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Penny Pinching Tip #4: Fun (& Worthwhile) Kitchen Gadgets

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Penny Pinching Epicure: Penny Pinching Tip #4: Fun (& Worthwhile) Kitchen Gadgets

Friday, November 20, 2009

Penny Pinching Tip #4: Fun (& Worthwhile) Kitchen Gadgets

I'm sometimes skeptical about kitchen gadgets. For example, an egg separator is (in my opinion) a ridiculous waste of money when your hand can do the same job for free. In addition, it literally only does one thing, and I prefer to spend money on kitchen gadgets that can multi-task so I can get my money's worth.

Penny Pinching Tip #4: Unless you will use it regularly (at least weekly), avoid kitchen tools that are restricted to a single task. If you use it that infrequently, you can probably substitute another tool you already own.

What kitchen gadgets do I think are worthwhile purchases?

You may have already recognized my love affair with my immersion blender. I have a pretty small kitchen, so I don't have room for a mixer or food processor, and my immersion blender can do the job of both. From blending soups to pureeing bananas for muffins to creating super-smooth and fluffy mashed potatoes--I don't know what I ever did without it. It is probably my most versatile kitchen tool, and the one I use most frequently (outside of the usual can opener, knives and such). Note: It's worth the money to invest in stainless steel rather than plastic, it will last much longer and you can use it with hot items.

I expanded my kitchen toolbox recently with the purchase of a mandolin, a super fun kitchen gadget that allows you to cut fruits and vegetables into uniform pieces (although watch your fingers!). Thus far, I have mostly used mine for slicing, but you can also julienne and chop. While I think I have pretty good knife skills, it still cuts faster and more uniformly than I can (yet). I bought a pretty cheap one ($7 on sale a BBB), but plan to invest in a higher quality version.

Another recent purchase: A micro plane ($9 on sale at BBB), which is basically a one-sided fine grater with a handle so you can grate ginger or spices, zest a lemon or shave cheese directly over your other ingredients, instead of having to first grate into a bowl or onto a cutting board. I've been experimenting with grating fresh spices like nutmeg and cinnamon (and yes, there is a HUGE difference between dried and freshly grated).

Other kitchen implements I use regularly: Tongs, wooden spoons, good quality knives, spatula, whisk, sieve.



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