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8 Week Challenge – Kitchen Equipment for Home Food Preparation

August 14, 2012

It’s often a complaint of foodies and others that people don’t know how to cook anymore. To a large degree this is true. In generations past daughters learned homemaking from their moms, grandmothers, 4-H, FHA (Future Homemakers of America) and other ways. Today, many can’t learn from their moms because their moms don’t cook either!

Like any other skill, cooking from scratch can be learned. A well stocked kitchen makes a difference – but today’s cooks have gadgets that our great grandmothers couldn’t have dreamed of. Put all the ingredients in an electronic box, walk away and a few hours later you have fresh bread? Get out!

Some may find this too elementary but for those who don’t know where to start – we all started somewhere! Food preparation can be in several stages. Preservation, cooking, preparation.

Food preparation involves items that are common and some that today aren’t so common. We’ll start with the basics.

Measuring cups – you’ll need two types. A dry measure is commonly in a set that nests in each other from 1/4 to a cup. These can be filled and leveled off with a  knife for accurate measuring of dry ingredients – flour, sugar etc. A wet measure is one or two cups, typically with a spout and see through, to look at eye level. Some may find four cup measuring to be of benefit but generally 1-2 cup will do.

Measuring spoons – like the dry cups, these can be leveled off with the back side of a knife.

Thermometers. There’s several types of thermometers used but four main ones in the kitchen. One is a freezer thermometer, to insure proper temperature in the freezer for safe food storage. A meat thermometer can be inserted into cooked meat to insure safe temperature is reached. A glass candy thermometer is needed for cooking mostly candy but sometimes other things also. Lastly, an accurate oven thermometer is good.

A timer. When something says bake for 30 minutes it’s easy to get distracted and – oops! – it’s 45 minutes later and a burned batch of goodies. A reliable timer keeps that from happening with a reminder.

Bowls – mixing bowls of various sizes are essential. There should be at least three sizes. Traditionally, stainless steel, glass and earthenware are popular but plastic rules today.

Chopping board – wood, acrylic or stone have become popular cutting boards. Some like to have one for meats and another for anything else, but you can also wash thoroughly.

A good set of sharp knives makes deboning, paring, slicing bread and other tasks easy. Good knives aren’t cheap and have a spot to slip into a block. Don’t store knives in a drawer where they’ll get torn up. Take care of a good set and it’ll last a long time.

Knife sharpener – for when those knives lose their edge. It’s not difficult to sharpen them with a good sharpener.

Kitchen shears – get a good heavy duty pair.

Vegetable parer – we used to call them potato peelers.

Other items – pepper grinder, rotary (non electric) egg beater,nut cracker, funnels, graters, colander, strainer, juicer, meat pounder, egg slicer, melon baller and zester.

Additionally there are a few items that may cross over to preserving – a meat grinder, kitchen scales and a mortar and pestle for crushing some things for cooking.

This sounds like a lot, but a well stocked kitchen makes food preparation and preserving much easier! Tomorrow…we’ll tackle pots, pans and more!


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