A trio of favorite tools

I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets.  If there’s a clever new product to prepare food easier, quicker or with better results, I’m eager to give it a test drive.

Very few of those gadgets make the cut, however.  They have to perform with flying colors or they’re off to the thrift store.

These three tools have found homes in my kitchen because I can’t imagine cooking without them anymore.  I can recommend them without reservation.

The beater blade at the top of the page is one of the best ideas in years.  The rubber wings on the edge of the beater efficiently scrape batter from the sides of the bowl of a KitchenAid stand mixer.  That means faster and more efficient mixing of cakes and cookies.

NewMetro Design is not the first with this idea.  I tried an earlier version by SideSwipe and liked it fine for a couple of months until the scraper tabs on the edge of the blade began to break off.  Other companies have jumped on the idea, too.   But this blade has performed beautifully for about a year and shows no sign of deterioration.   I’d be lost without it.

My blade works with a 5-quart, tilt-head KitchenAid and costs $18.35 at Amazon.  That’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.  NewMetro also offers blades for larger KitchenAid mixers as well as other brands such as Cuisinart and Viking.

This Thermapen thermometer has changed my life.  I’m an impatient sort, I know, and even instant read thermometers take some time to register the temperature of meat and poultry accurately.  More often than I’d like to admit, I tried to serve chicken  that was slightly undercooked because I didn’t wait long enough to get a good read on the internal temperature.

This thermometer redefines instant read.  It only takes a couple of seconds to get an accurate measurement.  I use it all the time, even to check whether bread is done all the way through.

It’s expensive at $93 for the new splash-proof model, which is an improvement over mine.  I asked for it as a present, otherwise I might never have sprung for such a high-priced tool.  Still, it’s a wonder and I no longer can imagine cooking without it.

This MAC vegetable cleaver hardly qualifies as a gadget.  It’s a serious knife from a Japanese knife maker revered by top professional chefs, including Thomas Keller of The French Laundry fame.

Still, it’s an unusual blade that deserves more attention.   Light, thin and incredibly sharp, it zips through most kitchen tasks far faster and more accurately than heavier chef’s knifes.

I bought it in San Jose’s Japantown last year when I was having problems with my right hand from too many years writing on a computer.  My German chef’s knives were difficult to maneuver and even my Global knives felt too heavy.  This 6½-inch MAC blade was just right.  And at $80 it was less expensive than the more conventional knives.

My hand is much better now, but I still reach for this knife first.

What tools can you not live without in the kitchen?




2 thoughts on “A trio of favorite tools”

  1. I’ve been meaning to ask you which brand of mixer blade you use. As a gadgethead myself, I want, want, want that! It’s not very original, but I can’t live without my microplane grater or my hand citrus presses. — so much better than reamers for getting out juice. I can totally skip the latest trend on silicone-everything, though, unless it’s spatulas and that awesome mixer blade. 🙂

  2. Aleta has never steered me wrong. She is the one who told me I really really needed a KitchenAid stand mixer, and she was right! It has been a life changer. Now it’s time to accessorize it. I just ordered the beater blade above, and it’s on sale for only $16.94 if you click on the handy link above (takes you to Amazon). Buy two and you get free shipping!

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