Step into any kitchen across the country, from that of a professional chef to the modest surroundings in a bachelor’s studio apartment, and you’ll likely find some sort of cool gadget. We do so love our kitchen doodads. And with so many interesting devices at our disposal, how do you choose the ones that are essential? A lot depends on your specific needs. However, there are at least five great gadgets that no kitchen should be without.
You may not know it by name, but you’ll surely know it by sight. A microplane is that handy dandy handheld grater that we should all wonder how we ever lived without before its invention. Thanks to the Microplane Company, novice cooks and professional chefs alike can wield a more streamlined grater with far greater control than their larger, bulkier conventional counterparts. Microplanes come in a range of sizes that do everything from zesting an orange to grinding fresh nutmeg to grating hard cheeses. Any well-equipped kitchen would be incomplete without one.
At some point in the life of your kitchen, you’re going to cut or chop some food item by hand. After you’ve finished, maybe you’ll want to fold over the cutting board to minimize spillage and take your bounty from countertop to stovetop. You can’t do that with a traditional wooden cutting board because it isn’t pliable, but this feat can easily be achieved with a flexible cutting board.
Norpro makes dishwasher safe icon/color coded bendable boards (one for fruits/veggies, another for poultry or seafood and a third for meats) so you can drop ingredients directly into those waiting pots.
Speaking of chopping, in the world of food prep a chef’s knife is an essential utility tool for the kitchen. Whether you choose a knife with a ceramic blade, the hard metal of high-carbon stainless steel, ordinary carbon steel or a laminate, a good chef’s knife will set you back a few bucks. However, in the long run, what you buy now will pay off well into the future.
When it comes to getting an accurate and safe internal cooking temperature of meat and poultry, a meat thermometer is your best friend in the kitchen. Meat thermometers come in instant-read and oven safe leave-in versions, digital or analog, and adjustable target temperatures and presets.
For the budget conscious, the Polder All-In-One Timer/Thermometer offers the ease of digital readout, a pre-settable range up to 392 degrees and a long probe to get to the heart of those large chunks of meat.
Let’s face it: at times, even the best of us turn into lazy slugs in the kitchen who are loathe to do anything more than open a can of anything, pop it into a sauce can and—viola! —lunch is ready. As much as we may not like to admit it, we can’t all be Martha Stewart. On those days when the need for a simple meal outweighs your culinary prowess in the kitchen reach for a can opener and open something.
Whether you choose a manual or an electric opener, free-standing or under cabinet mounted, there’s always a need for one.
With so many different varieties on the market and color coordinated models to match your kitchen décor to choose from, half the fun is figuring out which one to buy! Just make sure you have at least one. And if that one is electric, make sure you have a manual one for back-up…just in case there’s a power outage and you’re in dire need of a can of soup.
What are some of the must-have gadgets in your kitchen?