Top Analog Kitchen Gadgets

Image via Say Yes to Hoboken

One plus to cooler weather is that it’s no longer totally oppressive to have the oven on (the air conditioning could barely keep up this summer, never mind baking at 375F). So this weekend we started cooking, really cooking, again.  And it got me thinking about my top 5 analog kitchen gadgets.  We’ve written all about snazzy gadgetry in the kitchen, from drool worthy high end items, to top small and regular appliances.  But what about the basics?  Here’s my list, what’s yours?

Good Quality Sharp Knives

Image via Me and Alice

Nothing elevated my cooking experience as much as getting my first set of good knives. Now the most expensive professional sets can set you back thousands, but you can invest in a few good quality knives for a few hundred- a chef’s knife, butcher knife, and small paring knife should get most jobs done. Or maybe you’ll get luck like I did: my absolute  favourite knife is the cheapest little paring knife from a Monoprix in Paris of all places.  I love the weight and feel of it, how smoothly it cuts… Sigh.   I also inherited a few knives from my grandfather, a superb cook, that are still in fine form today (they might be 40 years old now!) thanks to the great care he showed them.  Here’s a video on how to care for your knives so that your investment lasts:

Silpat

Images via Demarle at Home where they are available for purchase

If you love to bake and don’t have this yet, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.  These silicone baking sheets go right on cookie sheets or baking trays and eliminate the need for parchment paper or a heavy greasing of your bakeware.  Also they make me feel better about not throwing out tons of parchment paper, especially during holiday cookie exchange season!

Dutch Oven

Image via The Kitchn, pictured no-knead bread

The Dutch oven is a wonderfully versatile piece of cookware, one that is in constant use in the fall and winter in my house.  Generally made out of thick wall of cast iron that’s got an enamel coating and topped with a tight fitting lid, these beauties can go from stove top to oven and make pretty serving dishes too.  Great for winter soups and stews, braising meats, even baking bread!

Silicone Spatula Set

Image via The Good Design

I may have mentioned before that I don’t use plastic in the kitchen.  With the research piling up against BPA and phthalates I just don’t trust it, especially exposed to high heat.  Silicone spatulas on the other hand are a great multi-tool that can withstand high heat, won’t damage pans like some metal spatulas can, and their flexibility make them great at mixing wet and dry ingredients together.  They’re also really inexpensive.

French Butter Dish

Image via Art Fire

Rancid butter is just gross.  And cold butter that won’t spread evenly on toast or bread also kinda sucks.  Enter the French butter dish, a ceramic contraption that keeps butter soft and perfectly spreadable for weeks, no matter the ambient temp.  Composed of two parts, the butter gets packed into the top bell shaped portion, while the bottom cup is partially filled with water.  The water helps create an air tight seal that won’t let the butter oxidize.  It’s so simple and so cool!

Honourable Mention, Wooden Spoons

Image via Brown Dress with White Dots

I love wooden spoons.   I love them more after time as they become seasoned.  There’s just something comforting about them, they’re a staple in every kitchen and have been throughout history.  And that tie to history is a reminder to keep food simple and nourishing.

How cool is this artistic display of a wooden spoon collection? Love it! Image via Dwell

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