While the ingredients you cook with affects the quality of the resulting dish, so too do the cooking utensils you use. Whether you are an experienced or an aspiring chef, knowing how to use different utensils will help you make your ingredients shine.With the exception of your hands, your cooking utensils are your primary point of contact with the ingredients. This means that you should opt for sturdy utensils of the best quality you can afford. While you may have to shell out some more money to buy quality now, you will not only save money in the long run but you will also enjoy many more delicious meals along the way. Preparing food properly is in many ways an art. As a result, using the proper cooking utensils in the right manner means the difference between an exquisite meal and a fumbled attempt.
Cooking Utensil Selections
Cooking utensils can serve a variety of purposes in your kitchen. For the sake of classification, here are the major types of cooking utensils:
- Knives: paring knives, French knives, bread knives, citrus knives, etc.
- Measuring utensils: measuring cups, kitchen scales, timers, thermometers, etc.
- Mixing utensils: bowls, spoons, whisks, scrapers, spatulas, blenders, etc.
- Preparation utensils: a can opener, colanders for draining, pastry brushes for painting liquids and glazes on desserts or entrees, basting brushes, kitchen shears, rolling pins, vegetable brushes, etc.
- Other: turners, mashers, strainers, cutting boards, graters, shredders, bakeware, etc.
Cooking Utensil Essentials: How to Start Building Your Own Collection
Because cooking utensils are as varied as the possible ingredients you can use, you may feel a bit overwhelmed as you start to build your collection of cooking tools. As you start, keep in mind that you don”t have to go overboard. Start at the beginning with the essentials that you”ll use more often than anything else. Some of the first cooking tools you should consider getting are:
- can opener
- cutting board
- a few nice pots and pans (You can usually get a set of pots and pans.)
- a set of knives (The most important are a chef”s knife, paring knife, boning knife, bread knife and sandwich/utility knife.)
- a set of mixing bowls
- vegetable peeler.
Once you have the essentials in tow, gradually add other utensils as you have more money or on an as needed basis. For instance, other useful cooking utensils include:
- a blender
- a ladle
- slotted and regular serving spoons
- a whisk.
What Materials Should My Cooking Utensils Be Made Of?
Once you decide what cooking utensils are essential for your needs, you will next need to choose them in a particular material. For example, mixing spoons can be either wood or metal. Here are some tips for how to choose between different types of materials when buying cooking utensils:
- A word on wood: While wooden utensils are useful when cooking on non-stick surfaces, avoid using them when dealing with raw meat, as it”s hard to wash the bacteria out of them. Similarly, make sure that all wooden utensils are sanded smooth with nothing on the edges that could splinter off and into your food.
- Non-stick cookware: Use only wood or rubber coated cooking utensils on non-stick cookware. If you use metal, you”ll wind up scraping the non-stick elements off the surface of your cookware.
- Rubber utensils: Your flexible rubber utensils are usually NOT heatproof, so don”t use them in hot pans or they”ll start to soften and possibly melt. Use metal or wood instead, depending on what is more appropriate. Limit use of rubber utensils to mixing and/or serving cooler foods.
- Solid choices: With whisks, tongs and other utensils, make sure that the attachments on these devices are solid. Cheaper tool attachments can come undone, invariably at the least opportune time.
Cooking utensils are an utterly critical component to food preparation. Build your set wisely so that you fully enjoy all your adventures in the kitchen!