Ten Kitchen Gadgets You Only THINK You Can Live Without

In this article, we’ll explore the gadgets and accoutrements that will make your time in the kitchen easier and more fun.

1. A good whisk.
A fork is good for minor mixing jobs, and a wooden spoon is a kitchen favourite, but when it comes to making sure that the job gets done and gets done properly, nothing beats a good whisk. A whisk can make tedious jobs a breeze – you’ll no longer have to strain yourself when you try to whip that cream by hand – and it can make the simplest tasks more rewarding (that instant chocolate pudding has never tasted so smooth or been so uniform). Whisks are ideal for moving fluids quickly and uniformly.

2. A strong garlic press.
Despite the stigma around garlic put forth by commercials for breath fresheners, while garlic may do wonky things for your breath, there are few things that could be healthier for you. Rich in antioxidants and natural disease-fighters, a daily dose of garlic will do wonders to keep you healthy. Sure, you can get your garlic in plenty of ways that don’t require a garlic press, but chopping takes time and precision, powders and salts don’t offer many of the benefits of fresh garlic, and cooking with whole or slices of cloves can greet you with an unpleasant surprise when you accidentally ingest the whole thing at once. The garlic press is the perfect solution, as it releases the oils of the garlic and makes it manageable without obliterating its benefits. Most presses nowadays have attachments to help clean them, so the old concern that things with many tiny holes are labor-intensive in the cleaning department is now null and void.

3. A set of mixing bowls in various sizes.
Never underestimate the value of a good set of mixing bowls. Whether you’re baking a pie from scratch or making a salad for two, a good bowl is of infinite use. Why not just get one, then? Because if you ever want to serve or store more than one thing, more than one bowl will be a necessity, and for storage purposes, it works a lot better to have a set of matching bowls that will all fit within the size of the largest one, rather than some mis-matched ones that fit awkwardly and take up twice the space.

4. Tongs.
In truth, there aren’t many things that a set of tongs can do that a fork cannot. The thing is, though, that tongs do it better (and easier), keeping your food from losing juices as you would with countless prodding and hole-poking from a fork. If you’re grilling, things can get a little heated with just a fork, and when you need to move around those potatoes in the oven, tongs are the ideal.

5. A handheld mixer.
Some jobs are too big for a fork, spoon, or whisk, but too small for a full-sized mixer. When you’re cooking for just one or two, the portions can make using a industrial mixer seem like overkill, but with things that are particularly hard to blend (such as cookie mix), you don’t want to kill your arm muscles with a spoon or cause bodily harm to your whisk. A handheld mixer will do the trick. If you get the kind that plugs into a wall-mounted charger, you won’t have to worry about losing counter space or plugging and unplugging another device.

6. A potato masher.
Potato mashers aren’t just for potatoes anymore! Okay, they’re mostly for potatoes (and sweet potatoes), but they’re useful for anything that needs to be mashed. This can make your life easier, whether you want a quick side dish or a banana bread early in the morning. Mashers are easy to clean and ensure that you’ll have a uniform consistency in your foods and no lumps. The best kind of masher you’ll find has a circular bottom with several square holes in it.

7. A good scouring pad.
While a good cook knows all about the art of substitution, a great one knows that sometimes, one should accept nothing but the best. Kitchen cleanliness is one of these areas, whether you’re running a tidy vegan kitchen or cooking countless meats – bacteria have the potential to be anywhere, and sponges really only help them breed and move them around. The best plan for your kitchen is a good scouring pad, replaced fairly often, to ensure that things really are clean when they look that way.

8. A food processor.
Looking at all the little bits of a food processor can be intimidating when you think of all the cleaning that will need to be done, but keep in mind that with a good rinse, a simple run through the dishwasher will take care of it for you. Think of the clean-up time that this will save you when you don’t have to worry about a knife (or knives), a cutting board, the residue on the counter, and so forth. The time you’ll save means that you’ll have the option of cooking a whole new range of foods that previously were too labor-intensive. Pesto sauce? No problem. Scalloped potatoes? Done in a flash. A food processor is the first step in culinary exploration.

9. Egg timer.
While most ovens and microwaves come with timers built into them, it’s entirely possible that you’ll need to time more than one thing at a time. The beauty of an egg timer is that it’s small and portable, so you don’t have to stay within earshot of the kitchen to get your cooking done. For things that need to cook for a while, this can be a massive stress-reducer and time saver. With an egg timer, you’re now free to take a shower, watch a show, listen to music, or do anything else your heart desires while your food is cooking.

10. A cooling rack.
Eventually, you will run out of places to put hot things that come out of the oven. While one could argue that the burners on the stove are perfectly acceptable for storing hot things, or that cookies are just as good when transferred to a plate, rather than a cooling rack, these are in fact both fallacies. When not properly ventilated, baked goods tend to get soggy instead of cooling like they should, and no one likes soggy baked goods.

The wire makeup of a cooling rack is ideal for heat transfer, and you should be sure to use this to your advantage. Not only can you rapidly cool hot things, but you can lay frozen things on a cooling rack, and you’ll find that they thaw far more quickly than they would on a plate.

Cooling racks can also be used to drain fat from things like bacon and sausage, and they do so far more efficiently than the old paper-towels-on-a-plate trick, as they draw the fat away from the food, rather than letting it rest in its own grease.

With these gadgets in your kitchen, you’ll find your time there simplified and far more enjoyable. Take the time to clean up your cooking habits and unleash your inner chef!

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