother's it still was cherished and used and now is passed down to me.

john m_2
6/29/2009 2:51:14 AM

I use my scraper more than any other tool. I made my 5’ X5” from a scrap piece of Stainless steel kitchen counter top left over from a construction site dump. The handle was a piece of hard Maple shaped from a downed windblown tree. I drilled and riveted two holes to bind them together. The top & bottom edges are left flat while I beat a ¼” lip onto the sides using my 4" vice. I use it to cutup my veggies, carry items from the cutting boards, and Scrap clean my wooden table and cutting boards after washing & bleaching them following butchering meat and /or working with Fowl or fish.

jared dubach
6/27/2009 3:24:31 PM

I think they meant hand-held utensils, not your favorite electric kitchen appliance. Mine's a toss-up between the good ol' cleaver and the Jaccard meat tenderizer.

6/27/2009 12:05:58 PM


laurie grelle
6/27/2009 8:30:05 AM

I would have to say it is a toss-up (no pun intended) between my Oster Kitchen Center, my pewter garlic press, both of which I have had for over 21 years, and my salad spinner. I use all of these almost daily and would be lost without them!

laurie grelle
6/27/2009 8:26:30 AM

Mine is a toss-up between the Oster Kitchen Center that I have had for 21 years and my pewter garlic press, whick I have had for about 24 years. I use both almost daily and would be lost without them!

david grubba
6/26/2009 8:23:48 PM

WAIT! This is not even a tool, but it is important enough to be considered one: MAKOTO GINGER DRESSING!!! It has a picture of an angry samurai on the bottle, and can be used on any and all foods in the entire world.

david grubba
6/26/2009 8:21:15 PM

Ah! My stepmum has an Oster Kitchen Center! That thing is the kitchen appliance of the immortals! I am a bit more minimalist in the kitchen, though. There would be a fierce battle between my tea strainer and my mortar and pestle to determine the most needed specialized tool. I guess the mortar and pestle has more uses, but the strainer is one of humanity's greatest inventions...

6/26/2009 11:00:11 AM

I love my mini food processor! I have a hard time cooking for 1 or 2 people..usually end up cooking for about 5 or 6! Since I have been using my smaller food processor..I have found that my meal sizes are more appropriate. I love it and would not trade it for anything!

6/25/2009 9:15:05 PM

My grandmother's peeler, which I used till the blade wore through. I found one that was supposed to be like it, but it broke in about a month. I am checking every auction and antique bin to find another like hers.

barbara pleasant_3
6/25/2009 7:41:57 PM

Great list! I want to add my good old potato masher with a wood handle. I use it to mash fruit in jam making, for doing a partial puree in potato or bean soups, and of course for mashing potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots...

aggie janicot
6/25/2009 7:28:44 PM

Oster Kitchen Center, made back in the 80's. It has a blender attachment, mixer, bread dough hooks, sausage maker, food processor etc. I got mine in 1989 for my high school graduation, have used it every week since. You can get them used in good condition from eBay for way less than a Kitchen Aid. Aggie

6/24/2009 3:20:02 PM

My salad spinner...and my zester. They both do only and exactly what they're supposed to do.

earlene williams_2
6/24/2009 7:56:02 AM

My favorite kitchen utensil(appliance) is my rice cooker. Look at all the choices on Amazon. You can make whole meals in these things in just 20 minutes. They come in all sizes, up to ten cups. My three grown children live with me (it's the economy . .) We use the rice cooker for lunch every day. I keep several bottled Asian sauces in the fridge: hoi-sin, garlic black bean, Hunan, etc. as well as sesame seeds, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Most supermarkets carry these things now, but try on line, especially for the sesame seeds, which can be expensive if bought at the spice display in the store. Keep a small supply of sliced meat or seafood in the freezer (eggs are also good) and tofu in the fridge. Keep a frozen supply of chopped onion and celery as well. Measure out the rice according to need and place it in the cooker and add the water. Put your frozen sliced meat, onion, celery, or whatever in the steamer tray on top of the rice. Press the cook button. The cooker shuts itself off in about 15 or 20 minutes. Mix the steamed food in with the rice, adding a little Asian sauce of your choice. Top with sesame seeds, flaked seaweed, ground pepper, etc. and soy sauce to taste. There are many other rice cooker recipes on line such as arroz con pollo, curries, etc.

6/23/2009 9:47:56 PM

I would like to describe something I purchased at a rummage sale and see if anyone knows what it is. It has a 3"wide X 3"length spoon with holes in the botton. Attached to the bottom of the spoon are four little legs. There is a handle made of thick wire. I thought it would be okay for poaching eggs ... duh ... the white ran right through. Thoughts?

sharon ilg
6/23/2009 7:59:36 PM

Favorite tool is my Kitchen aid.. after that is my castiron pans to my stoneware baking pans..

6/22/2009 6:05:51 PM

I reallt like my bamboo utensils and cutting board( not bad for a 47 year old man who likes to cook!

6/22/2009 8:32:42 AM

My "spider", wire basket with wooden handle...great for removing blanched veggies, quick frying, lots of uses, comes in various sizes and very reasonably priced.

6/22/2009 7:05:01 AM

I love my jar lifter. I only use it a few times a year when I am canning. After searching long and hard to find one that is just right, I look forward to using it every year.

6/21/2009 5:16:47 PM

My favorite and most needed tool is a wooden spoon that belonged to my mother, that I learned to make bread with nearly 40 years ago. It is dinged, nicked and worn smooth, but if I don't use it, the bread never comes out well.

6/21/2009 3:40:18 PM

I would have to say my zester, and my lime press...I love fresh limeaid in the summer and the press gets every drop of juice out!

debbie _1
6/21/2009 7:49:01 AM

I would have to say the micro plane grater. I use it for zesting citrus. It can also be used on garlic and whole spice.

6/20/2009 2:39:13 PM

My yogurt maker! I had such a hard time with the oven incubation, finally had to give in and get myself an electric maker. Now I never waste the milk. I also couldn't live without a blender for smoothies, pesto, salsa...

6/19/2009 10:56:55 PM

I love my presure cooker too. Beef stew made in the pressure coooker is the best! I also love my newest gadget, a cherry pitter. My two kids and I love cherries and it makes eating them quick, easy and mess free.

6/19/2009 9:15:41 PM

My pastry blender is my favorite all-purpose tool. I use it several times each week to make biscuits, crusts, and muffins--and then it also cuts stick butter into pats, chops mushrooms, blends cream cheese, slices bananas and eggs, etc. I've owned this one for 30+ years.

valerie sims
6/19/2009 6:29:15 PM

I second the pressure cooker vote. Potatoes are great, and I prepare beans, many different grains, tempeh, seitan, and bread.

6/19/2009 3:16:36 PM

I have to say my garlic press. I love to cook and use it almost everyday. The other day I was just wondering how I lived without one for so long before...

cynthia reed_2
6/19/2009 2:55:33 PM

My favorite kitchen utensil is my mini plane grater which I use for zesting citrus fruit and the even smaller one that grates whole nutmeg. They are awesome. I make tons of citrus zest every year and add it to recipes.

6/19/2009 1:28:10 PM

I love my high carbon steel French knife - not the heavy, thick clunky German style chef's knife. The blade is superb even though it is dark and ugly and cannot be put in the dishwasher. I also love my small, sharp, steel three-tined fork (from the civil war) that my grandmother and now I use to turn bacon, test vegetables and grab heavy pieces of cooking anything. And yes, I prefer an iron skillet for many things. I also use my egg slicer from the 1950's almost daily. The only "modern" tool I would hate to do without is a microplane grater. Now those are fantastic.

michelle sines
6/19/2009 11:58:42 AM

My most favorite kitchen utensil was acquired after a search for the perfect bread knife--without paying an arm and a leg! My very own kitchen hacksaw. Works like a charm and I can cut uniform slices, slice after slice.

6/19/2009 10:44:11 AM

I love my Oxo Good Grips apple corer/slicer. Their mango splitter is also wonderful since I can never get that seed out with a knife without mangling the fruit. Their straight corer is useful for so many things, and their peeler is one of the best I've ever used.

bettina sparrowe_1
6/19/2009 9:09:15 AM

Apple corer for tomatoes. I use tons of tomatoes and using the corer makes the job much easier.

6/18/2009 10:03:04 AM

I couldn't live without my four quart pressure cooker! potatoes in less than 10 minutes!

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