Saturday, March 14, 2015


There’s a long shallow drawer in my kitchen, next to the stove top.  It’s where I keep my gadgets and whatcha-ma-call-its.  The untrained eye might think that drawer was full of junk, but they would be wrong.  Sure, I have multiple  spatulas and whisks, with a nice dependable collection of quality knives.  These are items I do not want to have to live without.  At least if I am expected to cook.  So here’s a rundown of some of my favorites.  If I were any good at computer graphics I would number these things…but alas. Hopefully you will be able to figure out the item by the name.  I am, by the way, untrained and unsure of the proper names of some of these. Starting with the two items at the top of the photo, and then going from left to right.

Top Left: meat mallet: I use this often, mostly with chicken.  Chicken will cook more evenly, keeping it moist and evenly browned.  Last night I cooked chicken tenders, and it took about ten minutes from start to finish.  Place fresh chicken tenders on a piece of waxed paper, cover with more waxed paper, and gently pound them until they are about1/2 inch thick. They’ll get bigger, surface-wise, when you do this.  This is a great way to cook chicken for a sandwich.  I sprinkle my salt,-pepper-garlic salt mix over the meat and cook in hot olive oil.  It will be cooked in a matter of minutes. Use uneven side of mallet or beef and pork, and smooth side for chicken.

Potato Masher (Spud Masher):  Dave’s our resident masher, and this is his favorite tool.  We probably have three mashers, but his favorite is a solid iron with a round top and plenty of space for the spuds to be mashed through.

Cookie Scoop:  This small scoop is essential for Chocolate Drop Cookies, CCC’s and every other drop cookie.

Flat Topped Whisk:  This is one of my favorite tools, most often used on my stove top to keep things like caramel and gravy from scorching.  This one is from Pampered Chef and is relatively inexpensive, like a few dollars. It has replaced the old “boinger” whisk I used for years.

Garlic Peeler: This green rubber thingy is a dandy tool.  Break nubs off a cluster of fresh garlic, place a few of them inside this rubber tube, and roll it with the foot of your hand.  The garlic will come out free of its membrane.

Flat Topped Spatula:  Not only is this vintage spatula well built and great for flipping pancakes, I also use it to scrape the bottom of a pan, similar to using the flat whisk.  Lots of spatulas these days have a curved edge, but I’m not a fan of them.

Pot Strainer:  Dave would call this his favorite tool.  It takes less room than a colander, but does the job with pasta.  Hold the half round strainer on top of the pasta pot, flip it and strain water into sink.

Garlic Press:  Minced or pressed garlic infuses quicker and offers a fresh garlic taste to some dishes. 

Metal Scraper:  This wide metal scraper is a must have for my kitchen island after pie crust making, or gingerbread boy or sugar cookie adventures.

Grater: this handled grater is dandy for cheese or spuds (fresh hashed browns)  You can put the metal part in a bowl and hold the handle while the other hand grates.  Less mess, and stores easier than traditional 3D graters.

Regular old hand cranked can opener:  This geared tool stores easily, works without electricity, and takes no room on the counter top.

I also need this:

Stainless Steel Scrubber.  If you are blessed with good steel pots and pans, this is essential in my mind.  I have cooked in places that do not have these, and after spending 5 minutes with a brush or sponge I am begging for a steel scrubber.  They get those pots clean pronto, and they can be tossed into the dishwasher to sanitize them since they are stainless.

And finally, just for Dave and our kids' sentimental memory, here’s my favorite spoon.  Thin, shallow bowl.  My lips just like it, that’s all.  That’s why I used those metal letter engravers I got at a garage sale to label this one.

So this is what a five minute look into my drawer gave me.  I can guarantee there are others.  But this is good for now.  Hope you have some of these in your drawer.


  1. A big Farberware steel pot and a stainless steel scrubbie to scour her by...

    The best stainless steel scrubbie always came in a green box from the Fuller Brush man. Yes?

  2. funny how a lot of our favs are the same! i love being your seestor!