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Your Favorite Inexpensive Cookware/Kitchen Tools...

The discussions on these threads:

Do you stereotype a Chef based on his/her cooking tools? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789618

Things That Call Into Question A Cook's Credibility

Cowering In Fear

sparked a lot of discussion, some of it about cookware. They also inspired some of us who consider ourselves serious cooks to defend the use of good but inexpensive tools. I personally don't own anything that's considered top of the line by those who are into owning things that are deemed "top of the line", but I do own a wide range of cookware in both price and quality.

While I think good technique can overcome less than ideal tools, I think it a jackpot when a good or even great tool comes at a surprisingly low price.

Two of my favorite inexpensive tools are:

- Kiwi knives (which have been discussed extensively on this board and range from $3 to $10
)- IKEA non-stick pans (the sturdier ones - I think they have 2 kinds)

What are your favorites?

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  1. Kuhn Rikon veg peeler $4 best veg peeler at any price

    Benriner mandolin-$30 way better than those $200 made in France pieces of crap

    3" Henckels paring knife $5 perfect size for those small jobs

    Micro- Plane zester-$14.Has made my life much easier

    11 Replies
    1. re: petek

      I love my Benriner too. 10 years old and the blades are still sharp!

      1. re: petek

        That is high for the KH peeler. I sell them at $2.99 and they are the best.

        1. re: Candy

          "That is high for the KH peeler. I sell them at $2.99 and they are the best"
          I know,that extra buck almost sent me to the poor house... :D

          1. re: petek

            From a percentage point of view, that $1 out of $3 is quiet a bit. From an absolute amount, the $1 is nothing.

            1. re: petek

              Pete, when you consider that that extra buck is a third of another one, it kind of changes your perspective...

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                Remember,I live up here in beautiful sunny Canada where everything is more expensive,not much I can do about that.

                1. re: petek

                  I had no idea that things were much more expensive in Canada. But it is a sparser place with just about the same land mass so perhaps it's all that transport cost? Or maybe tariffs to go toward healthcare? IDK. Just pulling theories outta mah butt...

                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                    "Just pulling theories outta mah butt..."
                    Nope,you pretty much hit the nail on the head.What you said plus a population of 300 mil U.S+ vs Can 30 mil+.More people=more stores=more competition=cheaper prices,but that's a whole other kettle of fish..

                    1. re: petek

                      "What you said plus a population of 300 mil U.S+ vs Can 30 mil+.More people=more stores=more competition=cheaper prices,but that's a whole other kettle of fish.."

                      I don't know about it.... If that is the case, every internaional goods in China and India must be cheaper, and they are not. It is cheaper to buy a Honda Accord in US than to buy one in China or in India. Japna while has a smaller population than US, has a much greater population density, and things are not cheaper there.

                    2. re: inaplasticcup

                      Yeah, many things are more expensive in Canada. A very good friend of mine is now a professor in Canada and she said many things are more expensive and even for her scientific equipment purchase. Why? Who knows.

          2. I buy most of my tools at places like Home Goods. I found some discounted OXO tools at Sears recently. At any rate, my tools come to me over time, and for less money than if I went out at bought them at Williams Sonoma, say.

            I have a couple sets of metal tongs that cost very little. I use them all the time. I bought a smallish pot at HG that was not expensive. I use it frequently. It is a German glass-lidded pot. I use my Lodge cast iron grill daily.

            I use 2 Pyrex handled mixing bowls all the time. I never put them into a conventional oven, but I do put them in the microwave oven. I also use some smaller Pyrex measuring cups frequently.

            I have several mise en place bowls bought cheaply at various places that I use often.

            About a decade ago I bought at the grocer, 4 large soup mugs imprinted with Campbells soup labels from long ago. For some reason I continue to like and use those mugs for lunchtime soup.

            15 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              I have found most of my tools and a lot of my bakeware, ceramic bowls & platters, etc. at places like Home Goods too - and saved a fortune on a lot of high quality stuff. It gives me a lot of pleasure to have such a well-outfitted kitchen and pantry & I purchased most of it for a fraction of the full price. That makes me even happier.

              1. re: flourgirl

                You know, I am pleased with much of what I use in my kitchen too. I keep my eyes open for deals on things I want. Right now I'd like a third set of measuring cups. I'd get rid of one set, if I could find a good metal set. But I am picky. I also need new pie pans. I need to toss 2 old Pyrex pans before Thanksgiving!

                1. re: sueatmo

                  I know exactly what you mean, I'm picky too. I'm perfectly willing to bide my time until the exact right thing comes along at the right price. It's taken me about 15 yrs to put my equipment collection together, with upgrades and replacements here and there as needed.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    I've been buying, discarding, finding and replacing since I got married in 1970. I am to the place where I finally don't have one thing I can think of that I started with. Except perhaps for one Corningware pie plate. About 12 years ago I discarded my old Farberware and began replacing it with Cuisinart, almost all of which I bought at Home Goods! Late discoveries have been cast iron.

                    I don't buy anything unless I like the way it feels in my hand.

                    Like you, I do like to get something useful at a nice price.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      I got married in 1992 and I don't still have much of what I started out with either, except a few gifts we received for our wedding and a surprise engagement party (we never registered and we had a very small wedding.) My mom took me on a little bit of a shopping spree before the wedding and I asked for a set of cast iron pans. And I'm not really sure why. I wasn't much of a cook than, I had never used cast iron - and my mother thought I was nuts. It think I vaguely remember that my husband weirdly requested them, and I say "weird" because he was even less of a cook than I was. But my mom bought me the pans (and a set of revere ware) - and in the box they stayed for like the next 12 yrs. I don't remember what finally made me break them out - but I've never looked back. I love them, & use them all the time. I'm just sorry it took me so long to get over my fear of them.

                      I long ago ditched the revere ware when I "discovered" all-clad and le creuset as I got more serious about cooking. We had an all-clad outlet in town (& we still have the le creuset outlet) so I was fortunate enough to acquire my all-clad collection at 40% off, piece by piece.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        As recently as a year ago, I still had a few pieces of my mother's Revere ware and it was a real workhorse. Good heat, indestructible. When I went induction, I "rehomed" those pieces.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I can attest. The Revere set I bought when I first moved out just refused to die. Also rehomed.

                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                            My Mom still has a couple of Revere sauce pans from early marriage, and they've been married 46 years! I haven't been able to "re-home" them yet, though.

                            1. re: arashall

                              I have been married for almost 43 years and still have my original set of Farberware pots. I couldn't afford Revere at the time. Anyway, they are almost perfect but when I researched Farberware because I needed a second set, everyone said that the new ones were far inferior and a waste of money so I just bought an Italian set in Costco which are just okay. The pots and pans at Home Goods are usually badly scratched unless you can find one that is in the original box. I do love my Calphalon skillets and wok and northing from 40+ years ago can compare with them. I even remember the days of trying to fry without teflon.

                              1. re: joelaine

                                I have to apologize. I think my first set of pans was Farberware, not revere ware. And they worked OK - but they had plastic handles that kept falling off and couldn't go in the oven. They did find a new home though.

                                Whatever the heck they were, they definitely were holding me back when I reached the point that I had fully embraced cooking as a particular passion of mine, and the all-clad peices I slowly purchased to replace them with have made me very very happy.

                                1. re: flourgirl

                                  I think it is about time I replaced those Farberware saucepans as well! I am only in my Connecticut home for about 5 months a year but it is time to get some new ones. That Italian set I bought for Florida about 7 years ago also needs to be replaced. Which Calphalon do you like best? I find all of their lines confusing and I know the ones they sell in Home Goods are the cheaper ones, but I still love them.

                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                    My Farberware was made better than that! The handles did not break off. But then mine was bought in 1970. In the late '90s I bought another piece of this and I thought that the aluminum bottom was actually better than in the older pans.

                                    You are right about not putting the pans in a hot oven.

                                    Lucky! An All Clad outlet nearby would be a real temptation for me. Except that I don't like their handles. Good stuff though.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      Mine is from 67 or 68 and the 3 sauce pans and large stockpot look almost new. The handles are fine and show no signs of wear. If I had Farberware frying pans, they were not teflon coated, and are long gone. When I was looking to buy a set for my other house I was told that Farberware is now made in China and is not made well at all.

                                2. re: arashall

                                  Why would you want her to get rid of them? If I hadn't gone induction I'd still have my few pieces and use them gladly.

                                  1. re: arashall

                                    My son owns an ancient Reverware pressure cooker. I've never seen another cooker like it. The lid goes on inside the rim, as I remember. I used it at his house with no problem. I agree the Revere ware was solid stuff.

                                    I think an ordinary Tramontian induction ready pan is better than any older pan I've ever handled though. If I were buying new stuff now, that is what I'd buy.

                  2. Man... you are really on fire, aren't you kid?

                    Like you, I don't own any top of the line cookware, but they are definitely functional. I just don't have anything like All-Clad or Le Cresuet or whatever.

                    I don't have a Kiwi knife, but I have sharpened one and used one before, so I can personally vouch for its quality. It is no Shun knife, but it is a good knife.


                    My favorite inexpensive kitchen tools? So many, but I will have to say my (1) carbon steel wok from the Wokshop (normal price for a wok, but very cheap compared to any cladded cookware) is nice. I am also very impressed with my (2) CCK Chinese cleaver


                    and my (3) Tanaka Nakiri.


                    CCK being inexpensive and so function. Tanaka being inexpensive and high quality steel. Finally, my (4) wood chopping block. The block was inexpensive, but it took me awhile to get the hang of them, still I am happy with it:


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      LOL. Clearly, I am enjoying the discussions here and just trying to do my part to keep 'em going... ;)

                          1. re: petek

                            More the reasons I can lecture her. I am speaking from experience. :P

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Addiction is such a harsh word, Ck. Let's say I'm momentarily... ENAMORED. :P

                      1. My "potato pot" - a really old copper bottom, stainless steel elsewhere w slightly warped lid pot that was cast aside without regret in and amidst a box lot of yellow ware I purchased back in my auction days. No, it isn't pretty and even when it was made, I'm betting it didn't cost much but in its time w me it's boiled countless pots of perfect potatoes. It goes into the dishwasher and comes out sparkling and I don't ever worry about putting it on high heat.

                        Wooden spoons

                        Dollar store 8" tongs - perfect size for plating, 2 sets of tongs for $1 .... love them!

                        Dollar store plastic colander - it must be almost 15 yrs old now!!

                        Microplanes from Lee Valley Tools

                        I also collect antique and vintage kitchenware and have picked up some wonderful bargains at yard sales and auctions over the years. . . far too many bargains though so now I'm purging!!

                        1. I have a pair of what I think are tomato hullers. I use them for taking the tops off of strawberries without damaging much of the berry. I don't think they were more than a couple of bucks for the pair. They are also great to hollow out vine or cherry tomatoes for stuffing them. They're about 4 inches long and look like a melon baller, but with teeth on the round part.

                          I also like my bamboo handle asian strainer. Great for taking pasta out of the water without damaging the pasta. Especially for fresh pasta.

                          1. My "flat headed" wooden spoons - I couldn't live without them.

                            The ones that are shallow spoon shaped but the top of them are squared off so that they easily scrape the bottom of any pan and since the edges are sort of square off they get into the edges of any pot or pan easily too. Love them!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: thimes

                              I love those things too. I think mine are bamboo, but definitely inexpensive and most handy!

                            2. I love my cheap glass lemon juicer. Pretty much the perfect design, IMO.

                              11 Replies
                                1. re: tanuki soup

                                  I bought one of these! I love the design. Can't remember where I found it, but when I saw it, I had to have it.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I've had one for quite a while. Probably picked up at a yard sale. Mine definitely isn't Depression Glass.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Mine is not old. But I suspect that it was made in an old mold. It has a vintage look. And it works very well. A good functional design.

                                  2. re: tanuki soup

                                    It looks like antique "depression glass". Some of it is pretty cheap, and some is expensive, depending on the pattern (and there are lots of repros). We have a pink set from my grandmother (rarely used). I should keep an eye out for the citrus juicer that matches.

                                    1. re: arashall

                                      Yes, these are vintage glass reamers. tanuki's appears to be in the Hobnail pattern. Likely produced in France by Arc. Federal Glass and Anchor Hocking produced similar clear and coloured versions from the 1930's to 1950's.

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        We knew a guy (a school principal, no less) who went crazy for reamers and went to reamer fancier conventions!!! Before eBay, etc...

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Isn't that funny bt! Imagine the fun he'd have now w eBay and the like!! I wonder if life gave him lots of lemons!! ; - )

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            It was quite something. Not sure what, though!

                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          Sorry, I didn't mean to misrepresent my glass lemon juicer as something fancier than it really is. I just posted the first picture I found on "Google Images" of a juicer that looks like mine.

                                          I actually picked mine up for a couple of bucks at a local grocery store a couple of years ago -- definitely nothing fancy, just a cheap glass juicer that I suspect is a copy of a traditional design that has been around for years and years. The grocery store still sells them.

                                          That said, I really *love* it. The reamer part is the perfect size and shape for a lemon, the little nibs around the reamer really do catch the seeds, and the little handle and spout let you pour out the lemon juice without making a mess. It's also a snap to clean.

                                          PS. I just checked Amazon Japan (I live in Japan, BTW), and they sell exactly the same lemon reamer as shown in the picture in my original post for 269 yen (about 3 bucks). You are exactly right -- Amazon says it's made by Arcoroc in France. They must still be making them.

                                          Link to product page on Amazon Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%AC%E3%...

                                      2. re: tanuki soup

                                        I have one of those in green depression glass. I used it a lot until I got on the squeeze ones. I'm don't have to be as careful with the squeeze one nor do I have to fight the seeds. I do still love the old glass.

                                      3. A stainless chinese cleaver! Just go to the Asian store and buy the cheapest one you see (there will usually only be one choice anyway). They cost less than $10 and they can do about 80% of the workaday chopping in a home kitchen. Mine has pretty much replaced my chef’s knife, and I put it through abuse I would never inflict on a more expensive tool. The wide blade is great for scooping stuff from cutting board to pan, and when I’m done cooking it goes into the dishwasher without a second thought. Another plus is that the steel is not very hard, so it is quite easy to sharpen on a cheap $4 stone from Wal Mart.

                                        1. love my tongs...no rubber coated or plastic nonsense, just basic metal tongs from the resto supply, $8.00. And my homemade wooden tongs, priceless

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                            I just bought half a dozen long metal tongs on Amazon--less than a buck apiece. Good quality and the price amazed me.

                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                              Those wooden tongs look like they belong in a photo dark room.

                                            2. I know it is going to seem like I am knife-obsessed given that my last post was about knives but about 4-5 years ago I went to a Pampered Chef party and I felt obligated to buy something but was pretty broke at the time so I bought 2 of these little $1 knives. I use them so much it is crazy. I used one this morning in fact. They've kept their edge well though I really only use them for small tasks. They fit my hand just fine (though are probably too small for most people).

                                              I buy most of my cookware, gadgets, etc. at Home Goods, Wal-Mart and Target and really the only expensive thing in my kitchen is a nice Global santoku knife (totally worth it).

                                              I also use the "magic" jar opener that I got for free at the county fair one year. It is a thin piece of rubber that I couldn't do without now.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: Boudleaux

                                                I know of those jar openers. Years ago, they were a popular realtors' marketing tool, and we'd get one hung on our front door knob every few weeks. My version is one of my rubber gloves.

                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                  I believe the correct technical term for teh rubber thingy is "cap snaffler". That's what I know it as, anyway!

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    What a funny name! I'm sure I'll think of that every time I take it out to use it.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      You said. snaffler. Hehe. Hehehehehe...

                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                        It seems to me they were marketed as such back in the dark distant days of the past. Snaffle that cap, baby!

                                                            1. re: phofiend

                                                              Ha! I love that! If only it would fasten and unfasten jewelry on me as well.

                                                              1. re: Boudleaux

                                                                I have long nails so I've begun using the magnetic jewelry closures, which fit most of my bracelets and necklaces. Now I can put jewelry on in 10 seconds, rather than 10 minutes :=)

                                                                1. re: pilotgirl210

                                                                  Nice! Haven't thought of that option!

                                                      2. My favorite tool--with its $3.99 tag from the Christmas Tree Shops still intact from the mid 90s--is "The Taco Grater." It's a box grater with four attachments. Very handy for grating cheese and veggies. Everything you grate lands in the plastic box, which has measurements on the side. Also amusing is the tagline below the product name, "MAKE EVERY DAY A FIESTA!" Well, god knows, I try...

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          How 'bout today, katty. Is today a fiesta?

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            I'm curious, function wise, how this differs from just a regular box grater? I use my mother's (married in 1937) and would like to know the difference or benefit of what you show. Thanks.

                                                          2. I'm so glad I'm not alone. I buy all my kitchen "stuff" either at Ross or Home Goods. I love to find is on clearance. Actually, one of my favorite finds was at Big Lots, three extra-large stainless steel cookie sheets with an analon rack for 10 bucks. My cookware is Belgique from Macy's Tools of the Trade line. It is really pretty shaped Stainless Steel, some with cooper bottoms, some with Tri-Ply Stainless Steel. I love it, got it when they were changing the style a little and it was a steal. I'm a gadget nut! I think I have at least two of everything. I recently discovered however, that I need a cherry pitter.

                                                            1. I have a million gadgets and always only use the same old things. I love my 4 cup Pyrex measure, cheap, 3-to-a-pack whisks, my beat up offset spatula, ancient Henckel's shears ( those suckers will cut a penny in half) and good ol numbers 4,6,and 8 scoops.

                                                              1. I love shopping for this kind of thing in Asian stores. The Kam Man and Hong Kong Supermarkets in Manhattan (among others) have a lot of fun things - mesh strainer/colanders, fine-mesh strainers, a very nice extremely fine-mesh disc on a handle that is perfect for skimming broths, Benriners and their cheapo cousins the hand-held thin slicers, negi/scallion shredders, Kiwi knives that I didn't but am going to have to get...as well as the Asian-specific cookware, wire spider scoops, etc. Nice Japanese dishware too. Most of the tools are under $10 and very useful indeed.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  On the recommendation of other chs I bought Fasta Pasta. I use it all the time. Makes perfect pasta in less than 10 minutes and no big pot. Brilliant.

                                                                  1. re: Helene Goldberg

                                                                    Now I'm wondering if you say fassta passta, fahssta pahssta, or fassta pahssta...

                                                                2. I think I'll go with Fahsta Paasta

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Helene Goldberg

                                                                    I was wondering about those. All I know is that if I ever come across this one in a store there'll be no turning away...http://www.jlist.com/product/SNX012

                                                                  2. Love my plastic corn on the cob cradles. $1 store, 4/$1. Nothing keeps the corn buttered like them! Likewise, squeeze bottles from the $1 store, 2/$1.

                                                                    1. Garlic slicer/grater that has a little chute that holds 2-4 cloves so you can slice them without worrying about slicing your fingers. Wonderful for pasta dishes/rabe/spinach. Under $10

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          +1 escondido, I'd love to know more about your garlic slicer. I make and freeze marinara in tomato season and my wrist gets sore from all the garlic slicing.

                                                                          I purchased a Mario Batali rasp type thing w a handle and a sliding feed thing-a-ma-gig on it but the blade wasn't sharp at all and I tossed the useless thing in the trash in frustration. Ok, I feel better now!

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            I use my Benriner or el cheapo other Japanese slicer v-e-r-y gingerly, but something I didn't have to worry about performing unneeeded and unwanted surgery on myself while using would be a treat.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              If I have some decent sized cloves I've done that too bt but I'm always nervous and end up thinking its likely quicker to slice w my knife. I've often thought that a teeny tiny cuisinart should be made just for the purpose of thinly slicing garlic!! Really we just need a tiny feed tube and a fast spinning blade....

                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                            If you google acea +italy +garlic you will find it at anywhere from $10-$18. I bought it at a local kitchen store that went out of business 5 years ago. I think it does a wonderful job.

                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                I just bought one of these on Amazon. Look so neat I had to have it. About $22.00 total with shipping. Ohh...Amazon...I never have a zero balance.

                                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                                  Gotta find one of those! Was that kitchen store the one in the Escondido mall--I miss that place! Now like the one at the C'bad outlet mall, but it's farther away from me.

                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                    Yes, it was. I worked part time there for three years and just loved it. Sorry to see it close.

                                                                            1. I love my spring whisks, microplane graters, wooden citrus reamer, Kuhn Rikon safety lid lifter and I have an extra heavy deluxe Norpro garlic press that I just love. I also buy almost all of my gadgets in Home Goods and if I cannot find something, I usually buy it on Amazon. I mainly browse in Williams Sonoma to find out what I am missing and what I need to buy next.

                                                                              1. My very favorite is a wooden doohickey with a little notch made for pulling out a hot oven rack. It cost maybe $2, and has saved me many burns from reaching into a hot oven! Another is my cheapie Ikea cheese grater that fits on the top of the bowl, and then has a plastic lid that fits over the bowl when you're finished grating.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: arashall

                                                                                  I'm a big fan of that IKEA cheese grater. And that oven doohickey does not sound like a bad idea (this coming from someone who doesn't care to have too many doohickies laying around...).

                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                    I have 3 parallel scars just above my left wrist. You'd think I'd have learned that an oven rack is hot, wouldn't you? I've recently heard such (idiot) scars called tiger stripes. Sounds better than idiot scars. Maybe I'd better google the wooden doohickey with the little notch!

                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                        second that.
                                                                                        that simple, wooden gem is mandatory in my kitchen.

                                                                                  2. re: arashall

                                                                                    Could you elaborate on the "doohickey", please. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                  3. I love my immersion blender - i think it cost me $14 at a local hardware store. I'm also a big fan of my hand grinder - i make porcini dust, chop up walnuts, onions - love it.

                                                                                    1. I have an old, 20 quart (5 gallon) Toroware aluminum stock pot. It's my "goto" lobster pot and gets a ton of use throughout the summer as well as holidays. Not fancy. You had to get them at restaurant supply stores. If you see one used, grab it.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                                        Those wooden chopsticks that come with takeout sushi? They are great for cleaning my food processor blade. Also good for stirring when you can't use metal.

                                                                                      2. I got really sick of having to deal with pouring things. I've owned a soymilk maker for awhile now, and that requires pouring *and* filtering. . . . so I went to BBB to look for a funnel.

                                                                                        They only had these small funnels, and that wouldn't do. . .so I headed to the local brew supply shop and picked up a 10 inch funnel with an 'anti splash screen' which I use as a strainer. I've used this thing more than a lot of the stuff in my kitchen.


                                                                                        1. I love hand-turned wood kitchen products. Have a set of hand carved spoons, but my favorite is a 18" x 8" bread bowl. I keep them lovingly oiled and use them all the time. Another is called an Appalachian Bow Saw--beautiful cherry wooden frame with essentially a hacksaw serrated blade. I was told to NEVER wash it, just wipe clean. Only use it for crusty bread (cuts like a dream) or tomatoes.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                            My favorite everyday cheapie is the plain-Jane simple straight Hoan swivel veggie peeler. I think these normally sell for about $3 or so, but last year my local supermarket had a discontinued product sale and marked them down to $1 each. So I bought 20 of them, LOL.

                                                                                            My two other everyday favorites are both things that I bought years ago and of course they don't make anymore. One is a pair of Ecko tongs, stainless steel with a thin rubber 'sleeve' that covers the entire lower portion (below the hinge), 9 3/4" long, and they are STRAIGHT, not angled. I just don't like angled tongs, but that seems to be all they are making nowadays. The handle openings on the Ecko are also the perfect shape and size for my hand -- something else I just can't find in the current models. I've had these for 30+ years (since the early 70s) and have used them almost every day. I doubt they cost more than $3 or $4 when bought (if even that).

                                                                                            I also have a collection of different slotted spoons for stovetop use but my favorite is another oldie from multiple decades ago. The brand name is simply "Household" over "made in Japan" (which itself tells you how old it is, LOL) and 'Stainless Steel'. It's 11 1/2" long overall. The dark brown wood handle is made like a knife, with a half-tang and two stainless steel absolutely flat rivets holding the spoon neck in place. The neck is likewise riveted to the bowl, which is dished a bit but not too much and has 17 slots of varying graduated sizes. It's lightweight but is built like a tank. I've seen a couple of modern made-in-China imitations in restaurant supply stores but those are flimsy pieces of junk compared to this workhorse which probably cost me all of $2.99 back in the day. ;-)

                                                                                            My favorite specialty cheapie is the Stem Gem ($8) by Chef'n, because we are both strawberry addicts here, LOL.

                                                                                            EDITED TO ADD: Just thought of another one.This one is about 10 years old so not TOO ancient, LOL. It's a double-end melon baller by Progressive. Unfortunately the metal is now starting to pit and of course nobody makes this style anymore which is one solid piece of metal , 7 3/4" long overall, the smaller scoop being 1" diameter and the larger 1 1/4". I use it all the time for drop cookies, far less on melons, LOL. I love this style because you can grasp it comfortably anywhere along its length, without any fussy gripper handle in the center like the Oxo, etc, ones have. Also because it is a single piece of molded metal, it absolutely positively WILL NOT bend, no matter how much pressure you may want to put on it. This thing could probably scoop out 3/4-set cement, LOL. None of the current melon ballers are made like this. I'm sure it cost less than $10 when I bought it (probably at BB&B).

                                                                                            1. re: skyline

                                                                                              Considering I'm still on my original swivel peeler (and it still works perfectly, 30+ years in), future skyline generations should be well-supplied with peelers, thanks to you!

                                                                                          2. I love the Rachel Ray Paring knife!!! It's just one of those things, I can't cook without. I used to use something else and was cutting myself all the time. Till I found this, it's really hard to find a GOOD knife though! http://bit.ly/mXmy6a