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What's in YOUR kitchen?
Old 12-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
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What's in YOUR kitchen?

This funny Chicago Trib article prompted the post

The Village Idiot by Jim Mullen: All I don't want is another gadget


The Christmas shopping Season, brings out the creativity of merchants to provide the "latest" in "stuff" we buy, and need. As DW and I reminisced over the dozens of "must haves" that we've had over the past 50 years, we looked at the items we've actually used, and kept for an extended length of time, in
particular, the kitchen items.

Surprisingly, we couldn't find any of the utensils or small appliances that we had as we started out in "keeping house", even though by their nature, most of them are designed for permanent use... not as planned obsolescence. Given these multiple purchases, a natural question is why?... and have we learned anything along the way?... Are there brand names that we've found to be reliable? Are there mistakes we've made over and over?

Here, in no particular order are some thoughts... brands we've found to be good... items that we use regularly, items that we're still not happy with, etc, etc.

Electric Can opener - Still haven't found one we like
Knives - After dozens of knife sets, we found a good "Henckels" set. Have wasted many hundreds of dollars buying cheaper sets.
Toaster - Current inexpensive Proctor Silex works well... good for bagels.
Toaster Ovens - Owned many, used very little... don't have now.
Pots/Pans - We still haven't worn out our Revere Ware copper bottom set from 1950's...Over the years have bought many, many teflon sets, all brands... eventually worn out. Now, have invested in hardened anodized aluminum no stick.
Bakeware - have found no good metal ware... Use Pyrex only... other glass has broken in use.
Collander - Use and replace plastic collanders.
Coffee maker - Can't afford Keurig @$.70 to $1.00/cup. Use the no-carafe Hamilton Beach Brew Station and like it, but we're on the third one... easy to prep and clean, but had switch problems.
Blender- When the Oster Glass Top broke, we didn't replace. Don't miss the blender.
Slicers, Dicers - We don't use... sharp knives instead.
Pineapple corer - $5 from Aldi's... use it two or three times a week. (priceless)
Potato Parer- The same one we used in the Army. (swivel slotted blade)
Dishes - Corelle ware (Corning)... bought when the brand came out, around 1970.. Indestructable and as bright as the day we bought it. Grandma's China for guest dinners.
Glasses - We buy the best sets at Goodwill.
Wine and cocktail glasses - The most expensive lead crystal.. even Riedel. Also from Goodwill $.50 for $8 to $15 glasses. "ping" the glass!
Wine opener - Simple Wing Corkscrew
Pizza Pan - Heavy Stainless Commercial 18" - also for serving tray.
SS Dinnerware Utensils - Oneida
SS Barbecue set -
Spatulas, Scoops, Ladles - Dollar Store
Giant white ceramic cups - for soup, coffee, warming in microwave, mixing (most used item in kitchen)
Pizza Wheel -
Meat Thermometer -
Turkey Baster -
Pyrex Measuring Cup Glass -
Scissors - 7" 8" Fiskars. (Kitchen, Den, Bedroom, Garage) Buy once, Buy the Best.

What's in YOUR kitchen? ... and anything you don't use?
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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What's in YOUR kitchen? ... and anything you don't use?
Cats. But they use me
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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- We too have a good Henckels knife set, although I pretty much only use the chef's knife, and on occasion the cleaver. (Found a cheap bread knife does the job better than our Henckels one.)

- Kitchen Aid stand mixer, (bought on Kijiji for $100....perfect shape..seller was 'moving up' to a newer model).....my lady uses the bread hook attachment regularly.

- Kitchen Aid food processor, (also purchased unused, still in the box, on Kijiji, for substantially less than half price), but don't use it too often.

- Pizza stone....(make our own pizzas, using the stand mixer for the dough)....we regard the pizza stone as 'invaluable'

- Crock Pot...also invaluable, (rendering down poultry/etc carcasses for stock.....thence soups/stews. Also chilli, etc.)

- Manual can opener.

- Wing corkscrew.

- Electric kettle

- Cheapie Coffee Maker.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Cats. But they use me
But can they cook?
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Our American-made microwave oven preceded me in my husband's life - it must have been 30 years old. The plastic door handle broke off during a move a few years back, and after that it just seemed to get crankier, until it finally stopped radiating a year ago.

So we replaced it with a fine new Chinese-made one, which has already gone on the fritz.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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I can't let a good opportunity like this go to waste, so I'll make a recommendation for something I use at least a few times each week. Get the best knife sharpener you can and use it religiously.

For me, it's the Chef's Choice Model 130. Unquestionably the best designed electric sharpener I've ever used.

I used to be old school, with oilstones, whetstones, and all sorts of miscellaneous gadgets, including a good steel. By the way, I still use my steel for final honing (go ask a butcher where to buy a steel and get one there).

But now I find it incredibly easy to get a great edge on my knives with this electric model in a fraction of the time I used to take doing it manually.

I do almost all the cooking in our house, but DW blesses me probably once a week because she so much appreciates having really sharp knives available.

Incidentally, the most used knife in my kitchen is unquestionably my Chinese cleaver. Next time you're in the Chinatown of a big city, look for a store that sells kitchen supplies and buy a good Chinese cleaver. They're cheap and incredibly versatile.


Amazon.com: Chef's Choice 130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station, Platinum: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #7
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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But can they cook?
They are very good about cooking up trouble

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:48 PM   #9
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Pots: 4 stainless steel pots (assorted sizes), one non-stick frying pan, one pressure cooker, 4 cast irons pans and Dutch ovens (Le Creuset, assorted sizes).

KitchenAid stand mixer, blender, and can opener (manual).

Bodum French coffee press, Zojirushi water boiler (instant hot water for tea/coffee).

China: basic porcelain set from Crate and Barrel for everyday. Fine bone china from DW's grandmother for guests (65 years old).

Silverware: basic stainless steel set from K-mart for everyday. Sterling silver for guests (150 years old).

Glassware: basic glass set from William & Sonoma for everyday. Cheap crystal glasses for guests (looking to upgrade after several broke during the move to CA).

Knifes: Henckels Pro S set.

Pizza stone.

Most of our stuff is 11-12 years old (wedding gifts).

No toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker, or crock pot.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:55 PM   #11
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One of these days, my frugal wife may buy a set of really good knives instead of the cheapo ones that she kept buying. But recently, she started to demand better stuff, like a big and beefy deluxe Kitchen Aid mixer, and a big 2-gallon thermal cooker (mainly to make broth from soup bones).

As for me, the gadget I love is the standing wine bottle opener that I got from Costco a few years ago. I use it every 3 or 4 days. Uncork a bottle with a down/up stroke. Extract the cork from the corkscrew with another down/up stroke. Then start pouring the wine. Nice!




PS. I do not know what got to my wife, but she even wanted a racy red color for the mixer. It's this one.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:57 PM   #12
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I have about as little as a person can have in a kitchen. I have a microwave. I have a cheap set of knives. I have 1 spoon, 1 fork, 1 pizza cutter, 1 glass, and 2 bowls. That's it.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:01 PM   #13
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Kitchen stuff we love/use regularly

Utensils -- love Oxo brand. I have their paring knives, can opener, and potato peeler and use them daily for the most part (can opener not so much).

Delonghi espresso maker. Bought used from someone leaving beijing. One of our best purchases ever, as DH and I love our coffee.

Lodge enameled dutch oven. Replaced the one we had from Costco with this one last summer. Haven't used it much yet, but plan to use it much more in the new year. So far so good. Has a metal knob, which is nice.

Small food processor, I think it is Cuisinart brand? not at home now so can't check. Bought this used from a friend who found it was too small. Love it. Use it regularly for making pizza dough. Not so regularly for other stuff, but should use it more.

Large stainless steel wok, ASD brand. Got this used from someone leaving Beijing. Use every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

Rice cooker. Not particularly happy with our current one, which we inherited from former owners of our apartment, but a must-have for the Asian family.

Glass baking dishes from Ikea. Use these frequently for roasting vegetables, etc.

Stainless steel roasting pan from Ikea. Use this for roasting/baking meats.

Knives from Ikea. We have both chef's knives and bread knife, both of which I love. Oh, and a cleaver.

Cutlery. Have that wooden handled style that we really like -- much from thrift stores, though we did buy a separate set as well as some steak knives last year.

Things that we use a lot but don't necessarily love

Wine opener. Inherited a rabbit from a colleague, but hate it -- can't really figure out how it is supposed to work. got a cheaper one from Ikea that is ok, but not great.

Pepper grinder. Wooden. Not totally happy with it. If anyone has recommendations this is something I'd like to upgrade

Glasses/Dishes: mostly inherited or purchased at IKEA. not thrilled about most of them, except the cereal bowls and two mugs from IKEA. And a set of glasses -- they were cheap and durable. Will probably upgrade dishes at some point. Need new wine glasses as well, as the ones we got are too flimsy, but will wait until they break before upgrading.

Bread maker. used this a lot at one point, but not so much now that DH and I are both trying to eat fewer carbs. Probably should resurrect bread baking at home, though, as it is better than what we can get in stores.

Mortar and pestle -- from IKEA, ok, not great, but not used enough that it merits upgrading.

Cutting boards -- mostly plastic mat type from Ikea. OK, not great.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:05 PM   #14
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We have an appliance garage which houses our blender, crock pot , waffle maker , steamer and assorted other gadgets . It keeps them contained and keeps the counter tops neat .We use our crock pot a lot but my favorite gadget is a tiny chopper . It's great for chopping up celery or onion.Our everyday dishes are red fiesta wear and for special occasions we have antique china that I inherited .I also have Christmas dishes which are on the counter and ready for tomorrow's eating frenzy .
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:08 PM   #15
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- We too have a good Henckels knife set, although I pretty much only use the chef's knife....
Love the chef's knife for almost every task.

We are having work done on our kitchen and have ditched the old crockpot and a few other small electric appliances because the cords were iffy to the point of fire hazardish and we don't have the I-can-fix-this gene. We sent some other electrics to the Salvation Army: wok, bread warmer, indoor grill, cookie maker, frying pan, etc. For sentimental reasons we kept the 40 year old electric fondue pot. I can't remember why .

DH typically uses a stick blender every morning for a smoothie--great invention that stick blender.

We have been using a keurig coffee maker while kitchen is closed. We have a little basket thingie to fill with our own coffee so it's cheap (but it's fun to try the k-cup flavors and no cleanup so we usually use those).

New to our kitchen last year are silicone basting brushes vs. the natural bristles--they clean up 100 percent.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #16
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Pepper grinder. Wooden. Not totally happy with it. If anyone has recommendations this is something I'd like to upgrade...
I bought a pepper and salt grinder set from Costco quite a few years ago. They are clear plastic but BIG, and about the same size as a wine bottle, hence hold a lot of pepper and salt. Yeah, why fool around with tiny teeny shakers? Perhaps the pepper corns lose their freshness if you only refill it every other year, but the convenience is worth it to me.

Just went to Costco site, but it appears they do not carry it anymore.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:18 PM   #17
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Okay, I know you are going to laugh. A few years ago, I was taken in by an infomercial, selling the "Vidalia Chop Wizard". My family made fun of me. Until it arrived. I have to say this has been one of the best additions to our kitchen. When I have to dice, onions, celery, peppers, or whatever, this is one slick device. It cuts my prep time for gumbo, and chili easily in half.

Plus because I acted fast, I got the cap snaffler. "It snaffles caps off of all bottles, jars and jugs, and it really, really works."
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:25 PM   #18
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I bought a pepper and salt grinder set from Costco quite a few years ago. They are clear plastic but BIG, and about the same size as a wine bottle, hence hold a lot of pepper and salt. Yeah, why fool around with tiny teeny shakers? Perhaps the pepper corns lose their freshness if you only refill it every other year, but the convenience is worth it to me.

Just went to Costco site, but it appears they do not carry it anymore.
My pepper grinder is a wonder, and I absolutely love it. Not huge, but after seven years, it's still extraordinarily reliable and efficient.
Amazon.com: Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill 6" Black: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:26 PM   #19
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Plus because I acted fast, I got the cap snaffler. "It snaffles caps off of all bottles, jars and jugs, and it really, really works."


How late was it that night when you stayed up, watched TV, and "acted fast"?

Anyway, I need to log off now to go start making that chicken liver+pork terrine that I got the ingredients for. See ya all later.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:29 PM   #20
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Oh, also new to us are very thin plastic cutting "boards" that go into the dishwasher and take up little room in a cabinet.

And I believe salt boxes are becoming very trendy thanks to cable cooking shows.
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