Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kitchen Essentials Part Two: Gadgets and Gizmos

Before I continue with my list of kitchen essentials (which today are not so essential, because they're gadgets and gizmos that make me smile but really aren't essential in the sense that you can definitely cook without them) I must take a second to talk about this post's illustration.

When I saw the image of this book cover my Pavlovian instinct kicked in and I began to drool. The MomQueenBee ancestral home had a copy of this book and Much Older Sister and I learned to cook from it. We LOOOOVED this cookbook! But do you know what this illustration was illustrating? A blog post titled "15 Ridiculous Highlights from Betty Crocker's '50s Cookbook for Kids." (No, I am not linking it. I'm mad at it.)

Hrmph. Obviously that post was written by some California hipster who had no idea how delicious Betty Crocker's molasses crinkles are. I still use the blonde brownies recipe. But I will admit that the gender roles do seem a little skewed--why did I never notice that the girls were doing all the work while the boys did the tasting and eating? Hmmm....

Anyway, frivolous additions to your kitchen supplies:

1. A rolling garlic chopper. Oh, my gosh, I can't tell you how much I love my rolling garlic chopper. And yes, I could use a knife to chop garlic, but when was the last time you made vrooom-vrooom noises while you chopped garlic with a knife? That's what I thought.

2. An onion chopper. Again, could I use a knife to chop onions? I could. I often do. But I use onions in everything except dessert, and if I could find an onion pie I'd make it. This baby perfectly chops a quarter of an onion with one hearty smack and you save both time and tears. It's also helpful in carrying out my mother's advice that if I ever found myself having spent the supper-prep time reading a book instead of cooking, to throw a handful of chopped onions into a hot skillet. Within seconds the house smells like you've been cooking all day. In my early years of marriage I did that often. Now, I have grown old and lazy and prefer to support the local restaurant economy.

3. A wide-rimmed pie pan. Best of luck with this, because apparently they aren't sold anywhere except eBay any more. (Does that link even work?) But oh, my, do I love my wide-rimmed pie pans. They're like regular pie pans except, well, with wide rims. The extra 1 1/2 inches on the edge do a topnotch job of keeping the bubbling pie filling from bubbling right onto the oven floor and causing me to feel guilty for the next six months until it's time to clean the oven again. (What? Ovens should be cleaned more often? Huh.)

4. A honkin' big pizza cutter. You don't make pizza, you say? Not a problem. Use it to mince herbs, and to cut bar cookies, and to cut dough for your famous bierocks, Use it to rough-chop canned tomatoes when you accidentally get the whole kind instead of diced. Slice apples with it. It's the Swiss Army knife of the kitchen.

And now, I'm hungry again. I think I'll go slice an apple with my pizza cutter.

Next up: Stirrers! Scrapers! Small appliances!


  1. My husband is allergic to everything in the onion family, so no onions and garlic for me. However, if I could cook with it, I'd go looking for that onion chopper --it sounds totally worth it.

    We just bought our first pizza slicer --I can see that it'll be getting more use than just the pizzas :-)

    A few years ago my mom bought me a citrus juicer. It doesn't juice veggies or anything fancy --just citrus. You plot half an orange or grapefruit on it, lower a handle for a few seconds and out pours fabulous juice. When she got it for me, I thought --what?! I'll never use this. But each winter, it takes its place on the kitchen island and keeps us all well-dosed with delicious vitamin C.

    My other favorite gizmo takes up almost no space --an emersion blender. That is a godsend.

  2. Just scrolled through the archives to come and report on this post. When I first read this I put the rolling garlic chopper on my mental to-buy list. I was in a kitchen store with my husband the other night and found one. He made fun of me for "another useless kitchen gadget that a knife could do" but I insisted that MomQueenBee says ... And last night he's making his famous chili for guests and he rushed to show me his perfectly chopped garlic with a wild look in his eyes: "That thing is AMAZING!" So, aha! Score in favor of MomQueenBee.

    1. Woooo! Did he make the vroom-vroom noises? That's the key.