Essential Kitchen Equipment is an occasional series on items I think every well-run kitchen should have. Essential Kitchen Equipment posts are not about the latest gadget. I’m talking about maybe a dozen or so simple items you must have to make your kitchen hum.
Of course one could spend endless amounts on all sorts of fancy equipment and gadgets. Most of those will not make you a better cook, these will:
Bench and Bowl Scrapers
This was my introduction to this now indispensible kitchen tool. These are so inexpensive and make cooking more efficient. Once you get one, you'll wonder what took you so long.
I was visiting my sister and watching her chef husband in the kitchen. He pulled this out and moved something, dough I think from point A to point B. Then scraped the counter or bowl with it. This was one of those proverbial light bulb moments. An epiphany for me. "WAIT. WHAT IS THAT?!"
He laughed. "It's a bench scraper, want it? Here." Rinsed, dried and handed it over to me. "I get them all the time at culinary shows."
This one with a rounded edge I use to scrape dough from a bowl. I also use it to ferry items from cutting board to pot or bowl. You can see the edge is slightly beveled. I think John gave this to me maybe 15 years ago.
I probably use it, or one of these, at least once a day.
Whether a bench (straight-edged) or bowl (rounded) scraper - these tools are something every kitchen should have. Endlessly useful - you will find yourself reaching for these over and over again.
I use this straight-edged bench scraper to:
- ferry chopped vegetables from cutting board to pot.
- portion dough.
- scrape counter after bread kneading.
These little guys I picked up from Kitchenwares. They're cute and also useful when you have say, crushed spices or peppercorns you need to scoop up. Pinching is not efficient. Here you can easily lift mashed or minced garlic or shallot, spices, any little items without losing bits to the side of your hand or knife.
Do you use bench scrapers? What other equipment do you consider essential?