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Food52's Editorial Assistant (and college student) Brette Warshaw is curating her very own first kitchen -- and she needs your help. Today: which spoons and spatulas does a first kitchen need?
When you care about something -- when you love something, or when you do something often, or when you turn to something for comfort and support – it feels like an extension of you.
This is most common, of course, when you’re in love -- or when you have children.
I am love-less and child-less. I gave up the violin three years ago. And to call my laptop an extension of myself -- as a college student who works for the Internet -- is just too cliché for my liking.
So when Tamar Adler, in my favorite food-related essay ever written, referred to tongs as extensions of one’s hands, I latched onto her sentiment.
I am lumping wooden spoons, slotted spoons, and spatulas into this category: not mere objects, but extensions of myself, things I use to accomplish greater, more important things. To create something new.
I am doing this because I care about cooking -- I love cooking, I cook often, and I turn to cooking for comfort and support. And if tongs and spatulas and spoons are my replacement for a boyfriend and children, then, at twenty-one years old, I am so, totally, fine with that.
If these kitchen tools will be extensions of myself -- those things that I rely on after a cold, hard day, or ones I turn to for happiness and fulfillment -- then they better be sturdy. They better be tough. They better not let me down.
Spatulas and Tongs
We’ve all been there: when you’re cooking, especially cooking something new, it’s easy to mess up.
It’s easy to drop something, or to break something. It’s easy to get overeager and flip an egg too soon, or to leave a piping-hot cookie in an unattractive heap.
The right spatulas and tongs can help prevent this.
When it comes to a spatula, I want something skinny and flexible. I want something that has a front edge slim enough to slip under the skinniest of pancakes -- and something that can bend enough to reach the perfect, food-flipping angle. Cook’s Illustrated recommends the Wusthof Gourmet Turner/Fish Spatula ($34.95) and the OXO Good Grips Flexible Turner ($7.99). The price difference was only noticeable when they tried to carry a four-pound brick. Since I don’t plan on cooking one of those any time soon, I think I’d go for the OXO.
Tongs have a similar set of specifications: they need to be sturdy, flexible, and uncomplicated. (Sounds like an awesome boyfriend.) In this day and age, there are skinny tongs, fat tongs, foldable tongs, smooth tongs and scalloped tongs, padded tongs and bare tongs. Scalloped edges and a slightly-padded handle make gripping foods easier -- so the OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Locking Tongs seem like my best bet.
Wooden Spoons and Slotted Spoons
It may seem silly to discuss the right spoons for a kitchen -- given that the cavemen probably used some version of a wooden spoon to stir questionable cuts of meat over an open fire. But I’m starting from scratch, here, and I want the best. And, unlike the cavemen, I need a wooden spoon to accomplish a variety of kitchen tasks: to work its way through a thick ball of cookie dough, to scrape the food at the bottom of a pot, to hold enough within its grasp for me to sneak an eager taste. So one with a long, smooth handle is best -- and a head small enough to accomplish things both delicate and substantial.
A slotted spoon is also essential: one that’s light and easy to maneuver, with plenty of small holes. The smaller the holes, the less likely something will be missed. And if this is truly an extension of myself, I don’t want to miss anything.
Which spatulas, tongs, and spoons would you recommend for a first kitchen?
Email me at [email protected] with your First Kitchen recommendations -- your favorite tools, your favorite cookware. All wisdom is appreciated.