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Love in The Kitchen: Re-usable, versatile, durable

30 May. 2013 Posted by Hannah Mich
Green kitchen gadgets, green ktichen tips, durable kitchen gadgets, wooden cooking utensils, stainless steel cookware, glass bakeware, mortar and pestle

In the background is playing Moonlight Serenade by The Glenn Miller Orchestra. The aroma of garlic and onions sautéing fills the kitchen and dining room. Then there are a few delightful squeals from my 10-month-old daughter as she happily watches me crush herbs with my mortar and pestle. I only hope that one day she might be doing the same – enjoying an evening cooking with her daughter.

I look around and see mixing bowls that once were my great grandmother’s and mason jars that were my grandmother’s. Then a black, tin box catches my eye and I think of all the countless recipes it holds, which were passed down from generation to generation.

It seems that cheap and disposable items are all too often favored even in the kitchen. Those items are everywhere in stores from aluminum pie pans to plastic bags. I tell you with the deepest conviction that they lack all of the necessary “ingredients” to make a great kitchen item, or gadget.

The kitchen items that really stand out and are irreplaceable to me are the ones that are re-usable, versatile and durable. These items are so well made they can be passed down from generation to generation. Below I have compiled a list of my 10 all-time favorite kitchen items.

1. Stainless steel cookware is safe and durable. I have Cuisinart’s stainless steel cookware and have been very happy with its performance. Cast Iron cookware is another safe and durable option as well. Avoid non-stick cookware.

2. Pyrex bakeware is durable and from my experiences bakes items very evenly. I bake breads, casseroles and so much more in my Pyrex bakeware.

3. Mortar and pestle is such a wonderful kitchen gadget that has been around for thousands of years to grind corn and crush and mix medicines. I have a medium sized marble mortar and pestle. However, they can be made from granite, ceramic and wood; and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

4. Wooden cooking utensils are also very durable and much safer than many plastics used to make cooking utensils. They do not melt. They do not react to acidic food. They do not scratch or harm pots and pans. Many woods can be used for cooking utensils including bamboo, beechwood and olive wood. I even found these beautiful spatulas made from Cherrie wood on Etsy. [ Warning : do not leave wooden utensils soaking in dish water.]

5. A wired cooling rack is a must in any baker’s kitchen. It allows baked items to cool much more efficiently. I also use mine at dinnertime to put large hot dishes on instead of hot-pads. There are so many shapes, sizes and designs you will be sure to find one that suits your needs.

6. Dish clothes seem kind of old fashioned, especially with all the disposable sponges and paper towels available. But I have found that they are the best for getting dishes, countertops and stovetops clean. I have ones that have one side rough with mesh and the other side softer and mesh free. I change my dish clothes out every week and throw in the washer with my towels to get clean.

7. A canvas apron saves me loads of laundry. It prevents my clothes from suffering the abuse of all the spills and splashes that happen in the kitchen. It may not be versatile, but it is durable and reusable.

8. A Slow-cooker or crock-pot is a time-saver, money-saver and makes cooking easy. Do not go cheap with your crock-pot. If you buy wisely you will enjoy it for years and years. I love cooking whole chickens, homemade marinara sauce and soups from scratch in my crock-pot. It has gotten so much use and is just now starting to show a few signs of wear. Here are some tips on picking out a slow-cooker.

9. A Stand-mixer is such a great investment even with the upfront costs. I have a Kitchenaid stand-mixer and I use it every chance I get. It is my kitchen companion during the holiday seasons. I can mix batters for cookies and cakes. I can whip egg whites for meringues. I can even grind meat and cut homemade noodles with extra attachments.

10. A Glass measuring cup is durable and once again versatile. Unlike plastic I can safely measure hot and cold liquids in it. I frequently melt butter in mine. I use it for both baking and cooking and it rarely gets put back in the cupboard because it is either being washed or used.

Although I have given links to many new items, I want to point out that used or hand-me-down kitchen items are wonderful as well. They often have character and stories to go with them. And with a little TLC they can be passed on to another cook again and again.

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