Archive: Kitchen Toys

Kim's Top 10 Kitchen Basics

In the eight years I've been hosting What's Cooking, my weekly Web chat, one of the questions most frequently asked is this: What do I need to cook-ready my kitchen? In many respects, this is a vague question, as it fails to take into account factors such as budget, skill level and culinary area of interest. For purposes of this exercise, though, let's assume our cooking novice is tight on both money and physical space. Cook in question is keen to cook at least three nights a week and wean himself off dinner in a box. Which tools will make that all possible? I'm especially suited to answer this question -- and not just because I'm a trained cook and food writer. For years, I lived paycheck to paycheck. Small and cramped were the operative words to describe my apartment kitchens in my 20s and 30s. Still, I wanted to...


By Kim ODonnel | February 26, 2007; 06:52 AM ET | Comments (51)

A Fool for a Kitchen Tool

According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, a gadget is "an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty" whereas a tool is "a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task." With these dictionary distinctions in mind, can you answer the following question: In the kitchen, are you a tool or a gadget person? My food mill making hand-cranked magic with tomatoes. (Kim O'Donnel) Humor me and do a mental inventory of the drawer that contains cooking-related items other than flatware. Whatcha got in there? Anything from the Nixon era, by chance? I've got a few rubber spatulas that have seen better days, and a mini funnel that I've never used, but I digress. As I scan the shelves and cabinets, I would describe my baterie de cuisine (the tools and equipment that help me cook) as minimalist. (Some would argue...


By Kim ODonnel | October 3, 2006; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

A New Wok State of Mind

Last month while traipsing through San Francisco, I bought my very first wok -- well, my very first authentic wok, the real deal from China. My new wok getting a proper seasoning. (Kim O'Donnel) The idea of a new wok had been marinating in my brain for some time, inspired by Chinese cooking authority Grace Young. But it wasn't until I walked into Tane (call me "Octane") Chan's Wok shop in San Francisco, that I was faced with a do-it-now-or-you'll-regret-it moment. Fifteen bucks and a few minutes later, I became the proud owner of a flat-bottomed, cast-iron wok (carbon-steel is the other variety), with an enamel exterior coating. Yesterday, I unwrapped my newly arrived kitchen baby and brought her into my world. But before I could even consider cooking, I needed to give her a good scrubbing, to remove factory grime and any residual metal powder. This is one of...


By Kim ODonnel | September 7, 2006; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Scoop on DIY Ice Cream Makers

For the past month, food critic Bill Addison has been sleeping on a borrowed blow-up mattress, but soon he will be reunited with his precious belongings, namely his "Simac Il Gelataio 800." Addison, who had made Atlanta, Ga., his home for several years, recently left his job as food critic at newsweekly Creative Loafing (full disclosure: he was my editor for two-plus years) to join the merry band of diners at the San Francisco Chronicle's Food section. As someone who eats in restaurants for a living, Addison's kitchen shelves are often lonely, but when he does cook, he goes into overdrive. I call him the "Kamikaze" cook, a term from "The Mindful Cook" by Isaac Cronin describing cooks who overextend and run around the kitchen more in keeping with television show, "The Amazing Race." A former pastry chef, Addison is known not just for his out-of-orbit desserts but for his...


By Kim ODonnel | June 13, 2006; 08:43 AM ET | Comments (0)


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