Please recommend your cooking utensils
I've decided to give my toddler all my kitchenaid silicone cooking utensils and my el cheapo wooden spoons and turners to use in his mini kitchen.
I'd like to start a collection of wooden utensils along with some stainless ones. I'm going for something that will *hopefully* last many years.
What are the essentials in your kitchen? Any brand suggestions?
My almost daily go-to tools are:
LamsonSharp Slotted Turner
Oxo Good Grips Tongs
Weekly tools are:
An olive wood spoon and spatula, a range of miscellaneous stainless steel utensils, and several cuisipro silicone spoons.
For me, those expensive tongs are too bulky and stiff. I go to the restaurant supply house and buy the inexpensive ones so I can have a half dozen available--and I've added a couple of the long ones for very hot situations with wide pans. When I worked at a kitchen store we carried some wonderful olive wood utensils that run $10+ each. They had a very nice feel and looked good.
If you have a restaurant supply, you might want to check that out. I have some utensils by Vollrath I like. Most of the utensils they have are very usable and designed to take a beating. There are online suppliers if you don,t have one near you.
My favorite utensils are ones I've collected over the years some from other cooks like my grandmother and MIL and some from antique malls and thrift shops. I have my grandmother's (a wedding present) spatula that is flexible and paper thin and 90 years old. I have seen them for sale periodically. I like the smaller handles on older utensils and they are usually pretty well made. If I buy them, I usually make sure they are stainless steel, nothing with any rust or painted handles. I like some of the old EKCO tools. Look for "usa" on the utensil.
Another place to look is TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning and the like. Oxo is usually pretty good.
I also like to go to ethnic groceries/stores, baking supply houses and maybe even the hardware store.
I send to like anything made by Pedrini. Its vegetable peelers are especially good. I've picked up a few other pieces over the years and they all work wonderfully and never die. You can occasionally find them for a deep discount at Ross Dress for Less, and amazon.com carries many of them.
I like olive wood and bamboo for most utensils. I don't know any brands, really, but they should feel solid and sturday in your hands. I too use tongs frequently. they have to have a spring and I like the ones with teflon/silicon/something like that tips.
other utensils: peeler from OXO, needle nose pliers (also with spring) from hardware store (to remove pin bones from fish), olive spoon (sounds dumb but having a spoon that will fit in jars and then drain is very handy), turners--both metal and plastic/teflon/whatever for some pans. a wooden reamer. high heat spatulas--silicone.
If you use non stick pans your tools will be different from tools used with metal pans. I use hand made wooden spatulas with the non stick pans I use. I use cheap metal tongs I found at Home Goods for almost everything else. I have 2 pairs of tongs, and 2 spatulas. I also have a hand made wooden spoon that is far better than the average shallow spoon you normally find. For the handmade stuff, visit craft fairs or stores specializing in hand made goods. You will have to keep your eyes open to find it, in other words.
I've replaced my whisks over time. My son gave me a small whisk with an egg shaped handle that I use constantly, and I just bought a larger whisk with a nice handle on sale. It is OXO, I think. It is very nice.
I also received as gifts two metal flipper type spatulas that I use fairly frequently. These came from W-S. The large one is good if you make cookies, or retrieve single servings from a small oven.
Be sure to pay attention to whether the tool can be dishwashed!
Wooden spatulas and spoons, I prefer olive wood made in Italy or France. They hold up nicely and look fantastic. For stainless spoons and pasta scoops I like the Rosle but only the ones with the flat handles are made in Germany. I also like their garlic press, as it's extremely easy to clean.
I don't remember the brand on the tongs I bought recently, but they have a gadget on the hinge end that keeps them open or closed, much better than the cheap stuff with the link like lock that slides up and down even when you don't want it to.
Easy to clean is high up on my priority list for utensil features. Having hooks or loops on the handles for easy hanging is also desireable. I have a small kitchen, no dishwasher and hang lots of things to dry or to keep them ready to hand.
Ditto the olive wood spoons and turners made in France. WS carries some that feel very nice, at least to my hands. Not soaking them in water, keeping them oiled (I just use mineral oil), and they will keep looking as nice as they feel for a long time.
I find myself frequently using Le Creuset silicone scrapers with wooden handles for stirring most things that don't involve boiling water. I pull off the silicone part for cleaning.
WS also has stainless-handled utensils with silicone ends that I think may be identical to Tovolo brand products. The wide slotted turner (comes in red) is, I think, outstanding.
I also like the way the Rosle tongs look and work; I have a Norpro version of essentially the same design.
A set of Norpro silicone and stainless brushes of varying sizes for bread making, basting, painting hot sauce onto wings, again great looks, feel and function.
A skimmer and a slotted spoon, silicone coated roux and balloon whisks round out the list of my most frequently used utensils. Unless you intended to include cutting implements in the category of "utensils"....
For me, tongs are an important tool, and for me and mine, there's nothing like the Rosle tongs. Close pointing down, and they unlock, close pointing up, and they lock. Reliable. Strong. Easy to clean. Top notch, and worth the price.
old thread - but good tongs are hard to find - and some designs are seriously older than this thread and still work better than some of the 'modern' designs. had and tossed spring loaded, locking, siliconized grips, etc.
these we got for a wedding gift almost 50 years ago; still in use; bought another 3 pair. stainless, no springs, no gook holding corners, do daily dishwasher trips, etc.
the WMF stuff can be hard to find - haven't needed any more in the last 20 years; was surprised the above link turned up so quick.
for wooden utensils, this is my go to guy:
made in USA, black cherry, mineral oil finish / care - not inexpensive but his designs are absolutely superb. the angles, in all three dimensions, are "right" meaning working with them is easy, intuitive and a non-effort thing. most of his stuff is available in left/right handed versions. no relationships - just a happy customer.
My most-used utensil is a melamine spoon with a gently squared-off, blunt end. Melamine utensils are no longer recommended in combination with high heat, and I'd ditch it if I were a lot younger or were in a household with children. But as it is, I love its versatility, ease of cleaning, and impermeability. I have a wooden version (olive wood) whose blunt end is even more spatula-like; excellent for making pan sauces.
Stainless tongs are indispensible. Mine are fairly cheap, from a kitchen supply store, and seem as if they'll go on forever. They lock by pulling a ring at the base, and can be unlocked with one hand (press the ring against your hip, or any convenient surface). I'd be constantly accidentally locking the kind that lock with a flipping latch.
Other tools that are extremely handy and that I just love to use because they're so solidly made: Cuisipro silicone spoonula with metal handle, WMF all-stainless 'spider' strainer, and an all-stainless whisk that's sealed where the wires meet the handle, for ease of cleaning.
And a Lamson-Sharp slotted fish turner (see snax's nearby post) -- nothing better for hash browns, frying tofu, fritters, and even the occasional piece of fish.
A small ice cream scoop useful also for portioning cookie dough.
Danish whisk for batters and doughs.
Large strainer for stock.
Multiple sets of measuring spoons and cups and Pyrex liquid measuring cups.
Plastic cutting sheets for chopping and moving stuff around.
Full size salad spinner.