Like any other art, cooking requires patience, practice and the right tools and equipment. There are hundreds of different kitchen gadgets available in the market and some variations on all of them! Although the great cooks will tell you, all they need is just these five basic things to cook…a sharp knife, a pot, a spatula if possible, a heat source and they could make use of the available ingredients of course. Its not the gadgets lying in their kitchens, its their attitude that makes the food taste fantastic. Yes, the willingness to cook tops it all.
Now a days, like those cookbooks, kitchen equipments has also become a talisman, people started to believe that buying the right kind of it alone will make them a better cooks!! I beg to differ, most of the good cooks that I knew are so good at cooking, not because of the right ingredients they use nor the gadgets they depend on! They are smart enough to use anything that it available and marvel in it. The popular Tamil proverbs goes like this: vallavanukku pullum aayudham, meaning ‘For a smart man, even a grass can be a weapon’ and aada theriyathavanukku koodam sari illaiyam, meaning ‘The person who doesn’t know to dance, blames the floor for his lack of performance! Guess, these humble proverbs has said enough!
Indeed, the best cooks very rarely demand for the right equipments and gear. Most likely, they often rely on his/her highly dented cookwares. The surprising part is they don’t mind using their worn-out utensils, heavily scarred tools and beyond recognition gadgets!! Thus, a simple antique piece of iron knife without even a proper handle has become a multi purpose tool in my Grandma’s hands. Whenever my Dad lends his hand in the kitchen, a single pot’s lid will be turned into dealing with everything…like, it would be held as prep-utensil for cutting and tossing veggies, to cover the boiling curries and to hold it like a colander and strain the par-boiled rice. Wow, in my opinion…that’s really a clever thing to do. And, people who actually cook better never complain nor feel sorry for their inconveniences. They just cook, no matter what and make sure that everyone around them are well-fed.
However, today’s materialistic lifestyle compels us to hoard all the unnecessary gadgets and equipments into out kitchens! In fact the famous TV chefs and Photo Bloggers (a new breed of food bloggers, who rarely concentrate on cooking) often use and promote gorgeous branded equipments. And most likely they are well-paid to do this job or at least they get these stuff for free! As Manufacturers hope that putting these instruments in their hands, will actually trick people into thinking that its one of the essential tool for cooking. Of course buying these branded equipments is not that bad idea altogether, it will sure decorate your kitchen and also might be a big help too, no doubt! However, my question is…is this really that necessary for our everyday cooking? Sometimes, life is too obligatory…as we tend to use all those gorgeous-looking utensils in front of our guests and peers!
At times, I feel…all I need is, a pot, two garlic and a heat source to whip a meal and am pretty good at it. Well, I started with a single electric-coil stove with a stainless steal pan, with one wooden spatula, a sharp knife, a plate and a mug in my dorm room! And the good part is, I did cook better which attracted all the hostel-mates to my dinner-table! Anyway…now I just wonder, why people are so particular about their kitchen cabinets, furniture, utensils…and some are beyond reason, highly obsessed with crockery sets and knives! Can you believe it there are tons of articles dedicated to this one kitchen item: knives!!! Of course its essential, I solidly agree. But, I feel people spend too much on it!
If you have ever witnessed anyone cook 365 days a year, you will probably appreciate what a good cooking, means. The bottom line is anyone can equip a great kitchen, but cooking a nice meal can be done without much use of those specialty tools. I am not preaching you against buying those fancy gadgets! Just want to let you all know that be conscious while you shop and don’t get carried away with advertisements. Have some faith in your culinary ability, never jump into conclusions that this alone will help you in the kitchen. Think twice before you purchase those expensive stuff! Trust me, meanwhile you will be still cooking.
So here’s my absolutely minimal list of kitchen equipment for cooking the recipes that I habitually cook.
Culinary Equipments and Gear
|Sharp Knives||A must have for every cook. Make a smart purchase one time and use it for the rest of years.|
|Cutting Boards||Definitely, 2-3 such boards if you cook everyday. One for vegetables, meat and fruits respectively.|
|Peeler, Grater||Makes cooking bit easy. No doubt about it!|
|Rolling pins||If you cook Indian flat breads very often!|
|Crock pots||I rely on them most of the time! Biriyanis to curries, all done in one-pot. Very apt for both solo cooking and batch cooking!|
|Woks||I say ‘Yes’ to this item…with so many vegetables in my recipe log, probably you have figured it by now!|
|Pans||Good choice, very handy to cook and clean.|
|Spatulas||No its and buts, you want them at least 2-3. And should I even tell you…one is dedicated for milk products and sweets?!|
|Tongs||I never used this item. Because, I don’t use any pressure cookers nor any other stainless steel containers without proper handle. So, it depends on what kind of crockery set you have.|
|Kettles||Maybe for tea lovers! Who sip through while cooking.|
|Blender||If you are like me, blend and puree all the ingredients from scratch, a necessity then!|
|Can opener||I need them, as I am bound to buy canned products often!|
|Steam cooker||Both yes and no. I steam in a rudimentary fashion. Boil water in wide pot, and set the small bowls inside. But, you may require one, if you make idlies and dim sums all the time!|
|Salad Spinner||Seriously? You need one?|
|Immersion Blender||Not unless you are a gifted baker!|
|Madoline – slicer||?|
|Microplane Grater||Well, its helpful for small purposes. I think the big grater we already have can do the same job.|
|Prep Bowls||Must be sometimes very handy, but you don’t want too many of it!|
|A Digital Timer / Stop Watch||If you are planning to roast chicken all the time!|
|Weighing Scale||Well, I appreciate that you are watching your weight.|
|An Instant Read Thermometer||Yeah, I use it once in a blue moon!|
|Pressure Cooker||It must be pretty useful if you are trained to cook in it. My mommy uses that all the time, a multi-purpose one.|
|Rice cooker||If your staple food is rice!|
|Garlic press||I have one, and its gathering dust.|
|Potato Masher||I bet, the next thing on your shopping list is ‘butter-cutter’.|
|Egg Slicer||I have used them to bring all even-sized egg slices for salad…makes the salad rich! But absolutely one can survive without it!|
|Whisk||Two items – teaspoon and fork will do the same trick!|
|Marination Syringe||I injected chicken with some spicy broth for couple of times. Nothing new happened…the roast ended up just okay.|
|Corkscrew||I still break the coconut in conventional way (over a stone). And tossed this item somewhere in my cabinets!|
|Wine Opener||Not for me.|
|Double Boiler||Oh boy, its very simple to use two containers one over the other! I don’t want a special equipment for this.|
|Steam cooker||I still manage to get by without one. I wrap up the goodies in plantain leaf and set them up in a boiling water. Works great.|
|Pepper mill||Yet another show piece to draw attention!|
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