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Happy-Gourmand

Fave thingamajigs

My favourite thingamajigs and doohickeys

Every hobby has its tools. Sports all have equipment of some sort, musicians have instruments, gardeners have trowels, and so on.

There are also all the gizmos and gadgets that you can add to your repertoire. Some are just goofy.

You know, the kinds of things you see on TV, or get for Christmas from a secret Santa?

I have written about some of those wacky items before, but today I want to pay homage to those special friends in my kitchen that I couldn't cook without.

As I used them all this week, it occurred to me that sharing them might help inspire others.

Well, here goes nothing.

One of the first really cool and useful gadgets I had in my kitchen was called a butter ruler.

Maybe you've seen it? A small plastic card that measures tablespoons, cups, and everything in between.

It might sound overly simple, but I use this thing almost as much as measuring spoons. If you are not a baker, I bet you know someone who is. 

This is the best stocking stuffer ever.

The other super-cool thing I remember in the kitchen from the time I was a kid was my dad's frying pan.

It was a small thin pan that he used almost exclusively for making fried eggs. They were always perfect, soft in the middle and crispy on the edges.

When I had to go to early morning basketball practice in the winter, Daddy would get up and make me a fried egg sandwich, making sure to scrape every little crispy bit from the pan.

I'm sure I played better on those days. I still make fried eggs in it; that pan was one of the first mementos I claimed when my dad passed away.

My real corruption to a full-fledged foodie happened when I lived in France for a year. They had all kinds of stuff I'd never seen — potato ricers, vegetable mills, grinders and graters of all sizes, and amazing serving utensils.

I was a starving student in those days, but when I returned to France years later, I visited the famous kitchen store E. Dehillerin and brought home some goodies.

My treasured whisk with its decorative enamel handle and my steel pineapple corer are always close at hand. (The corer is so efficient, I've often pondered writing a mystery novel and using it as the killer's weapon of choice!)

One tool I use a lot is something my husband turned me on to — a silicone mat.

If you have never used one of these babies, you are truly missing out. We use it for baking cookies, biscuits and scones; it's great for anything you don't want to stick and it saves you using butter or oil.

For fancy tricks, like melting Parmesan for shaping bowls or making sugar decorations, it's awesome.

Any chef will tell you that the most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife. I have a good chef's knife, but my favourite blade is a paring knife I got from Lee Valley years ago.

It is often like an extension of my hand when I am cooking. The wooden handle moulds to my hand and the carbon blade holds an edge extremely well.

There was a knife just like it in the kitchen when I was little; my dad sharpened it often and it got smaller and smaller. Thankfully, my carbon blade has lasted better.

My dad would be pleased that I'm using a few of his old tools, I think.

It certainly makes me smile to know that I'm carrying on a few family traditions in the kitchen.

My husband isn't a fan of kitchen gadgets or flimsy utensils — being a chef, he wants to know that he can depend on his tools to work properly even the going gets tough.

I can tell you with confidence that he endorses every one of the items mentioned this week.

Do you have a favourite kitchen tool? Is there some nifty gizmo you just couldn't cook without?

I'd love to hear your comments. Leave them here, or post a picture on my Happy Gourmande Facebook page.

Happy cooking!

Other good things:

  • Nutmeg grater
  • Pineapple corer

You might not have the same friends, but if you like cooking, I'm sure you have a few favourites, too. 



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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