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8 cheap, indispensable kitchen tools and how to use them


Sarah Tew / CNET

More cooking during quarantine and locking? Like you, I embrace dinner as a fulfilling activity at home . The parade of meals also shines a spotlight on the kitchen tools I already use and love: items that go beyond the more obvious wooden spoon, measuring cups and microplane.

After I sang their praises to family and friends, I thought I would share them with you. These are all products that I own and use in real life. They are inexpensive to purchase, versatile, easy to clean and easy to incorporate into your cooking routine. Here are the tools I never want to do without, and how they make my kitchen better.

Xujia via Amazon

The wide saucer-shaped bowl, the long handle and the pleasant weight make these beautiful spoons perfect for almost everything – – soup soup, curries, rice dishes, yogurt spoons, spoon everything out of every tub, actually.

My Korean friend called them "jjigae spoons" to refer to the correct utensil for eating a category of stews. In my family, they are known as & # 39; life-changing spoons & # 39; and that's how I first convinced my family to adopt them. We still call them that. For example: & # 39; Can you please set the table with the life-changing spoons? & # 39; I almost never use "regular" spoons again, unless all jjigae spoons are dirty and I don't feel like washing one.

You can buy long-handled spoons online or in many Asian markets. My personal preference is to get a set of round handles, not the thin ones with the flat ends. Prices vary, but they're not expensive anyway – say $ 16 for a pack of 5 good quality spoons.


Bench scrapers, also known as dough or dough scrapers or cutters, are usually used to pry dough from a work surface, but I use mine several times a day to scrape or lift items off my cutting board to a pan or bowl. I used the side of whatever knife I had in my hand, but this tool scoops more diced onions at once and is safer anyway.

I also used straight bench scrapers, but the offset design is much easier to slide under a pile of chopped food. It is equally adept at the intended purpose of working with bread and dough. This Tovolo bench scraper is the one I use and costs about $ 10.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

My friend bought a nice new dishwasher with built-in wine holders and gave me three purple silicone tubes that help keep your wine glasses safe in the machine. & # 39; Here you love wine, & # 39; she said. & # 39; You should use these. & # 39;

She was right. They may look messy, but they probably saved my wine glasses more than once. You fit one end with a grip around your toppled glassware (as shown) and slide the other end, a hollow tube, over a pin on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. A thread that runs two-thirds the length of the attachment stock structure.

If a glass feels extra shaky in the middle of the bottom rack, I have been known to snap two of these silicone holders on for extra stability, one on each side. I hand washed my wine glasses and still managed to break one here or there. Not anymore. It costs about $ 12 for a set of eight. I put them in the dishwasher every week for almost two years.

Lifver Home via Amazon

Small bowls are hardly interesting or new, and I have plenty, especially fluted and ribbed ramekins. But these beautiful dip bowls, especially this design, have made cooking and serving food a pleasure. I just love them. They are convenient enough for daily preparation and beautiful enough to serve.

You can accumulate a surprising amount of food, such as lemon zest, wasabi or even grated cheese. They cost $ 18 for a set of eight 3-ounce bowls.

How to use them:

  • Spoon support
  • Used tea bag holder
  • Salt pig
  • Egg holder
  • Cooking bowl for ingredients such as garlic, shallots, ginger
  • Prepare bowl for mixing spices (the mix flows very easily into the pan, without being stuck in creases)
  • Garnish server
  • Server for individual desserts, such as chocolate squares, a brownie or a small scoop of ice cream
  • Sugar packet for coffee or tea after dinner [19659021] Clerk (especially if you're working on slimy or sticky food)

Lodge via Amazon

I never heard of a pan or pot scraper until my colleague Rich Brown sang his praises. I have an extensive and finely tuned method for steaming and scraping stuck crud from pots, pans and baking tins. But I got a lot of time back when I started using this $ 5 tool – or $ 8 for two.

It fits in the palm of your hand and easily scrapes away gunk with its flat and curved edges, which also reach better in corners. Still expect a little sponge, but usually to wipe away any loose and leftover stuff. I was amazed at how my Lodge pot scraper erases the scum that builds up in a ring around the pan, say the remains of diminished marinara.

It cuts through residue faster and more efficiently than a hard plastic spatula and will not gobble up the scrubby side of a sponge with cheese, egg or starch. I recommend keeping it visible on your sink, near your sponges and dish soap. I initially put it in a drawer and forgot about it, but now it's top of mind.

Endurance via Amazon

I love a small saucepan for so many reasons, including baking perfectly round eggs one by one and reducing broth and sauces. Melting butter and making modest amounts of caramel or warm milk and cream are also great in a small pan, especially if you're trying to keep a small amount of liquid from evaporating too quickly.

I bought a measuring cup pan "similar to this, with a long handle, and I like it, although it is not as thick as some of my other kitchen pots. I would also like to consider a butter melting pot for butter, sauces , heating up milk and cooking some eggs, but for that I currently use a small milk froth, meant for espresso, whatever pan you get will cost between $ 15 and $ 25 tops, mine was about $ 15.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Elegantly sloping pasta, reaching for top shelf items, lemon juice, and even blinds cleaning. Costing about $ 15, a 9-inch or 12-inch silicone-tipped tongs has become a reliable kitchen companion that does much more than just browning vegetables and meat. Here are seven smart uses for kitchen tongs.

Prep Solutions via Amazon

My father endearingly called this "rubber fingers". This set of two – one with a pointed end (shown) and one that looks more like a paddle cost me $ 4 and is great for scraping, scooping, and pushing down all types of food. Think about the last bit of stickiness from the jar, or get every little bit of beaten egg from a small bowl. I still use full-size spatulas for large work bowls, pots and pans, but these nonstick minis work better than spoons or my finger and fit very well in drawer dividers. They are also machine washable.

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