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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: My Top Ten Kitchen Essentials

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Top Ten Kitchen Essentials

Little known fact: I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Oh...wait...you knew that? For real? Wow.  There I was, thinking I was all mysterious about how I spend my free time.

For someone who lives in the kitchen, there are bound to be tools which are absolutely essential to ensuring that your finished product is, well, edible.  There are others which are not quite so essential, but they sure do make life easier.  In my little old opinion, here's 10 which I know I couldn't live without.

My Favorite Non-Essentials:

1) Stand mixer - In how many ways has my stand mixer changed my life? How much time have you got to read this? Seriously, I don't know what I did without my girl (Yes, she's a girl.  Say something, I dare you).  Whether being used to knead dough while I'm doing something else, to mix ultra thick cake batter which I know my hand-held mixer couldn't manage and then whip up the frosting, or to help bring cookie dough together in a flash...my KitchenAid is truly the superstar of my kitchen.  Next to me, of course.

2) Slow cooker - Our slow cooker gets used at least 3 times a week, sometimes as many as 4 or 5.  Like the stand mixer, the slow cooker has changed my life in many happy ways.  There is absolutely nothing like coming home to the smell of a roast or stew which has been cooking all day long.  We've used it to make chicken, meatloaf, pork roast, soup, meatballs.  Most recently, Rob made a jambalaya in there which knocked my socks clear off my feet.  It was fabulous.  Plus it helps keep food warm during parties, which is a huge bonus.

3) Food processor - Where oh where have you been all my life, glorious food processor? I've had mine for just shy of a year and, honestly, I have no idea what I did without it (see a trend here?).  From breaking down tons of veggies and fresh bradcrumbs for a vat of meatballs and sauce to mixing the creamiest deviled egg filling imaginable to making quick work of chopping jars of olives and shredding cheese for olive cheesy bread, I've used this baby a lot over the past 52 weeks or so.  Oh, and most recently I made a killer pasta dough with it.  It's so versatile and a total workhorse.  I love it.

4) Wooden spoons - Wait, what? Not another small appliance? Well, no.  Not all superstar tools have to be plugged in to be amazing.  My wooden spoons have seen me through a lot of cooking projects and, except for the one that broke (RIP old friend), they're going strong.  I have around a half dozen and would happily keep buying more and more...only I don't have enough room for them.  And I think there's a good possibility that Rob would kill me if I cluttered up the kitchen more than I already have.  I'm tempted to move these into the "essential" category - they're just that important to have around, and plastic tools can melt and warp.  But they're not really a 100% must-have.

5) Someone to clean it all up when you're finished - This one needs no explanation.


The Essentials:

1) A Sense of Humor - Please don't take yourself too seriously in the kitchen.  As long as you're abiding by the rules of food safety and not allowing cooking oil to explode into flames, it's all fair game.  Laugh at yourself and your mistakes.  Burned dinner? Sounds like a good excuse to order takeout!

2) A Sense of Calm - BE CALM.  Panic hurts people! Panic hurts appliances! Panic possibly hurts entire kitchens and/or homes! If you're in a panic you're that much likelier to cause an accident, and no one needs that.  Just relax.  It's only cooking.  The food will be done when the food is done.  And again, if you don't succeed there's always pizza.

3) Common Sense - When you read a recipe for the first time, especially if it's not printed in a cookbook (but even if it is), really read it.  Does it make sense to you? Do you think there's a typo? Everyone makes mistakes, even recipe writers.  Just keep an eye out and you may avoid making the same mistake as someone I know who, due to a problem converting a recipe from a website to their iPhone, added 3 cups of soy sauce to a dish instead of 1/3 cup.  Guess what they had for dinner that night...? You can't always trust what's written down.

4) Imagination - Do you think you could make a dish taste better by adding your own little flare? Do you wonder what this ingredient would taste like if you mixed it with that one? Give it a shot! What do you have to lose? Worst case scenario, it doesn't turn out well.  Now, do I suggest experimenting with expensive ingredients? Um, no.  Just be fearless when and where you can.  You never know - you might make magic happen.

5) Knowledge - Do you know what to do in case of a cooking oil fire? Do you know how to avoid cross-contamination? When using your knife to slice or chop, what do you do with the fingers of your inactive hand? Should you use a damp dishtowel to grab a pan out of the oven? You need to know the answers to these sorts of questions - ask someone or use the trusty internet.  Play it safe.

Are there any essentials in YOUR kitchen - the sort of stuff you just can't do without?

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Caren with a "C" said...

Oh this was great! I love your style of writing with the humor mixed in. It was also surprising and kept me reading. Wonderful post!
Stopped by from 31 day blog challenge!
Now you can stop by and see my 5 Essential Herbs for Your Garden so you can use them in your kitchen!

February 8, 2011 at 4:03 PM

 
OpenID coolestfamilyontheblock said...

My list would be much shorter
1. Fridge 2. Microwave
...Can you tell I don't cook?!

But I DO love to eat and this post made me hungry. And I'm on a diet. Therefore I did not click on any of your cleverly embedded links that may cause me to raid my fridge. Shame on you for trying to make me cheat on my diet! Shame!

Stopping by from SITS31dbbb ;)

February 8, 2011 at 4:05 PM

 
Blogger KB and Whitesnake said...

I needmore help on no 5, hehe! Thanks for visiting our blog.

February 8, 2011 at 4:30 PM

 
Blogger shelley said...

great list, love the someone to clean up and sense of humor!!
*waving,
shelley "the hostess"

February 8, 2011 at 4:41 PM

 
Blogger Jenn @ South of Sheridan said...

This is a great list. I have a sunbeam stand mixer that hubby got me for Christmas the first year we were together. He doesn't seem to understand that it's really not the same as a kitchenaid . . . oh well. Maybe I'll get one eventually for an anniversary. :)

February 8, 2011 at 5:36 PM

 
Blogger Joann Mannix said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom. Here's my essentials. Take out menus. I really wish I cooked more. I think I'd feel like I was doing a better job as a mom, if I cooked more, but I nurture them with restaurant food. Maybe the same?

And even though, I'm not a cook, I am a foodie. I love reading all your fabulous recipes and food ideas.

February 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM

 
Blogger Andrea said...

This was such a great list! My fiance and I registered for a beautiful KitchenAid mixer and I can't wait to play with it. And I just started a healthy eating blog so this was fun to read and relate to!

February 8, 2011 at 9:17 PM

 
Anonymous Brandie@thecountrycook said...

Great list and ALL true (especially the bit about being calm!). We've all had disasters in the kitchen. Great post!!

February 8, 2011 at 9:38 PM

 
Blogger Shell said...

LOL @ someone to clean it up! Oh, how I want one of those!

February 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM

 
Blogger Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I adore my stand mixer! I don't know what I did before that thing.

February 9, 2011 at 6:58 AM

 
Blogger The Empress said...

I like how you mich tangibles with intangibles.

BOTH necessary in the kitchen, as I am a caterer, and boy,,,,can I attest to that.

Very cute.

February 9, 2011 at 8:33 AM

 
Anonymous Nain @ View From Down Here said...

Um...essentials? A glass of wine to have while you're cooking? And I worship/love my crockpot. I don't know what I'd do without it!

I got a fancy new food processor as a wedding gift and have yet to use it. Might need to break that puppy out...

February 9, 2011 at 10:05 AM

 
Blogger Keri S. said...

I love this list! I am someone that needs this for inspiration...LOL

Keri
www.marriedtoageek.net
#sitsgirsl31ddd

February 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM

 
Blogger SamanthaD said...

I got a stand mier for Christmas several years ago and love it - another thing I would add to my list is a breadmaker, we use ours nonstop.

Sam
The Mom and Dad Reviews

February 9, 2011 at 12:58 PM

 
Blogger Nicole Rivera said...

I just wrote to someone else yesterday about my love of my kitchenaide mixer!! It is so wonderful and versatile! Did you know it has an attachment to become an ICE CREAM MAKER TOO?! Simply overwhelming!

And, honestly, not enough praise goes in the direction of the wooden spoons! They are magnificent!

February 9, 2011 at 12:59 PM

 
Anonymous anne maskell said...

Sigh... please send help for #5! Great list. I think we are cooking in the same kitchen! Thanks for visiting me!

February 9, 2011 at 1:06 PM

 
Blogger Kristen said...

thank you for visiting my blog, your site is lovely! I adore my kitchen aid stand mixer. But I'd have to add my immersion blender to your list. Because we are a largely gluten and dairy free kitchen, that immersion blender is a necessity for creamy soups and sauces!

February 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM

 
Blogger Alison said...

I am a reluctant cook and learned when I gave myself a cooking challenge in November that I rarely read recipes properly. Perhaps that's why I don't have a lot of success.

I also don't have a slow cooker and am always being told I *have* to have one so maybe for my birthday.

And yes, to the wooden spoons. Never can have to many IMO!

Great post.

February 9, 2011 at 10:57 PM

 
Blogger I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Stumbled!

I'd never cook without the slow cooker ;-)

February 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

I love, love, love my Kitchenaid mixer!

February 11, 2011 at 6:26 AM

 
Anonymous Carla said...

I love your sense of humor and style of writing. I came over from SITS and this is my first visit to your blog. I want to come back often now. I love my Kitchen Aid Mixer and Slow cooker too! I'm not much of a cook, but my husband loves cooking! I am blessed!

February 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM

 

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