Five favorite inexpensive kitchen gadgets

Hi there,
I’ve been busy with the Natoma Bay Online Logbook Project and some over on Facebook . . . but now that the Logbook is “done” I’ve been thinking about kitchen gadgets. I’ve already written about my love of my Cast Iron Frying Pan; today I’ve picked out my five favorite kitchen gadgets (in the spirit of all those Facebook things like “Five places you’ve lived” and “Five favorite childhood toys”, etc.

Each of these gadgets was less than $15. Each are worth their weight in gold . . .

#5 “The Boat Motor” (aka Immersion Blender)

"boat motor"

I resisted these for a long time. Eventually Emeril convinced me to ask for one for my birthday. Excellent for making smoothies (fits right in one of my large glasses, so no messy stand blender to clean), as well as pureeing sauces and soups.

#4 Bench scraper


I don’t know how I lived without this one for so long. I used to scrape my work surface with a metal pancake turner! I mostly use this in baking (to scrape flour bits from my kneading board), but it’s also great for gathering up diced onions or other veggies and transporting them from the cutting board to the pot.

#3 Flour wand


I can’t think of many uses for this other than in baking. Any time you need to sprinkle a counter or pan with a little bit of flour, this is the way to go. You squeeze it to gather flour in and then squeeze gently to sprinkle flour out.

#2 Ginger grater


I do not understand why no one uses this on the Food Network! It is SOOOO much better than trying to “mince” ginger with a knife. You peel the ginger and then scrape it along the little knobules on the bottom of this leaf-shaped dish. You end up with both the pulp and juice of the ginger . . . YUMMO!

#1 Zyliss Garlic Press



I’ve had this one for about 25 years. Before finding the Zyliss, I went through lots of crummy $3 garlic presses. This one cost me $12.98, but was worth every penny. You get all the garlic pulp and juice. Plus it comes with a little cleaning tool to poke through the holes (it’s plastic, so mine wore out long ago, I just soak the press in water until the garlic remains just float out). The newer ones are more like $15-20. I hope they are still as good. BTW, the packaging now claims that you don’t need to peel the garlic before you use the press, but I always peel it first (and NO, I DO NOT pound it with the side of a knife like they show on TV; all that does is lose the juice. The skin comes off very nicely if you just cut the root end and make a slit the length of the clove.) EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ONE OF THESE!

I’m sure after a while I’ll think of other kitchen items that I value just as highly. Certainly good sets of dry measuring cups and wet measuring cups (yes, they are different, you need both) and measuring spoons are all essential to me, but some people manage without them. I also recently bought a good digital kitchen scale, but I haven’t really “bonded” with it yet . . . .