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Thread: Best kitchen prep ustensils, including knife favorite brands.

  1. #1
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    Best kitchen prep ustensils, including knife favorite brands.

    Big apologies for posting on top of the cute pet thread but those don't qualify as EDC more like Every Day Use.

    The healthier I eat, the more kitchen tools I need, please share your favorite brands!

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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Back in the day I used to sell kitchen equipment, so I have some favorites, but here's a secret: for gadgets and most small kit, most are kind of the same. For instance, I wouldn't spend a ton of money on an All-Clad spoon. But that's just me. For spatulas, spoons, tongs, whisks, and even pots and pans, a professional kitchen supply store is often your best bet since the items are serviceable, if not particularly attractive, and can withstand abuse and automatic dishwashers.

    My pots and pans: All-Clad (used to be US-made, but not so much anymore, sadly); Le Creuset. I can vouch for Lodge, too.

    Small appliances: Kitchen Aid. Really good customer service.

    Knives: despite what I might have told customers, you really only need three knives: a chef's knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. At a push, maybe a utility knife, which is narrow-bladed but longer than the standard 3-4" paring knife — usually 6-7". I've owned a Wustof Classic 8" chef's knife for over 15 years. Never had to have it professionally sharpened, but I hone it religiously. If I had to do it over, I'd get a 10". The important thing is to hold the knife and make sure it fits your hand well; what works for one person may feel odd to someone else. If you can actually use the knife to chop something before buying it, so much the better.

    My dream knife is a custom-made Bob Kramer. He operates (or used to, anyway) out of Seattle.

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    dlg
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    I will also vouch for Le Creuset, also. We've had good luck with Oxo branded utensils, but the handles can be bulky and honestly my favorite flipper is some no-name nothing from the local big box store. I think I just proved Badger's point to just go buy whatever at the restaurant supply. I will exempt spatulas from this - all silicone spatulas are amazing for cleaning up. Nothing gets stuck in any crevasses and turns nasty.

    Oh! Get an Oxo salad spinner, the kind you push down on to spin, not the pull-a-cord one! They're great for salads and pretty much anything else you need to rinse clean. We had just the large one until recently, but it's been so useful we bought a small to go along with it and gave away our dedicated colander.

    Beehouse pretty much anything is awesome. We have a couple of their tea pots and a coffee pourover. I have a teacup of theirs at work.

    Knives: I use the heck out of a 7" Santoku knife instead of a chefs knife, and a paring knife, and not much else. Sometimes a bread knife, but that's about it.

    This is mainly making me think about all the kitchen doo-dads we have, and how infrequently we use most of them. Jeez. Probably time to declutter.

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    Registered User aryabird's Avatar
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    Pots and Pans: I love my Calphalon Stainless set.
    Knives: Only have 4 all from Global Cutlery. A Santoku, bread, paring, and flexible boning knife.
    Vitamix: replaced 4 other gadgets with this.
    KitchenAid hand mixer: Great alternative to their stand mixer in my small kitchen

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    I have way too many utensils and pots and pans, but 90% of the time I use the following 4 things:
    -All-Clad 10" frying pan - All their pans are great, but this size is just right for most things you would cook for 1-2 people.
    -Shun 8" chef's knife - Same as the pans, I have a block full of Shun knives and love them all, but I reach for this the most often by far.
    -Cheap 12" tongs, non-locking from restaurant supply store - I have 4 pairs like this, plus one 15" pair for the grill. They are like extensions of my hands, and I use them for everything from flipping steaks to moving pans around in the oven.
    -Thermoworks Thermapen super-fast instant read thermometer - I'm a nerd and cook by temperature for almost everything. This brand is more expensive than most, but 1) it really is substantially faster than the cheap ones and 2) I have had mine for 5+ years and never had it fail. I bought mine before they made the waterproof models, but if mine ever fails I will upgrade to one of those in a second.

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    I'm thirding Le Creuset and seconding Calphalon Stainless Steel for pots and pans.

    I haven't found a knife love. So I will be checking out some of the comments from others.

    For Small appliances, I'm learning that manufacturers seem to have a specialty, meaning they make one thing really well, but when they branch out and try other types of things, somebody else does a better job.

    I love my Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine for mixing, kneading, and whipping. I thought it would also do other functions well with the accessory attachments, hence the blender jar. It does not in my opinion. I found out the same thing with my Kitchen Aid. I got the grain grinding attachment. It didn't do the job well and the motor died on my KA after using it about 6 times.

    I love my Vitamix for blending and some other kinds of food prep, but am keeping my Cuisinart three cup Mini chopper because for little bits of chopping veggies like onions or dates, it's easier to get the contents out because it's shallow and I can remove the blade.

    For other prep items, I'm coming to love just about anything silicone. I second full silicone spatulas for being the cleanest. I have three and am looking for more. I mostly use my wooden handled ones for stirring into deep containers with the silicone spatula head removed. I'm freaked out about something growing inside of my spatula. I also love silicone baking cups, pinch pots, measuring cups, and baking mats. I have a few different sized silicone splatter covers that also work wonderfully to seal bowls in the fridge. I am sure Badger knows the best place to buy these types of things having sold them, but I troll TJ MAXX and Marshalls and find my goodies there.

    For bread makers I have a West Bend Just For Dinner. It makes a half pound loaf in 45 minutes from start to finish. I mostly use the whole wheat (my home milled wheat) recipe and I have never had a loaf failure (unlike my full sized bread maker from a big box store). I mention this one because it's just clever. I saw one at a friend's home and then went looking for my own. I wasn't able to find them in stores. I got our first one for $3.13 at Value Village, and I have a backup (its going to the Travel Trailer) that I paid $4.14 for in a different thrift store. We usually like home made bread when it is hot and fresh, but it's not healthy for us to consume a pound+loaf in one sitting. This bread maker allows us to have piping hot fresh bread at dinner and no leftovers.

    My final favorite is my fridge. It's a Kenmore Treo. It's so huge, it's a must have for our family, especially with our recent trend towards more fresh fruits and veggies and away from prepared foods.

    I have gotten so many ideas from other forum members so I will be following this thread closely. My recent interest in healthy food has sparked interest in being in the kitchen more than I have ever had. I'm a person who relishes having the right tools and I don't like the feeling of making do (spoiled). As I experiment more, I'm sure I will find more kitchen items I need.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Back in the day I used to sell kitchen equipment, so I have some favorites, but here's a secret: for gadgets and most small kit, most are kind of the same. For instance, I wouldn't spend a ton of money on an All-Clad spoon. But that's just me. For spatulas, spoons, tongs, whisks, and even pots and pans, a professional kitchen supply store is often your best bet since the items are serviceable, if not particularly attractive, and can withstand abuse and automatic dishwashers.

    My pots and pans: All-Clad (used to be US-made, but not so much anymore, sadly); Le Creuset. I can vouch for Lodge, too.

    Small appliances: Kitchen Aid. Really good customer service.

    Knives: despite what I might have told customers, you really only need three knives: a chef's knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. At a push, maybe a utility knife, which is narrow-bladed but longer than the standard 3-4" paring knife — usually 6-7". I've owned a Wustof Classic 8" chef's knife for over 15 years. Never had to have it professionally sharpened, but I hone it religiously. If I had to do it over, I'd get a 10". The important thing is to hold the knife and make sure it fits your hand well; what works for one person may feel odd to someone else. If you can actually use the knife to chop something before buying it, so much the better.

    My dream knife is a custom-made Bob Kramer. He operates (or used to, anyway) out of Seattle.
    Recent News - My Store

    In the link there is a pictures of a knife set, I usually use a couple of cheap steak knives I got as a set a couple of years ago.

    I want better quality steak knives and also the two smaller knives pictured. Could you tell me what they are called?

    I want a made in U.S.A or Europe or Japan brand.

    And you are right I need to hold a knife before purchasing it. Could restaurant supply stores have the kitchen knives made in the places I listed above, available to try on?

    And could they sell the smaller knives by themselves.


    By the way I love. love. love all the recommendations! Keep them coming.

    I have a mini Kitchen Aid mixer, I used it in desperation when our kitten got sick and I was pureeing all sorts of human food to make sure she ate.


    I want small appliances, because there is only two of us and if a doggy is added, she or he will be a small or even toy breed as they are allowed in planes and pretty much everywhere and also easier to walk but may be, more expensive to groom.

    I also would love to experience RV Travel , maybe once or more, if we like it, so minimalist things are a must.
    So I will be asking questions to Dorayme and AV Service on that one.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-13-2013 at 08:15 PM.

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    Hi Everyone!

    The title of this thread got me quite excited as I love cooking utensils and gadgets. I currently own two knife block sets: a Mundial set of knives, and a Global set (made in Japan). By far, the Global knives are my favorite, as they are sharp and comfortable to use. Each knife is forged from one piece of metal so the look is very clean.

    I recently acquired a Thermomix machine which is supposed to replace about 10 different kitchen gadgets. It is somewhat pricey but for the sake of convenient, fast, healthy cooking for my family, I thought it was a worthwhile investment. I only bought it very recently so I haven't had a chance to play with / use it a lot yet. But for the 1 week that I've had it, I've made pumpkin soup, cauliflower / potato soup, mushroom soup, Risotto, and fruit slushy with it. The soups normally takes about 20 - 30 min from prep to finish, whereas it would probably take me three times as long by traditional stovetop method. Same with the risotto...that is, much shorter time to cook it. I have seen the Thermomix cook a complete main meal of steamed rice, and chicken cashew & vegetable with sauce in less than 45min, pretty much all at the same time. There is a forum for Thermomix owners where they share recipes and it is amazing to find out how versatile the Thermomix is in being able to prepare dishes from different cultures (Indian, Chinese, etc.). I am pretty impressed and excited about this machine and what it could do for our meals.

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    KmK
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    I *love* to cook...love the creativity of it, the connections with writing and visual arts, I like offering a good meal to the others with whom I live, find it a meditative delight...(just wrote a blog post about lentils and humility, actually...). I'm pretty simple about the process, if complex or diverse with the flavors. The one treat is a Cuisinart immersion blender. LOVE that thing. Makes life so much easier.

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    dlg
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    Definitely seconding the immersion blender. I laughed when we got it as a wedding gift, but darned if we don't use it all the time.

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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Recent News - My Store
    the two smaller knives pictured. Could you tell me what they are called?
    The ones at the very bottom? The smallest is a paring knife and the larger is either a long paring knife or (more likely) a utility knife.

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    Backpack, to try out knives check out Williams-Sonoma or Sur la Table. W-S will let you try all of the knives and they sell open stock for most so you don't have to buy the whole set.

    As for brands, I second Global knives.

    I also love the ultimate sandwich knife by shun. You can get an inexpensive version made by shun subsidiary, KAI it's in their "Pure Komachi" line.
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    Link for the Pure Komachi sandwich knife: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...w_bottom_links
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    Nli
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    I love immersion blenders and recommend the Bamix brand very highly. My first I owned for 24 years until it was lost in a move. Bought a Cuisinart and just was not as good. Heart the Internet for finding me another Bamix. The second is just as good, unusual these days IMO! In our family we call it "the motorboat" and use it for drinks, smoothies, soups, etc and to make the most amazing "whipped cream" from skim milk (recipe online; have to see and taste to believe). One of the most versatile tools in my kitchen.

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    Nli
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nli View Post
    I love immersion blenders and recommend the Bamix brand very highly. My first I owned for 24 years until it was lost in a move. Bought a Cuisinart and just was not as good. Heart the Internet for finding me another Bamix. The second is just as good, unusual these days IMO! In our family we call it "the motorboat" and use it for drinks, smoothies, soups, etc and to make the most amazing "whipped cream" from skim milk (recipe online; have to see and taste to believe). One of the most versatile tools in my kitchen.
    Relevant article in the NY Times today! Use caution!
    http://nyti.ms/WId1cg

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