Good tools make a big difference in our daily explorations in the kitchen. Sometimes it's the inexpensive tools that see the most use. Take the Forschner 10-inch serrated knife. It's price has slowly risen over the years. It's up to almost $29 on Amazon and still worth every penny of the asking price. It's a workshorse, almost every cook I know has one or something like it. It's sharp when you first buy it and holds its edge surprisingly well through the course of a busy workload. Because it's relatively inexpensive you don't cry when you have to use it to chop chocolate or carve melons. Paired with the little red paring knife (just over $8 as I write this) and a good peeler ($11 for two) you have almost all of your daily cutting needs covered with plenty of money left to put towards that expensive chefs knife, where it actually makes sense to make a major investment.
Another favorite of ours comes from Williams-Sonoma. This pair of mini silicone spatulas costs $12.95, and the silicone tops are removable for cleaning and good at temperatures up to 800°F. Of course the wooden handles will long have been charred into ash but for candymaking purposes they work admirably well. Their small size allows them to easily reach the cracks and crevices in blenders and food processors and they are perfect for stirring small saucepots or scraping across the top of a ramekin. Although we've long since lost the line cook's habit of sticking spoons in our back pocket I have to say that these would both fit into one of mine and can be easily labeled to prevent "misplacement" in a professional or home kitchen.
March 6, 2005