The gear guide – kitchenware picks <$50
…do you have a few prized tools in the kitchen (other than your man/woman I mean) that just do the job perfect every time? That you think: “I can’t believe I only paid x for that,” or “this is so worth those x paychecks I paid!” (Personally, if you’ve thought the latter, I think you’re nuts a very unique invididual). Well, here’s my review of the things in our kitchen that I love. I don’t own anything excessively fancy, these are just the basics, and to be frank, they’re the things most worth spending the most on. You’ll be using them almost every day, and thus having good basic gear will save you lots of time (and money, because they’ll last ages). Here are a few great ones, all of which cost under $50 (since I bought them anyway)
Not all of them I own, either! Muahaha…If you’re in Christchurch, it’s worth buying the following, and not all of them I splashed out on. You might be surprised at some of the places these are from…
Not cheap but worth every cent. Get ‘em next time Farmers has a “buy one get one free” sale, though. Make sure before you buy one that matched up in size with a lid you already have if you want to save some cash (and space).
I won’t let anyone near this pan with metal still, but even if an unfortunate soul wandered about on its surface with a *shudder* fork, this won’t feel the pain as much as other non stick pans (of the teflon variety). This has lasted me more than a year and has yet to be scratched. Not only will this baby last you for more than ten minutes in a flat full of potential cookware imbeciles…it cooks beautifully evenly, and is the most non stick thing to ever, erm…not stick to your food. I tested this out with a friend’s cast iron skillet for pancakes, and it still measured up! The ceramic will withstand any temperature you could possibly crank your cooker up to (without the possibility of melting or being structurally weakened, which is why it outlasts any other coatings). The only thing I wish was that it could be thrown in the oven (for frittata or cake making), but this will definitely be a contender if you’re considering a cast iron pan (as this pan heats up slightly faster).
Victorinox 4″ paring/utility knife
~$10 from The Homestore, Merivale Mall
The best small knife I’ve ever used. Considering the price (and brand – these are the guys that sepcialise in swiss army knives) this is an amazing little knife that stays incredibly sharp and has a very good feel when you cut with it. It has a rather thin blade that makes it great for slicing thin.
A supermarket made cookware that is actually good?! This is brilliant for non stick pans, and because they’re NOT plastic, the bottom doesn’t flake off (you’ll never wonder if those black bits in your food are edible or not). The top is metal, so it’s nice and sturdy too. Need I say more? Well, I suppose I should mention that it’s Bob’s :P
Amazing, huh? After looking at $70 whisks, this was a much appreciated stumble. Large, relatively sturdy, and did I mention, bloody cheap?! I’ve been looking for a whisk that has a decent handle like this, but the silicone was a bonus! If you have non stick saucepans, or simply want your mixing bowls to remain scrape-free, this is the shiz. Just don’t immerse the handle in hot water for too long (turns out it’s stuck together with hot glue, but it’s still working!)
Silicone basting/pastry brush
~$5, from Countdown
Gone are the days your pastry brush is the world’s biggest bitch to clean – this doesn’t retain the basting juices from your last chicken (*shudder*) like an old creep man’s beard! No, this beauty ensures your next meal can be a salmonella hazard free zone, and also ensures your resident dish washing person doesn’t seek revenge from the last pastry thing you made! Countdown makes love cheap.
Wait, wait, wait! I know, $15 for a SPOON?! But this is no ordinary spoon, people. I first saw this and thought the same. Then, months later (and much wasted cake batter later), I headed straight into the store and picked it up. Why? Because when you make things from scratch in the kitchen, not a scrap should be wasted. When you’ve slaved over those muffins, you should not have to clean up a thing more than you need to (this is dishwasher safe, doesn’t need soaking, and unlike the wooden spoon, doesn’t take on that “special flavour” from everything from soups to custard). When you’re in the middle of baking, you shouldn’t have to reach for the spatula. And lastly, when you’ve left the spatula in the pan you’re heating, it should not start melting. I hope I’ve now justified the exorbitantly priced spatoon. It’s my new love. Now let us be together, in sweet, chocolatey peace, with none wasted.
If you’ve got some original favourites of your own to share, comment below and, if my mood is willing, I may send one of the above items to you via post (NZers only please) if your suggestion is indeed the most awe-inspiring! Make sure you give either a picture or detailed description, the approximate price, at least one place where you can get it (in NZ), and why it deserves love and attention (and possibly a spending spree).
PS. I didn’t review the cleaver because frankly, I stole it off Mum, and have no idea where she obtained it…