Kitchen Smart – Tools That Make Life Easier in the Kitchen

If you’re like me, one of your favorite channels to watch on TV is the cooking channel. I love the way each chef has their own nitch in the food arena and how they make it look so easy.  I love checking out all the latest technology in kitchen appliances, tools and utensils.  It’s fun to watch all the slicing, dicing, and pan frying while the music is playing in the background or some shows even have live bands. And did you ever notice how the chef always has just the right tools and ingredients on hand.

What about those camera shots, how great it is that we can see what the chef is doing from every angle and how the kitchen is always decorated so beautifully with fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, etc. etc.  Well, like we tell our kids, that’s TV not reality.

It would be nice to have a staff of chefs behind the camera doing most to the tedious preparation and never have any dirty dishes in the sink or food scraps on the counter. Not to mention the phone always seems to ring when your hands need to be cleaned and dried off.

Anyway, you get the gist. It isn’t always a picnic (no pun intended) in the kitchen at mealtime.  So, I would like to pass on a few tips of handy kitchen tools that will make meal preparation a little easier in future.

Electric Can Opener

If you have a good quality electric can opener you will never go back to using a hand can opener again.  Not only is the electric can opener safer to use, it is also easier and quicker.  You will find that some electric can openers come with additional options like knife and scissor sharpeners, so that is a plus.  Suggestion; stop fighting with the hand can opener and play it safe, easy and quick with a top quality electric can opener.  You won’t regret it.

Garlic Slicer

If you have been using a garlic press, you know how messy it can get, and that much of the garlic remains in the press only to be scraped out. Now you have to either throw it out or chop it up with a knife, making twice the amount of work out of what was supposed to be a simple process. I suggest switching to a garlic slicer, this way you will actually get the whole garlic sliced into either slivers or into tiny minced pieces. All you have to do is peel the garlic, set it in the slicer, lower the cutter, push, and release. Most slicers have a catch basket so your garlic pieces are in a container ready to be dumped into the pot. When it come to garlic, graters are not fun.  They will clog up and possibly catch your fingertips. Using a slicer will put a smile on your face and your garlic will be in tiny pieces in a flash.

Flexible Plastic Cutting Boards

What a life saver, I suggest buying a half dozen of these little wonders and you’ll never be searching for another cutting board again. Most come color coded, making it even easier to reach for when you need one. I like the flexible design because you can curl them and dump the chopped ingredients easily into the pot, food processor, or blender. They are inexpensive enough that you can throw them in the recycle when they get beat up looking without worrying about wasting money on new cutting boards. And, since everyone knows you should replace cutting boards often, this is a good thing to remember.

Colanders

Do you still have one colander in your kitchen? For some reason, there are many people who resist the idea of buying more than one or two colanders since, after all, you only use one at a time. But, if you think of it; how many times do you rinse or drain ingredients during food preparation? Doesn’t it make sense in order to save time to have several colanders to grab when you need to quickly move on to the next step in a recipe? If you have someone standing around to wash and rinse your colander between uses, you probably don’t need another colander. But, I suspect, like me, you don’t have that cooking show staff in your kitchen, right? I suggest buying half dozen inexpensive colanders so you have one ready when you need it.  They usually are dishwasher safe, so no fuss to clean-up.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

I’m sure you have a set of measuring cups and spoons, but you need at least two sets, or more. You need dry measure and wet measure, plus a 2 and 4-cup glass measuring pitcher. However, if you also buy larger measuring pitchers (8 and 12 cup size) you will be able to use them as mixing bowls. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You may even find a nice selection at a yard sale, or possibly at a thrift or resale shop. The idea is to have a variety in measuring tools, so you can grab what you need when you need it.

A Great Knife

It is so much easier and safer to use a sharp knife, but many cooks continue to struggle along with bad knives they’ve had forever. The knives may still ‘work’ but have long ago lost their edge. Invest in just one new great knife. Be choosy and get the best knife you can afford.  Dull, poor quality knives can slip while you try to push it through the food, making them dangerous to handle. If you can have at least one high quality sharp chef knife and smaller paring knife you experience your food preparation pleasure and not a task.

This is a short list of a few time-savers, that you will find useful in the kitchen.   Especially, when your staff of chefs goes on strike or has the day off.  Just kidding.  If you don’t have a production team working behind the scenes in your kitchen, you may want to give this list of kitchen tools some consideration.