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Essential utensils and appliances
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:15 am    Post subject: Essential utensils and appliances Reply with quote

What is the one cooking utensil or appliance you can't live without?

My silicon spatulas are my choice - after melting or burning countless rubber spatulas over the years, I was delighted to find spatulas made of silicon a few years ago. I use them constantly in my kitchen at home and always take one on our frequent camping trips.

My son's choice would be our electric popcorn maker!
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it would have to be my chef knife. Having a long and wide blade to work with really makes all the difference in the world. I had read how they changed your life, and was a little skeptical (I mean sure, an electrical waffle cone maker changes your life, too!) but it has turned out to be very true!

Last edited by clotilde on Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a problem with some kitchen equipment. Maybe someone has some ideas for me.

I have an Emile Henri baking dish that I've had for probably about 20 years. It's FABULOUS! It's made of thick red clay (with an even thicker rim) and has a glaze that was probably white but is thin and allows the color of the clay to bleed through so it's a sorta earthy neutral color. I use it every single week (inspite of the fact that lifting it from the shelf is like hefting a small child). I use it for all kinds of things and I never want to lose it.

Because I hold the company in such high esteem based on the dish above I bought a bunch of more Emile Henri pottery of more recent manufacture when I lived in Canada where it's more affordable than it is here in Los Angeles.

These dishes are made with much thinner white clay. The rims are the same thickness as the body of the piece. They have a white interior glaze but they have colored glazes on their sides. They are very pretty and they come in an amazing variety of convenient sizes & shapes. But they crack like mad! =o I don't know that I've got a single one left that isn't cracked. And I promise I don't mishandle them.

I'm not talking about the glaze crazing. My old one is like a rich mosaic of crazing and stains that have bled through. Not a problem since it's a familiar, beloved old workhorse that I can count on. I'm saying that the new pottery cracks right through the pottery from interior to exterior.

Most begin on one edge and work their way slowly across the equator of the dish. Once, a dish was in the oven. I think I may have been broiling fish. I heard a sharp, almost musical "ping". When I went to retrieve the fish, the juices were dripping all over the oven and the dish came apart in my hand! A large, expensive casserole has a crack that lets all the liquids seep out. I had to seal it with some compound to continue to be able to use it at all. But I've never been sure that that compound is 100% safe for a food application. =o

What has happened to Emile Henri? Can I still get the wonderful, heavy red clay ones somewhere? How can I keep the white clay ones from their obsession for harikari? And is there a safe, effective way to mend them?

Thanks for your thoughts. ;>
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Albacore



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear the Emile Henry bakeware has performed so poorly for you, Rainey. I've been eyeing the terrines at my local kitchen shop, but perhaps I will hold off on that purchase. I don't know how best to mend one, nor where to find the older type. Ebay? Estate sales? Good luck!

I'm going to have to agree with Clotilde about the chef's knife. I use the Wusthof 10" Classic, and love it. While I also have a healthy appreciation for Le Creuset, microplane, and silicon, the chef's knife would be the first priority to replace should I ever have to start all over again.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Albacore wrote:
I'm sorry to hear the Emile Henry bakeware has performed so poorly for you, Rainey. I've been eyeing the terrines at my local kitchen shop, but perhaps I will hold off on that purchase. I don't know how best to mend one, nor where to find the older type. Ebay? Estate sales? Good luck!


Don't overlook a tureen because of my experience! I'm sure a tureen you just filled at the table would do fine. I think it's the high or prolonged temperatures of oven baking that are causing my problems. But how to avoid that for bake/roastware?

Albacore wrote:
I'm going to have to agree with Clotilde about the chef's knife. I use the Wusthof 10" Classic, and love it. While I also have a healthy appreciation for Le Creuset, microplane, and silicon, the chef's knife would be the first priority to replace should I ever have to start all over again.


All great pieces of equipment! I don't want to do without silicone (in a dozen culinary applications!) or Microplane graters ever again. Your note about knives reminded me of a nifty Global paring knife I got in Canada. It's light as a feather and sharp as a razor. It's a single piece of steel so it hasn't a crevice to loosen or harbor food. It's balanced like a dream. I love it! Wish I could afford more Global knives.
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Aspiring Chef



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco, California, USA, World :)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently, I can't do without my Henckels Chef's Knife. I have owned it for about four months now, and I use it everyday in food preparation.

I also love the microplane, silicone spatulas, and kitchenaid mixer, all of which I make regular use of in my forays into baking.
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azmuse



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 4
Location: in a blue moon...also, Philadelphia, PA :)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i love my vegetable knife from japan. it has a beautifully sharp cut - isn't one of the wider models, but slices like a dream. i prefer it to any knife i've ever used, though at first the rectangular blade was difficult to accustom myself to. a good friend bought it for me at our neighborhood health food store when i was visiting from california a few years ago, and it's a real treasure...let's see (back from the kitchen): it's from NHS, "a premier cutlery maker in Seki City, Japan, famous for Samurai swords" and is made of "sword grade, compound cutlery steel..." it also has a lovely hand-huggable wooden handle, and well, i just think it does my veggies proud.
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Albacore



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Don't overlook a tureen because of my experience! I'm sure a tureen you just filled at the table would do fine.
Like that Lion's head one? It's attractive, but probably not something I would use very often. I meant the rectangular terrines (well, 8-sided, really) shown here (scroll down a bit). Definitely intended for baking!

Does anyone rate a mandoline high on the "essential tools" list? [/url]
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Clotilde about the chef's knife. Mine is a Sabatier carbon-steel, about 25 years old. I had the utility knife also, which I used more often though it wasn't quite as versatile. Sadly, it was lost in a move.

One reason I like these knives is that they are comfortable for my small hands. I've read that the quality of Sabatier knives isn't quite as good as it once was, which has made me hesitant to buy a new one. Do any of you have opinions or suggestions?

Thank you!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brighidsdaughter wrote:
I agree with Clotilde about the chef's knife. Mine is a Sabatier carbon-steel, about 25 years old. I had the utility knife also, which I used more often though it wasn't quite as versatile. Sadly, it was lost in a move.


There's nothing like a bright, shiny new toy, but don't you just love those old familiar culinary friends?!

I'd love to hear what everyone has that they've used for 20 years or more and wouldn't want to do without. If you're younger/newer at equipping a kitchen what do you guess will stand up to 20 years of use?

Here are mine:
• my KitchenAid mixer -- I gave it to myself as my first Mothers' Day gift 28 years ago and I made the store giftwrap it for me too! ;> Last year I finally replaced the paddle.
• that sensational (red clay) Emil Henri baking dish
• my knives -- mine are mostly Henkle but I hope I'm around in 20 years to still be using that new Global one. ;>
• several old, odd bits I inherited from my mother-in-laws kitchen -- they wouldn't impress anyone else but they're special to me and still useful and interesting
• my well-seasoned and well-loved cast iron skillets/grills/muffin pans
• my Mason & Cash mixing bowls
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Guest






PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey wrote:
I'd love to hear what everyone has that they've used for 20 years or more and wouldn't want to do without. If you're younger/newer at equipping a kitchen what do you guess will stand up to 20 years of use?

My Cuisinart food processor. The first one lasted 21 years of almost daily use. Cast iron skillets & dutch oven. Set of restaurant-quality stainless steel cookware I bought 5 years ago.

Don't laugh at this one Smile an electric waffle iron that's older than I am (49 yrs). Inherited from my mom, it still works perfectly.
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Peter



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 3
Location: San Diego, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a tip, in case not everyone has heard it: if you have an old Kitchen Aid mixer, don't ever get rid of it. The older ones were made by Hobart, and the motor would run forever, but the newer ones have motors made by Whirlpool, and they don't last nearly as long.

Of course I love my Chef's knife (a Wusthof which I've had for about 20 years) but as for "gadgety" things one of the most useful things I've gotten recently is a wireless thermometer, because I cook things outside on the grill a lot, and it's great to be able to be inside or off yakking with someone and know what the temperature of the meat is. The best was when I went to a "cook-in" party which had a grill that was outrageously hot, so my pork loin stuffed with olives and anchovies cooked in about half the time it usually does! I was inside talking, and the thermometer started beeping, and the pork was perfectly cooked. It would have been a disaster had I not had that wireless thermometer!

A couple of years ago I got my wife a mandoline (a Matfer) and that allows one to do things that one could not otherwise, at least with my level of skill with a knife... my aunt threw hers away, though, after slicing off the top of her finger.
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Derek
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bringing this back to the original topic, I'd have to say my Wusthof Santoku knife. My favorite knife used to be my chef's knife, but after having received the Santoku for Christmas, it's the first knife I reach for in my block. It gives me better handling and control than the chef's knife.

Derek
http://waitingforparis.blogspot.com
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Lisa B-K



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Urbana, Illinois, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! C&Z has forums. How excellent.

I received a Kitchenaid mixer for the holidays last year -- the big one, the one with the metal attachments! I love my in-laws! I make a lot of bread and this has made it easier and much more pleasurable. I just like watching it work. I'll still make bread by hand too, but getting out the mixer is fun.

A good knife makes all the difference, though, and I'd take my very durable and serviceable Kitchenaid knives with me over the mixer any day.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. My set of Wusthoff Culinar Knives, especially the 10" chefs knife.
2. Kitchen shears
3. Coffee grinder turned Spice grinder
4. Le Creuset Tomato Pot
5. Saltier scale
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