When I’m cooking, I find myself using the same inexpensive tools again and again. I like gadgets as much as the next person, but I try not to clutter the kitchen with rarely used items.
These are my favorite low-tech kitchen tools:
1.Plastic spatulas. These can be found for cheap in housewares stores, and are good for emptying containers and spreading filling. I use the rounded edge for bowls, and the square edge for the bottom of the food processor. Scraping out remainders of food saves money and makes cleanup easier.
2. Sprayers. My mother cleaned cabinets with a bucket of soapy water. But sprayers save water and soap because they evenly distribute a thin layer of cleaning solution. Buy empty sprayers or recycle old ones by filling with your own cleaning solution. The spray gets into the air, so you may prefer diluted vinegar over manufactured chemicals. Give small kids a sprayer of plain water so they can help too. To clean cabinets and appliances spray, wait a few minutes for dried-on food to soften, and wipe dry with a rag. I keep sprayers in the kitchen and bathrooms, along with an extra as they often break.
3. Rags. I make my own rags from old cotton undershirts, towels, and sport socks. Absorbent terry socks, cut down to the toe, are the best, and work much better than paper towels. My clean rags live in a kitchen drawer, while dirty rags go in a bucket to be washed every week or two. Read Trent’s take on eliminating paper towels.
4. Scissors. I keep a pair of children’s scissors handy to open bags of milk (only in Israel) and other plastic packages. Another pair goes in the bathroom to open bags of detergent and cut threads and labels.
5. Wooden spoons. I keep an assortment for stirring soups and pastas, and for mixing batters and casseroles. Have at least one that is longer than the height of your tallest pot.
6. Stacks of plastic and glass bowls of various sizes. Did you ever notice, on a cooking show, how the chef is surrounded by conveniently placed bowls, filled with the exact amount of each ingredient to add to the pan at the appropriate time? That used to seem like extra work to me, but it turns out to be the most efficient even if you have to prepare the ingredients yourself.
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