In a world of kitchen gadgets gone amok, there are some that look cool, and some that might make you look like a fool. When you live in a small kitchen, things get pretty brutal, and when natural selection kicks in, only the essential equipment survives the cut.
Yes, my mixer and espresso machine get a disproportionate amount of space, but only because I use them a disproportionate amount of time. But down below, every year or so, I go through my gadget drawer and take out anything I haven’t used in a long time.
My chocolate thermometer stays, along with all my measuring cups, the pair of cherry pitters (I invested in two, which ensures help), that super-handy little offset spatula, a pile of plastic scrapers, the essential Microplane zester, mini-spatulas I bought at Ross in Fort Lauderdale (which one might think are silly, but I use them all the time), the all-important wine opener, ice cream scoops in every conceivable capacity, and my Michael Graves vegetable brush from Target that I have to keep hidden away in a drawer because “someone” keeps trying to use it to scrub pots and pans and I don’t know when the next time I’m going get my derrière back into a Target again in case I need to replace it.
But other things, like the metal shot glass, the crab forks, the angel food cake cutter that looks like a ‘fro pick, and the cookie cutter in the shape of an ice cream cone (with apologies to whoever gave it to me…but hey, I did use it once), are now stashed away in a box in the back of the cabinet underneath my sink, which I will probably only see again the next time I move.
But one item that doesn’t even make it into the drawer, that I keep in a jar on my counter within reach at all times, is a sturdy pair of scissors. I use them more and more every day, and have started using them for many of the things that I used to use a knife for. I trim leaves off radishes, cut kimchi for fried rice in a bowl (so it doesn’t stain a cutting board), neatly cut fish, re-size parchment paper, and portion pita triangles for toasting.
And I’ve recently become a convert to using them to cut up a roasted birds, like the pair of guinea hens I wrapped in smoked bacon and roasted in cider last weekend. They make easy work of the task, and since you can do the work right in the roasting pan, you don’t lose all the tasty juices which tend to cascade off the cutting board and make a mess all over the counter.
Get yourself a decent pair. Mine are made by KitchenAid (part of their Cooking for the Cure program) and if I could slice bread with them, I would. A good pair should cost between $12-$15. Being thrifty, I did once make the mistake of buying a cheap pair, which I picked up at Ikea, which are now in that box underneath my sink.
Visit your local cookware shop and pick up the scissors—literally. They should feel solid and substantial in your hands, move easily, and not feel like work to open and close them. And you should get the sense that if you were clipping through the backbone of a chicken, that the bones would crack, rather than the scissors.
Since I’ve started using scissors more and more, instead of a knife and cutting board, I’ve reduced the amount of dishes I have to wash, and the mess, which is something you can’t put a price on. So although I’ve gotten rid of a lot of useless gadgets, my scissors, I’m happy to say, have made the cut.