Must-Have Kitchen Tools

This morning I was inspired by a post at SimpleMom about essential household tools. It got me thinking about my can’t-live-without kitchen tools, and those kitchen tools I AM living without but should probably invest in.

Kitchen Tools That Make Me Happy

1. Kitchen Scissors. I went a long time without owning a pair of kitchen scissors, and I’m not sure how I did it, frankly. From slicing open meat  packages to quickly snipping the top off hard-to-open pouches, I use these babies many times a day.

2. Flexible cutting boards. I almost didn’t buy these because I found them less attractive than some of the more solid type. But they make clean-up so simple and fit easily in the dishwasher even when it’s at almost-max capacity.

3. Batter Bowl. I have two from the Pampered Chef that have volume markings along the side. Not only are they great for stirring up and pouring out batter, but you can also use them as a big ole measuring cup that doubles as a mixing bowl.

4. Slotted Spoons. I use my slotted spoons a LOT. I use them when I want to fish noodles and carrots out of soup to feed Clara, who’s mastered eating with her hands but not so much scooping soup up with a spoon. I use them for serving veggies that have been boiled or steamed in a bit of water.

5. Rubber Scraper. I love to bake, especially quick breads, and my rubber scrapers see a LOT of use. They’re essential for getting every last bit of life-affirming banana bread batter off the sides of the bowl. You can also use them to get the last little bit of peanut butter or spaghetti sauce out of the jar.

Tools I Don’t Have, But Want

1. Good Kitchen Knives. Mine are pathetic. Somehow I never really realize this as I’m sweating while sawing through an onion. I notice it later, when I use somebody else’s really good knives and wonder where they’ve been all my life. Would love your recommendations for good kitchen knives that won’t break the bank!

2. Food Processor. I have been wanting a food processor for at least a decade, but it’s one of those fairly large purchases I keep putting off until I “need” it–and of course it’s always been more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have.” But everyone I know who has a food processor loves it to death. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Kenmore processor that was a gift for a blogger event I went to a couple months ago. If it shows up this month I’ll come back and report!

3. Ladle. I have no idea how I manage to not own a ladle, but it’s true: I don’t have one. (Even though I have about four slotted spoons.) At one point I did, but it got lost in a move and I have just never replaced it. How can you serve soup without a ladle, you ask? Verrry carefully. (Or, you use a measuring cup. Works in a pinch but not exactly ideal…)

4. Cast-Iron Pots. Durable, versatile, precise cooking, and heavy enough to bash an intruder’s head in with, cast-iron skillets, pots and pans were what I grew up with. So why don’t I have any now? Good question…must rectify that situation.

5. An old-fashioned hand beater. Getting out the electric beater is kind of overkill for small jobs, and I actually get a lot of satisfaction out of mixing by hand–but my attempts at beating by hand with a whisk don’t always quite do the job well enough. I’ve been thinking about getting a manual beater for those jobs. Mix up, rinse off, toss in the dishwasher–how easy is that?

What are your can’t-live-without kitchen tools…and which are currently on your wish list?

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