My friend Gin can tell you that I think it’s sacrilegious if you do not have these three items in your kitchen. I harped on her consistently that she didn’t have a true kitchen, because she didn’t have these things. Sure – these things might seem simple, obvious, and perhaps, well, there are “cooler” tools out there. But these form the mandatory base of your tools. If the domain name wasn’t already taken, heck, I’d call my site something involving these things.
Do you have horrible visions of your parents threatening to whip you with one of these when you were naughty? Let’s re-envision that – wooden spoons are your friends! You can use a wooden spoon for just about anything. It doesn’t melt if you leave it in a hot cooking pot. It won’t burn the ever-living skin off of your hand if you touch it while it’s hot. According to DJ SnuggleMonster, if you put it over a pot of boiling water (say with pasta contained within), the water won’t boil over (this trick actually works!!!!). If you are deglazing a pan, the wooden spoon can get ALL of those bits off the bottom of the pan. And regardless, it won’t ever tear up your non-stick/teflon cooking pans. Also – when you are making a roux or any sauce you’re trying to thicken up, a wooden spoon is your best indicator of whether your sauce is thick enough. Do this by dipping the wooden spoon into the sauce, holding it horizontal with the back facing you, and run your finger through the center horizontally. If the sauce bleeds into the tract, then it’s not thick enough. And you can’t get the same kind of reliability with metal or plastic. Plus, wooden spoons have been around since man invented fire (that’s definitely historically accurate), so you know it has to be a sure thing. And they look cute in the kitchen – that whole rustic vibe!
WHISK (YES, TWO TYPES)
Yes, there are two types of whisks you will absolutely need. But, heck, I’d be satisfied if you managed with one. So, then, why two? One is a metal one (your basic all-purpose), and the other is a plastic coated end one. Whisks are VITAL. If you are baking and don’t want to sift your dry ingredients, add them all into a big bowl and whisk them to break apart clumps, lighten up the ingredients, and incorporate fully. Have lumps in your gravy or sauce or just want to avoid clumps and make something super smooth? Whisk it! Combining wet and dry ingredients is a cinch with a whisk. If you are making homemade mac and cheese or gravy or anything that uses a roux (I know, I mentioned roux again), you’re going to have to use a whisk to get the butter and flour combined, and then incorporate the liquid without it seizing up and lumping up on you (then you can switch to a wooden spoon). And this is where you want to have two whisks – the plastic coated one will come in handy when you need to mix something in your pots and pans and don’t want to scratch/screw up the non-stick coating. No damage, same effect on your cooking. The metal one you can use when you’re baking or in glassware. Hey, eggs need some whisk love too – and those don’t really need really need fancy plastic coated whisks do they?
Ok, spoonula probably calls to mind the spork that you were forced to use in elementary school to save schools from having to provide forks and spoons. So, sure, this is the spork’s grown up cousin. And I’m sure you’ve seen this tool – even if you haven’t heard the name or call it “that thing over there.” The spoonula is the best of spoon and rubber spatula. It wasn’t initially on my list – only a whisk and a wooden spoon. But it’s slowly crept into the top three. A little bit extra mayonnaise in the bottom of the jar that you can’t get out with a regular table knife but need for your BLT? Spoonula gets it all out of all the nooks and crannies. Mixing up some cake batter and need to get to the bottom of the bowl, but don’t want to have use another tool to scrape things out of a regular spoon? Spoonula. You can even use it with your sauces or to flip an omelet. The spoonula is great, too, because it’s non-stick, so most things come clean off with just a swipe.
So…go get out now. Yes, now, and stock up on these things. In fact, get two or three. And you don’t have to go to Williams and Sonoma or a fancy restaurant supply store. Unlike some other high-tech kitchen items, these can be found at your grocery store or big box store like Target or Walmart.