Go to any kitchen supply store, and you will be inundated with gadgets of every description. And while many of these implements are very useful, there are occasions when simple, old-fashioned tools will satisfy the need very satisfactorily. Many of these items can be found in hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive.
Here are a few items to consider for your kitchen or as last-minute holiday gifts:
If you have ever burned your hands or arms while shifting hot coals around when grilling, you will appreciate welding gloves. With long cuffs that cover most of the forearm, they offer excellent protection against heat. Typically constructed of leather with fleece-like linings, the fingers are relatively nimble, and are also great in the kitchen for transporting or checking on items in the oven.
Stray bones can dampen the appeal of eating a salmon fillet. Long-nose pliers do an excellent job of plucking out bones, leaving clean appetizing fish. They are also handy for pulling the skin off salmon fillets while cooking. Available in different sizes, look for versions made from stainless steel as they will resist rust and corrosion. Some also feature springs that pop the handles and jaws apart, making them easier to use when performing multiple tasks.
A tight lid on a jar will often yield to light tapping with the handle of a kitchen knife. You can also loosen stubborn lids and caps with a strap wrench. This tool comes in different sizes and has a plastic handle with an attached rubber strap that wraps around round objects. As the handle is leveraged against the side of a jar lid or bottle cap, the strap tightens and loosens the lid or cap when additional pressure is exerted against the handle.
Small butane torch
This device is handy for melting sugar on top of crème brulee or other dishes. Small with a pistol grip, they are easy to hold and use. They typically have a valve at the bottom of the grip for refilling with butane, a push-button igniter, and an adjustment for the flame.
Use this for straining liquids, ricotta cheese, or yogurt. You can wrap small pieces around citrus while juicing, eliminating seeds in the juice. This mesh-like material also lends itself as a covering for food items that need to be protected but that also need to “breathe.”
This material can be purchased at any fabric store and comes in different weights. It should be laundered before using to remove any sizing. It makes an excellent and inexpensive pastry cloth because flour sticks to it and enables the cook to easily roll out dough or use for kneading. After using, simply thrown into the washing machine to clean.