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Best Utensil Set Brand and Material

I am looking to pick up a new set or individual kitchen tools, such as spatula, ladle, spoon, etc. and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a brand and the material that would be most durable and versatile. I have explored stainless steel of course, and bamboo, olive, plastic and silicone coated stuff. I use stainless steel pots and pans mostly but also have a couple non-stick and cast irons stuff, so I don't want to damage those. Do you usually have a separate set for more delicate stuff or just use plastic/wood to start with.

Thanks!

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  1. roycey: Just as the existence of a net aids the game of tennis, we find clarity in purchasing decisions is aided by setting up parameters. In our case, we try to avoid the three words, "Made in China," which is more difficult than it seems at first.

    We have replaced all of our former (squeegee-type) rubber spatulas and spoonulas over the years with high temperature tolerant silicone. It has not been easy to find "Made in USA" silicone spatulas, but we can attest that it is not impossible. At least one of them is Cuisinart, the others had a brand affixed to the wooden shaft/habndle with a decal, which has long since yielded to the dishwasher's aggressive cleaning, so I cannot tell you what it was.

    We were unsuccessful, however, in finding a thin stainless (turner-type) spatula made other than in China; but that is the only implement that cane get under a fried egg on a well-seasoned Griswold cast iron griddle without pushing the egg right across the griddle, and yet have enough structural integrity not to wilt under the weight of a pork chop, say.

    Most of our spoons and our big ladles are nylon (working end) stainless (shaft) "soft grip" Pedrini (made in Italy) and have a nice angle in the shaft just before the working end; being a basically Japanese household, we also get a lot of use out of long wooden cooking chopsticks, made in Japan. We have a straining spoon that appears to be made of nylon and bears the Caphalon brand name; it says Made in USA. Of course, living and working in Portland, Oregon, every whisk in the house (save one) must be Best Manufacturing; that is essential. The one exception is a made in Germany WMF that looks like a broom with ball bearings on the end.

    One assurance: none of our stainless utensils ever has scratched cast iron, either the Griswold, or any of the enameled cast iron pans. The enamel on cast iron is very hard and scratch resistant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Politeness

      I second the difficulty finding anything other than "made in China". I looked forever for wooden spoons that were not made there. Everything at Bed Bath and Beyond is made in China. I have Cusinart metal whisk that I love. I even went back to TJMaxx and bought two more to have on hand.

      1. re: vafarmwife

        I have much success in trying to get tools that are not made in China. Most of them come from Williams Sonoma's outlet store. Took me quite a while to reach my current collection.

        I have wooden spoons from France, potato masher from Massachusetts, carving fork, stainless steel strainer, ice cream scoop from Italy, tongs from Maine.

        I can't seem to find any silicone spatulas not from China though.

        For OP: I wouldn't rush getting a whole new set all at once. It takes time to find the best from each class.

    2. I buy utensils like I buy my cookware - piece by piece. I choose design and material according to the task it's going to do. I have wood, nylon, silicone and stainless. I don't need a set of tools for the one non-stick skillet, just a spatula and maybe a wooden spoon.

      4 Replies
      1. re: BeaN

        Yes, don't limit yourself by buying everything in a set at once - it's too fun finding the next utensil that fits your style of cooking! For starters, a stainless long-handled spoon and second slotted one, wooden spoon, metal whisk, silicone spatula, wooden flat diagonal-ended spatula (see the "Roux Spoon" noted in a recent thread), and a pair of tongs should suffice. I like olive wood or bamboo for the wooden utensils. Wood is not as long-lived as plastic or stainless but I love cooking with my wooden spatula and spoon, especially in cast iron or non-stick cookware as it doesn't scratch or damage the surface.

        1. re: koigirl

          Koigirl,

          I don't know. I can imagine wood last longer than plastic -- consider plastic utensils can easily melt.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            The problem with wooden handles and gas burners is that you end up with burn rings on them. Metal handles (especially with woks and frying pans) can get very hot hot if the burner is on high.

            1. re: Paulustrious

              Yes, consider the fact that your picture is about you setting your pan on fire :) Is that a real picture, or did you create it from photoshop thing?

              I can get burn rings on my wood utensils? I didn't know that. Do you mean heating the wood tools directly with an open flame? I don't see how gas burners make a difference if I am having the wood spoon/spatula inside a pan. Why would a gas burner creates something an electric burner cannot?

              :)

      2. Hello- I like the nylon Calphalon utensils that Politeness mentioned. I found them at TJmaxx for very cheap price. I also own some stainless from WMFs. In addition like bamboo utensils better than woods. Agree that it is difficult to avoid "Made in China" and I do as much as I can as far as my budget allows.

        1. I have mixed utensils as others posted here. I have wood, stainless steel, bamboo, and silicone. different tools for different purposes.

          But I love love love my set of stainless steel untensils that consist of a big spoon, big slotted spoon and big spatula. We received them as an engagement present from a realy close friend of mine - and 18 years later I still use them every day and they still look new.

          They are labeled "Cook's Club" which I think was the house brand for Lechter's Housewares - and I'm not sure if they're in business any longer.

          But if you can find heavy duty stainless steel kitchen tools like those, you really can't go wrong.

          2 Replies
          1. re: flourgirl

            Yeah, stainless steel utensils last forever. In fact, the simplier the better. I got one with a soft rubber handle. Guess what? I lean it on a cookware and forgot to take it away. The heat from the cookware melted/engraved the rubber handle. Still functional.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I have to admit that I went back and checked those utensils and they were made in China too. But they were an important gift, I've had them for 18 years now and I really do love them.

              But I agree with people who want to avoid buying things made in China now - for all kinds of reasons. I know I do.

          2. Does anyone know where Cuisipro is made?

            I've only had good experience with thier spatulas.