Kitchen Utensils

The "scoop" on these essential gadgets

They may be small, but no kitchen is complete without a full set of kitchen utensils. This broad category encompasses the usual suspects, forks, knives and spoons, but also includes more obscure utensils such as pizza cutters, can openers, spatulas, peelers, sheers and cheese graters. Even a measuring cup could be considered a utensil!

Like the appliances you use for baking or mixing ( can't go without that electric mixer!), each utensil has its own use and can rarely be substituted by another - how would you ever eat soup with a knife?

That said, if you are in the process of supplying your kitchen, there is no need to run out to the home decorating or department store and load up your cart with one of every utensil available on the market. Sure, most utensils serve only one purpose but with a little creativity you can double dip and save some money for that new 10-speed blender you've been dreaming about.

Whether you own an ice cream maker or buy ice cream from a store, ice cream scoopers are perfect for getting that perfect round ball of your favorite frozen chocolate or vanilla treat, but they can also be used to measure out cookie dough for perfectly proportioned cookies every time. You can use one to serve mashed potatoes, squash or turnip, and even sour cream.

Cheese graters are another multifunctional utensil - the traditional units can double for chocolate or cinnamon graters, and the handheld rotary types can also be used to grate nuts for the perfect addition to salads and pastries.

Measuring spoons are great for balling citrus fruit and also for extracting seeds from peppers and tomatoes.

Stainless steel measuring cups can double as tiny saucepans, for easy butter-melting or to warm liquids on the stove as needed for recipes.

Metal colanders are great for rinsing fruit and draining pasta, however they can also serve as steamers when placed over a pot of boiling water.

With any utensil you decide to purchase, try to make an investment in quality. You want something that will both make your life easier and last for years to come - not something you have to replace every few months. Choose something that suits your style, but that is also easy to use, with parts that move freely and are easy to clean. You shouldn't have to spend a million bucks on your forks or any other utensil, but keep in mind that a few extra dollars now could save you more money and wasted time in the long run.

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