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What is your most useful/best beloved non-mechanical device in your kitchen?

For me it's a tossup between my Japanese non-stick rice paddle (what a joy not to have to soak it) and my insulated coffee mug (can't drink cold/tepid coffee).

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  1. My apple corer! I like my pineapple corer, too.

    EDIT: actually, it's an apple wedger...

    ~TDQ

    1. I'm pretty impressed with my wooden lemon reamer - it's amazing what a good job such a simple, cheap instrument can do.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sivyaleah

        I just got one. How do you clean it? Just run plain water over it and dry? Thanks in advance.

        1. re: conniemcd

          Yep, that's all I do. Rinse it with hot water. I figure lemon juice itself is kind of antiseptic. I've had it for years and it still looks brand new.

        2. re: sivyaleah

          I have one too & it's true - it works great. I would never buy a different kind. I also love my microplane zester and my dough scraper.

          1. re: flourgirl

            I'll second the microplane - another one of those lowtech perfect items!

            1. re: sivyaleah

              I'll third the microplane. Once I got it, I started using it A LOT. I'm also fond of a simple plastic juicer that I got as a premium for something. Easy and quick for juicing an orange or lemon or lime or two.

        3. Funny, I was just going to post a similar question, as I've reading another thread of the "most useless kitchen gadgets":

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356586

          Mine is actually a new item I just picked up, so maybe I'm still in the honeymoon period, but it's a $5 board scraper. I never thought I'd want to use one of these, as I don't need to divide dough, and I'd just my chef's knife to pick up chopped veggies and transfer them to the pan. But after picking up countless little bits of mirepoix off the counters and floors, I'd figured I'd give this a shot.

          So far, it's awesome. Last night I chopped a bunch of chocolate for hot chocolate, and used the scraper to get it to the scale, and then the pot of milk. I know that if I used my 10" chef's to do the same, I'd have 70% cocoa everywhere.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rocknrope

            Rocknrope;

            So did you like that- Microwave Splattered Eggs Interior maker? LOL!

            Anyway, I have several. Some plastic and some metal. Several kitchen uses for those other than just dough. Although I do use mine for dumpling making at times.

            I have one that is a heavy metal, deep drawn "T" shape that I consider a handle-less meat cleaver. I would say it is one of my G-G-fathers inventions.

            -----

          2. I love my dough scraper too, for a myriad of reasons, but my favourite non-gadgety tool is my Lee Valley microplane. I use it for everything from onions to garlic to citrus zest to cheese grating, I LOVE that thing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: WineWidow

              Wine Widow, I agree with the bench knife, but I would add my digital probe, and a silicone spatula.

            2. Mine's got to be my serrated vegetable peeler. It's sharp enough to peel tomatoes straight from the yard.

                1. re: Candy

                  Like Candy, my knives are the most useful non-mechanical too in the kitchen. Without them there would be no cooking going on.

                2. I just used this last weekend, a silicone basting brush http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro... It's a breeze to clean up. Just stick it right in the dishwasher. The natural bristle ones always seem so dirty.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: vb_lady

                    I have one of those, too, and love it. The one thing I've noticed is the bristles stay wet for a long-time (like weeks), which I worry is unsantitary. I throw mine in a crock, handle down, with my other cooking utensils. Do you notice this same problem? Any ideas how to deal with it?

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: vb_lady

                      I love mine, too. I have the one from Swissmar, which has feathered bristles that do a great job of holding on to liqued and bits of solids, but also lets them go no problem. After I wash it, I just flick the business end against my finger a few time and that seems to help get the water out of it when I'm ready to put it away.

                      1. re: vb_lady

                        Sorry, but a "File 13" rating from me, but I did return mine for my money back.

                        It just doesn't pick up enough basting juices to suit me.

                        Also I used a garlic rub on my last roasted chicken. The brush seemed to retain the garlic smell.

                        -----

                      2. My knife is my top tool. I use it several times a day,every day. I have a shun santoku and a Henkel chef's knife. I also use my henkel paring knife a lot.

                        Then again, that pizza stone is a pretty close second. I got it from surfas, and just leave it in the oven. It seems to make everything come out better, as it evens out the heat and works to stop the oven from losing so much heat when I open the door.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Diana

                          I totally agree. I have the Henckel santoku and chef knives and love them.

                        2. I just thought of another one. I have 2 different sized chinese mesh strainers and I just love them.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: flourgirl

                            I'm not familiar with a chinese mesh strainer. How is that different from other kinds of mesh strainers?

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              It's got a mesh basket attached to a long heavy duty bamboo handle so it's sort of like a strainer/spoon all put together. I actually first bought one to remove boiled bagels from the water (can't say i've done that too many times since...) but i use it for lots of other things. And the basket on my big one is about 6 inches across. Very nice.

                          2. Wooden toothpicks. I keep a sake cup-full and find I use them all the time...

                            1. Well there is my Moha mandoline. It is a simple little thing sort of like a Bernriner. It really gets a work out. The new flexible cookie scoop I got last month is really good for meatballs too. My silicone universal pot lids which can form a seal on a bowl or pot and when used inverted can be spatter screens.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Candy

                                Where did you get the universal pot lids? Do you have a link? thanks...

                                1. re: fauchon

                                  Sur La Table carries them. I think you can order them on line at their website.

                              2. Lots! (& many duplicate other posters)....off the top of my head: Microplane, flat silicon whisk that pulls a sauce together in no time flat, wooden lemon reamer, various knives, silicon spatulas, old fashioned stove top espresso maker, cheap no-name white plastic strainer purchased at the supermarket, LC cookware purchased over many years, ancient Bodum press style glass tea pot which I use every AM to make my breakfast tea, black rubberized bar tray that is used almost every day for kitchen to table transportation, plastic squeeze bottle I use for oil/vinegar salad dressing...many more I know, but these are the ones that came to mind first...

                                DH, who is the kitchen's greatest enemy, stated today that he loves the cheap egg slicer that he uses to make sliced egg sandwiches, one of his few culinary accomplishments...The reason: "It doesn't give me any trouble."

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fauchon

                                  I second the Bodum teapot. I use mine at least once a day, sometimes two or three times.

                                2. Mine is somewhat of an odd choice, but my absolute favorite kitchen gadget is a little metal spatula I picked up at the supermarket one day that gets used all the time for all sorts of stuff. It breaks up stuff in the pot, works great for stirring or scraping (it even fits in tomato paste cans!) and although I'd hesitate to use it with my enameled pans, it works with just about everything else I have (I don't generally use nonstick stuff.) When I bought it, the checker actually asked what I'd ever use something like that for. It turns out to be quite a bit, actually.

                                  1. After my two favorite knives, it's got to be my Feemster slicer.

                                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product//B00...

                                    1. My grandmother's mixing bowls.

                                      1. My mushroom brush and a good old fashion fork :)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: swissfoodie

                                          You know, I was just thinking about my mushroom brush :) I don't use it for mushrooms, though--I use it for cleaning intricate cookie molds, and it has saved my sanity more than once. It's all plastic.

                                        2. My chef's knife. Whenever I'm cooking at other people's houses, I notice that most people do not take the time to care for their own knives, they may be rusted, nicked, probably never sharpened or at least steeled. That's when I wish I had brought my own knives. I can make due with whatever pots and pans other people have, but the lack of a high quality (and cared for) knife actually does show up in the end result.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: panoz

                                            Ditto. I went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and started honing her knife because it was incredibly dull. I knew it was beyond help, but I thought honing would be better than nothing. Someone walked by and commented "Is that really necessary?" Yes, it really was. I don't know how she prepped the rest of the dinner without a sharp knife. When I suggested a good place to sharpen them she said "Nah, those are just decorative."

                                            Then there's my other friend's roommate, who uses a flip-out vegetable knife for everything, including sawing meat into little pieces for cooking.

                                            1. re: panoz

                                              oh, yeah....
                                              Mother-in-law Dear's "knives" OMG

                                              1. re: toodie jane

                                                My ex-mother-in-law's knives were all old and dull. She told me once that her husband "wouldn't allow her" to have sharp knives because he was afraid she would cut herself. Every doggone time I cooked in her kitchen I cut myself with her stupid dull knives.

                                            2. My melon baller. Coring pears and apples. Taking seeds out of cucumbers for making cold soup. Scooping bagels. Deseeding large tomatoes. Just a handy little tool.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: magnolia

                                                I totally agree with the melon baller. When finally bought a new one the other day (I lost mine when I moved in Sept.) my BF asked me when the last time I balled melons was. I pointed out the myriad of other uses and told him that if he ever wants my apple pie again he will shush and let me buy whatever kitchen tools I think are neccessary.

                                                1. re: wawajb

                                                  Way to go! I also like the new silicone pastry brush, enough to buy two. I'm cleaning out my kitchen collection of stocking stuffers and weird gadgets. Other than my KitchenAid stand mixer, my blender,and my Cuisanart, the rest I am keeping are strictly low-tech. I have a Bron mandoline and scared to death of it. I get a nick on my thumb every weekend with a box grater. The clean-out continues.

                                              2. My RASP. I use it for my lemons and citrus as well as grading hard cheese's.

                                                1. It's not my most widely useful tool (that, I think, might well be the wooden spatula that is my main cooking tool), but my best beloved kitchen tool is definitely the antique pastry blender I inherited from my mom. I don't know where she originally got it - probably picked up second-hand somewhere, because as far as we've been able to date it the thing may be about 100 years old. It's the style with a narrow blade about 5 inches long and an inch or so deep (rather than the super-thin-not-quite-wire bladed type) but instead of the usual single blade for that style it has two. It's lovely to look at and feels good in my hand, and it reminds me of my mom every time I use it.

                                                  1. Kitchen shears

                                                    Citrus reamer (that nice wooden one like someone mentioned upthread; just rinse it off with hot water & let it dry)

                                                    Knife steel (cheap knives work better if you keep 'em sharp)

                                                    Potato masher (nice old one from the antique store)

                                                    Spaetzel maker (although I have two, which isn't really necessary)--love them spaetzels!

                                                    1. Various cultures have kitchen good luck items or items to repel bad spirits from your kitchen. I have my special chili ristra blessed by the Pope over my rangehood.

                                                      1. Wire whisk.

                                                        30-year-old maple cutting board.

                                                        The cheapo mandoline I got at Lechter's some 20 years ago.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Sam D

                                                          That is what I need, a maple cutting board. Maybe just a wood one would work. I hate my glass one.

                                                          1. re: Connie Bevier

                                                            I've never understood who thought to make glass cutting boards. They dull knives almost instantaneously, make a terrible noise, and are slick enough to cause all kind of accidents... or they would, if they didn't dull your knives first.

                                                            Plastic cutting boards are perfectly acceptable, if you do not have the space or the $10 to buy a wood one (I have a 12" by 18" maple board from IKEA; $12). Plastic should cost one or two bucks.

                                                            1. re: Joseph

                                                              In my honest opinion Glass is the best cutting board out there.

                                                              It is getting users to understand the main goal is to cut, slice or dice the food product. Not stand there, sawing or forcing the knifes edge into the top of some cutting board.

                                                              It is the technique that matters most, not the surface. Shoot, a single paper plate should be able to take a case of tomatoes on a rainy day.

                                                              -----

                                                              1. re: RShea78

                                                                I couldnt disagree more, my knives are plenty sharp and i would never cut with them on glass, not if i want to use them again. Eventually, when your sharp knife goes through the food, it's going to hit surface, and there's no give to a glass surface the way there is with wood or plastic. What do you think happens to your edge when you say, dice carrots or onions?

                                                        2. Toss-up between my knife and a pair of asian wooden tongs.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Sam Ottawa

                                                            I love the small pair of wooden tongs I was given as a gift. It has many uses, but is especially good for turning bacon and getting small pieces of toast out of the toaster.

                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                              What does he exactly do? And please spare us the details if too much information is required in explaining what body part is used in making the hole in the doughnuts. ;-)

                                                              -----

                                                              1. re: RShea78

                                                                LOL. He likes to cook, and cook often. And no, he doesn't make the holes in the doughnuts. I wouldn't trade him for any gadget in the kitchen!!!

                                                            2. My oven push-pull. It's got a v notch on the end so I can push hot things around in the oven and push hot oven racks in, a hook notch on the side so that I can pull hot oven racks out easily, and magnets so I can stick it on the oven or fridge door and have it handy.

                                                              After that my dear departed plastic citrus ream -- it had a the ream set in a perforated lid that snapped down on top of a 1/2 cup capacity cup with a pour spout -- no need to mess around with straining lemon juice, and it made measuring a cinch. And I could juice more then one lemon in a row! one of the parts cracked, and I've been trying to find another one for months now.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: AnnaEA

                                                                I have a stainless version of that ream but probably 1-cup capacity. It's great.

                                                              2. My hinged, spring-loaded, 12-inch stainless steel pinchers win hands down. I cook some something every day and have a use for the pinchers every time.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Bob E

                                                                  I got 6 dozen of those HD ones at a restaurant supply center to be used as Christmas presents back about 4 years ago. Each of my family members got at least 6 and would give 1 for each $5 in name drawings.

                                                                  They were a great hit for gift giving but only sis had a problem. Kids! She conceded that there was some offset to the problem as the kids entertained themselves for hours, of course eventually mangling them.

                                                                  This was the first year with a new BL and I found out he has his under lock and key. Sis has a key, of course and the other part is his rather pricy branded knife sets.

                                                                  -----

                                                                2. I would be lost without my garlic-crusher, which is powered by the strength of my grip.

                                                                  1. My heavy Chinese cleaver a friend bought for me. I use it for everything. It slices, it dices, it smashes, it stays frighteningly sharp and for some reason I can wield it easier than any other knife I own in the kitchen.

                                                                    1. Most used (spendy): My Global 7-in vegetable knife and my 3" end-cut maple chopping block

                                                                      Most used (inexpensive): Microplane zester

                                                                      Most beloved: wooden spoons that were my mom's. I use them every day.

                                                                      Most suprising: "My Favorite Spatula" That's the name of it, and damnit, it is! I bought this on a whim in the supermarket about 6 months ago, and it has become my favorite. Just the right size for lots of jobs. I handwash it just so it is always clean and ready to use.
                                                                      http://www.thekitchenoutlet.com/produ...

                                                                      1. My knives. Carbon steel Sabatiers, chef & pairing knife. By far the most used tools in the kitchen aside from an old Lodge skillet.

                                                                        1. Santoku knives, garlic press and my spoonula....of course

                                                                          1. Mrs. K. simply adores her truffle slicer, especially when she finds a way to contrive bringing it to table (fresh shavings over that pasta?) and responding to queries with “How could you have lived without one of these?”

                                                                            1. Another item in my kitchen that I would find it difficult to cook without is my timer. I use a combo probe thermometer\timer (although the probe thermometer doesn't actually get used much) for this, and with my tendency to become distracted and forget things, it's probably paid for itself several times over in terms of food not reduced to carbon.

                                                                              1. I like my kitchen shears with the orange handle. I use them only to clean chicken, before I cook it. It makes the job quick and easy.

                                                                                1. I have a little "gizmo" that clips onto the side of any pot or pan and holds a cooking spoon so it's nearby and drips back into the uncovered pot. Eliminates the need for a spoon rest when a pot cover is not needed.

                                                                                    1. my chef's knife as well. Second would be tongs, I think

                                                                                      1. I am really enjoying my new Oxo measuring cup with the measurements on the inside so you can easily look down into the cup to see them and get the correct amount straight off. I wouldn't have gotten it except my old glass one broke; but now I'm glad it did.

                                                                                        1. My wine glass which is always with me...! And my five inch Global vegetable knife. It's awesome.

                                                                                            1. A wine glass - no contest

                                                                                              1. My 14" cast iron skillet will be pried from my lukewarm, dead fingers (gotta love the heat retention). I use it for grilling and roasting everything, including whole chickens. It can take two.

                                                                                                >My oven push-pull.

                                                                                                I want one.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: daisymiller

                                                                                                  Daisymiller said "... [her] lukewarm, dead fingers (gotta love the heat retention)."

                                                                                                  Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                  My favorites: I love my moka pot, my cheapie second-hand strainer, and my bamboo cutting board. Before I had it, it never occurred to me that pleasure could be derived from a cutting board, but if you love the feel you get from using well-designed, well-made objects, it's really nice.

                                                                                                  1. re: daisymiller

                                                                                                    >My oven push-pull.-I want one.

                                                                                                    I always thought the oven push pull thingies were gimmicky until I found some hand carved Amish wooden spoons/oven push push thingy on the handle end at a local store. The wooden spoon end isn't really big, so its nice for a lot of jobs where you need a long handle but not the big spoon that usually goes with it, and having the push/pull on the other end is just so convenient. The spoon has a definite handness to it, so they had both right & left hand version. I just picked out the one that called my name- it was like it was made for my hand and feels like a perfect extension of my arm. Pretty good for a $5-6 item.

                                                                                                  2. I have this rubberized spatula that is an unusual shape and doesn't leave a molecule of food left on whatever I scrape it with.

                                                                                                    1. My microplane and the E-Z Garlic Peeler (rubber tube that you roll the garlic clove in to remove the paper husk but leaves the garlic clove whole) are two of my favorite tools. I've also got a small Progressive citrus juicer that works well, but I'm thinking sivyaleah's recommendation of a wooden lemon reamer would be easier to store and clean.

                                                                                                      1. My countertop-sized hickory cutting boards (My brother made me 2 of them -- hard as a rock) and my dough scraper.
                                                                                                        The microplane is great for zesting & small jobs, but for large quanitities of cheese I prefer a grater a friend gave me: it's basically a plastic bowl with a non-skid bottom. The grater fits on it like a lid. When you're done, there's also a real (plastic) lid for storage. I've never so much as grazed a knuckle with it.

                                                                                                        And... I never use mine any more, but I somehow can't think of a kitchen as being "properly equipped" if it doesn't have a good old-fashioned EGGBEATER. I think of it as my "eggbeater emeritus."

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: misterbrucie

                                                                                                          Assuming yours is the same one I have, that grater comes from IKEA (you get 2 of them with different type grater lids for less than $5.) It would be nice if it was just a little bit wider (then again, I have a tendency to grade my cheese straight off the big 5-pound Costco block) but even as it's a lot easier to use than a box grater.

                                                                                                        2. Besides my good knives and cutting board, I find these indispensable...

                                                                                                          --Bamboo spatula/rice paddle--I use this as a spatula, stirrer and oven-rack grabber. It
                                                                                                          doesn't hurt non-stick pots and pans, either.

                                                                                                          --As mentioned by others, my spring-loaded stainless tongs. I only have one pair--I should get more.

                                                                                                          --Stainless microplane. Lemon zest has become my favorite flavoring as a result.

                                                                                                          --Wooden citrus juicer. Irreplaceable for making luscious libations!

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Furgs

                                                                                                            I have to contradict myself. I mentioned the "irreplaceable" wooden citrus juicer...it has now been replaced with a citrus fruit juicer that looks sort of like a giant garlic press. It makes quick work of limes and lemons and has become my new fave for making the above-mentioned "luscious libations." Even my husband, who usually eschews even the old wooden citrus reamer, loves this new contraption. (One gross thing about it...it makes you fully aware of all the crappy wax that is on the rinds of lemons and limes. When you dump out the squeezed out lime half, you are left with a coating of dirty-looking wax on the inside of the squeezer. I have to use lots of hot water to remove it.)

                                                                                                          2. I bought a fine-mesh chinois on eBay recently for about $9 and it has quickly become a favorite device. More convenient than cheesecloth and more effective than a coarse strainer. If I hadn't found such a pleasant price I would not have been able to stomach it, but now that I have started using it, I would never want to go back to cruder/fussier methods of straining stock, etc.

                                                                                                            My bench scraper was also money that I have not regretted spending. Doubles as a (second-rate) knife when I don't feel like reaching into the block or don't need a very sharp edge.

                                                                                                            The thermal carafe, as mentioned, is a deceptively life-enhancing gadget, especially for as inexpensive as they've become. My morning routine is get up, put the water on to boil, grind the coffee, dump it in the French press, steep for 5 minutes (no more, no less), dump it in the stainless vacuum bottle, and enjoy at our leisure. Before or after working out, 5 seconds or 45 minutes later -- now that we have started using the carafe it never over-steeps or gets bitter. Easy to take this for granted now, but before I always had to harangue my wife to get up before the coffee got bitter.

                                                                                                            On second thought, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing ;-)

                                                                                                            1. I have a glass juicer that looks like this: http://fantes.com/images/9740juicers.jpg

                                                                                                              I love it. The ridges catch seeds and pulp (some slip through if I do more than a couple lemons or limes at once, but that's okay), the pour spout is handy, and the bowl is deep enough to hold the juice of as many fruit as I've ever needed juice from at one time.

                                                                                                              1. A small meaningless update: I finally USED MY EGGBEATER. (to mix eggs into the warm milk for bread pudding. Could have used a fork, I guess...)

                                                                                                                1. Chinese cleaver, steel tongs (many pairs), mesh strainers, silicone spatulas, and a 6-year-old son who runs to bring me a tissue as soon as he sees me getting ready to chop onions.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: 2m8ohed

                                                                                                                    Awwwwww. (And not about the tongs, either!)

                                                                                                                  2. i love the nylon tipped 12" (oxo I think) tongs with easy pull locking mechanism I got a couple of months back. I think it was $8 at Ross.

                                                                                                                      1. Lodge skillet. Locking tongs. Knife. Knife-sharpener-for-dummies (aka Chef's Choice, the electric one with 3 slots). All very good things!

                                                                                                                        1. Outside of the standard chef's knives, I would guess it is my Shun Ulu and bowl (that W-S mistakenly calls a mezzaluna- there is a difference)-
                                                                                                                          http://www.williams-sonoma.com/wsimgs...

                                                                                                                          Useful for everything from dicing veggies, processing herbs, etc... I use it a LOT

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: bullsi1911

                                                                                                                            I like a little "tong" action myself. I went through dozens of cheap food-service tongs with bendable tips (Im rough on them) before the recent discovery of the silicone tipped version. They're everywhere now - got a deal on mine at Marshall's - probably $5.99 for the 12" red ones. I use mine every day. Personal favorites in my kitchen these days are the juicer and mezzaluna from Nigella Lawson's Living Kitchen line. I use them both every day and they never get to the cabinet - they are always either in use or being washed.

                                                                                                                            I could not function in the kitchen, however, without my Cutco knives. Yes, yes, Ive had everything from Wusthoff and Henckels to Ginsu and Ex-wive's leftovers, nothing beats the big C for sharpness and customer service. Lifetime guarantee and sharpening. Earlier this year I bought a couple of pieces at a home and garden show here in Houston. The girl who sold them to me said Cutco would send her to my house to sharpen mine gratis if I needed it. I thought she was kidding, but in the mail this week was a postcard from her, reminding me.

                                                                                                                          2. It, too, is a tossup:

                                                                                                                            1) Corkscrew

                                                                                                                            2) Since I don't drink "regular" coffee at home, it would have to be my Frabosk Inox thermal demitasse cups and cappuccino cups. (I, too, can't stand tepid coffee, and this keeps the espresso or cappuccino hot.) http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home...

                                                                                                                            OTOH, a quite reasonable third selection would be my chef's knife. After all, one does not live by liquid alone. ;^

                                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                                            Jason

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                              My knives are probably my most *necessary* non-mechanical tools in my kitchen. Better than any FP I ever used (for most of the jobs I do, that is...I know some people swear by them).

                                                                                                                              But decent knives are kind of a minimum requirement in a kitchen, you know? I don't give extra points for them usually, except the ones I like best, better than my high-ticket ones, are an inexpensive 10" chef's knife made in Brazil, and some no-name jobbie I picked up at Safeway when I was young and relatively "poor". I don't know what it is about those two knives, but they sharpen up like a razor blade, and *those* I've stuck in the dishwasher for 30 years now to no ill-effect.

                                                                                                                              Other than the knives...my silicon spatulas (except for the slotted one, which gunk always gets stuck in); my Oxo handgrater, which gets used for cheese, citrus rind, nutmeg, carrots, what-have-you; and the little pour spouts that come with the bottles when I buy my EVOO from the farm-market vat nearby. I horde those babies like they were gold and stick them on every new bottle of vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, you name it, that enters this house. I put my hand dishwashing detergent in one of the olive oil bottles and put the pour top back on. Great control of whatever liquid's within and no seconds lost removing and replacing bottle caps. Little things make me happy. :-)

                                                                                                                            2. I am a spoon kind of person. I use them all the time and rarely have any clean ones. I love wooden cooking spoons of all sorts (and some for sweets, some for savories), plastic asian rice scoop/spoon, regular eating spoon...

                                                                                                                              I also love my tongs! I use them for serving pasta, grabbing corn on the cob from boiling water, frying things, you name it, I love them.

                                                                                                                              I use my cast iron griddle for all sorts of things too. It rarely gets put away.

                                                                                                                              I had an obsessive love for a crepe spatula I ran off with from my parents. I thought I couldn't cook without it, for prying baked goods out of the pan it's GREAT because it's so thin. However, it has disappeared -- I can't find it anywhere, so I've had to learn to live without it.

                                                                                                                              One I hate is the garlic press. It is impossible to clean and I haven't used on in at least 5 years. No regrets.