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Saturday Stirrings: Tools of the Trade

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, I had been lax about planning the menu. I usually have at least 5 dinners planned on paper. But for the last few weeks, I was quite content to eat Rum Balls, and feed the children Kraft Mac-n-Cheese.

Oh, I’m kidding.

Sort of.

The time has come to pay the piper. So, I’ll be sitting down to plan for next week. And I’ll be getting back in the saddle with “Saturday Stirrings” as well. Especially now that I have a BRAND NEW SONY CYBERSHOT so that I can dazzle you all with my culinary creations. (And get this, it doesn’t even have a flash cube on top!)

Although, Fiddledaddy took a look at some pictures I took of the breakfast sandwiches I was making and he said, well, (I’ll clean it up for the internet), they, um, didn’t look very appetizing.

He wasn’t insulting my cooking. He loves my breakfast sandwiches. I just seem to have no clue as to how to photograph food. Or people either, really.

I’ll work on it.

What I did want to talk about is my love affair with my cooking accoutrements. I had really no idea how to cook when I married Fiddledaddy. It wasn’t all that difficult to read the instructions on the “Stovetop Stuffing” box. But, often times, that was the main course.

And I wonder why my metabolism deserted me.

For a wedding gift, I received a set of Revere Ware cookware. And I muddled through. Neither Fiddledaddy or I starved, evidently, by the looks of our swollen faces in pictures from out first year of marriage. Then, about 4 years ago, we discovered the South Beach Diet method of cooking, and I turned into a full fledged gourmet cook.

I’m not even scared to cook brown rice from scratch.

But, I quickly found out that I needed to upgrade my cookware. I added some All-Clad, which was very nice. But then, Shalee turned me on to Calphalon. OH MY WORD.

I’m hooked. I’ve been adding pieces on an as needed basis. There are different grades within Calphalon, and I think I have a little of everything within the nonstick line. They cook evenly, and the clean up is fast, fast, fast. Thusly, ensuring more blogtime.

I even got some of the bakeware line, and it’s the best stuff I’ve ever used.

This got me to thinking. About more than just eating. What cooking essentials do you all recommend in your kitchen? I would never have known about Calphalon if Shalee hadn’t been blogging about it.

So, let’s pretend that we’re making suggestions for a kitchen registry. What would top your list?

Please Note: This is so NOT a paid advertisement. I wish.

30 Responses to Saturday Stirrings: Tools of the Trade

  • I love Calphalon, too. They sell a version that is not non-stick, but how crazy is that?! You have to clean it using special cleansers and it takes forever to get all the gunk off. My SIL has that kind and she hates it. Have a great Saturday!

  • Wowza… I’m impressed. I just got a stainless steel stock pot thing for Christmas… haven’t used it yet.

    I guess I’ll need a really long spoon to go with it. That’s what I’ll be adding next. LOL

  • Dee,
    that’s too funny because I, too, am in the process of ridding myself of my Revere Ware and replacing it with Calphalon, but I don’t have too many pieces yet. I am currently drooling over one of the Dutch ovens to replace mine that leaves little bits of the “coating” on the food I’m making sometimes. (I know – yum!)
    Anyway, I just got back into the swing of my menu planning last week also and I’m happy to be doing it. I think just making menus is almost a kitchen gadget in itself!! What a timesaver.
    As far as actual items, there are too many to list (actually, I just can’t think of too many right now!) but I’ve been using a toaster oven for over ten years now and at times I would be lost without it, especially in the summer.
    Also, I love my little stick blender. I use it as a food processor, smoothie maker, tomato and cookie crusher and whatever else I can think of!
    I have so many other little items that I couldn’t be without. And I won’t even get into my baking supplies because I could do a whole post on the dos and don’ts of those!!!!
    Sorry to go on so long – you hit on one of my loves: cooking!

  • An old-fashioned cast iron skillet. I love mine. Once it is well-seasoned, food doesn’t stick much, AND it adds iron to your diet by the tiny amounts absorbed by your food when you cook in it.

  • A live-in chef.

  • Cast iron.

    I have All Clad. I really wish that I had some Le Cruset though.

    Also good quality whisks, spoons, spatulas, measuring spoons, cups, etc.q

  • My favorite, favorite new tool is my Pampered Chef can opener. I’m left handed and can use it with ease. No sharp edges. Fits nicely in a drawer. No cord. Everyone needs one!

  • just one word of caution: do NOT let your husband wash the calphalon in the dishwasher.

    I had never told him that little rule, and one night I went away and he made something, and then washed the pots in the dishwasher, thus RUINING them beyond use, ever again.

  • Hi, found your blog while doing some New Year’s surfing.

    I would love to get some Calphalon, but have discovered the Cook’s Essential line via QVC. (Thanks to my MIL.)

    I have a bad habit of wanting everything I see on the Food Network.

  • I love the OXO tools. The vegetable peeler is fabulous. A really good rubber spatula is a must in my kitchen as well. But sigh, I don’t own caphalon….wishful dreaming.

  • My black and decker mini chopper cannot be lived without. I just traded in T Fal for a set of Farberware and I am LOVING the new ones soooo much. They cook much more evenly and I am loving how much easier they clean than even the T Fal did.

  • The top 5 on my list would be:

    1) Rachel Ray non stick cookware (I LOVE this and you absolutely cannot burn anything, believe me they had plenty of opportunity.

    2) Pampered Chef Bamboo spoons

    3) Kitchen Aid Stainless Mixer (this is the only way I can do my Christmas baking)

    4) Nice wood cutting board

    5) Henkel’s Chef Knife

  • I have the Target line of Calphalon, and it’s all right.

    I wish I had known before purchasing the Calphalon that they recommended against washing it in the dishwasher. Are they on crack? I can’t be washing pots by hand every day!

    We had Cooks Essentials by QVC before and were very satisfied with them. You can even use metal utensils without screwing up the non-stick surface!

    I also love my Pampered Chef crinkle cutter. I use it every single day of my life.

  • I’ll just dream about the calphalon for now. I like using the food processor: I make salsa, oreo balls, sausage balls, filling for egg rolls, yum yum.
    I also have a good spatula that I use for all sorts of cooking.

    Definately my handy dandy little mini chopper for those big jobs needed to be done in short amount of time.

  • I second Veronica’s comment. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a marvel.

    Otherwise, I also love Calphalon.

  • Ditto on the dishwasher and non-stick Calphalon. I accidentally ruined a $180 saute pan. I can still cook with it but it ain’t a pretty sight.

  • Two Words: Pampered Chef. A friend of mine took me to a pampered chef party & gave me a certain amount of $ to spend right after I got married…some of the best investments I made were my pizza stone, bamboo spoons & spatulas, and their pizza cutter is the best I have found anywhere. Also, I’ve been married five years now, and all my Pampered Chef stuff is still nice, so you know it lasts!

  • I can’t live without my cast iron skillet!

  • Oh or my stoneware from Pampered Chef!

  • I got a set of stainless steel Cuisinart for Christmas and I LOVE THEM. I used to have non-stick pans and I kept hearing how bad they are for you (the stuff gets in your food) and I finally made the switch…or rather, my mom made the switch for me. She bought me the Cuisinarts for Christmas.

  • I got the Grind and Brew for Christmas. It’s only been a week and frankly I cannot imagine life without it. I posted about it today if you have interest in the review. Seriously I think this thing was sent directly from heaven above!

  • Calphalon santoku knives. Just got the set I’ve been pining for and I love them! I agree about Pampered Chef too, all of their stuff is great.

  • My Pampered Chef non stick cookware, hands down. Being a consultant, I have to admit, I am a little biased, but of all the products (that I love!), those are by far my most favorite!
    Second favorite is my Santoku knife!

  • Lets see here, I LOVE my Henkels knives and my griddle, I think its black and decker? And for Christmas this year I finally get to get a Kitchenaid Mixer!!! I am so excited to go and pick it out too 🙂

  • I think I’ve sung the praises of Pampered Chef on your blog before. I have the Executive cookware, also not to be used in the dishwasher, but you don’t need to!!!! Everything just slides off, even if you try to burn cheese in them. Sooooo easy to clean, even if the Turkey roasting pan sits on top of the stove for hours after holiday dinners. Got the Santoku knife, too. Oh, my! Best knife ever.

    And no, I’m not a consultant, just a good customer and occasional hostess. I have most of their tools and I wouldn’t want to give up any of ’em. We like the grill pan to make paninis, too. Oh yeah, stoneware also ROCKS!

  • I love all my kitchen gadgets, but the following would have to top my list:

    KitchenAid Mixer

    KitchenAid Food Processor

    High quality knives including my favorite Henkel Santoku knife

    Cuisinart Griddler (useful for everything from hamburgers & pancakes to no spatter bacon!)

    Cast iron frying pan (the rest are All Clad)

    My huge (cook for a crowd) Cuisinart electric non-stick fry pan

  • We absolutely love our Kuerig Coffee Maker!

  • I was accused just yesterday of being obsessed with kitchen gadgets. I love my Nigella Lawson measuring cups in Celadon blue. They make me happy. Gotta have a good whisk and my favorite spatula of all time is the pink one from Williams-Sonoma. I love my new Martha Stewart skillet. And my husband just bought me Alton Brown’s salt cellars and they are so handy! Plus, they’re cute. The way I see it, everything must be functional, but it must also be pretty. I spend what feels like 95 percent of my life with these gadgets. I use them every day. I ought to be able to enjoy looking at them. I gotta say, though, there’s just no making a cheese grater cute. Never gonna happen. But I still need one. I just don’t LOVE it like I love my celadon blue measuring cups.

  • The Pampered Chef Measure All Cup…Can’t live without mine! Love your blog!

  • I’ve started my Christmas “wish list” for this coming year. I’ve decided that it’s probably a good thing I’ve never attended a Pampered Chef party, because I would have to knock off the corner bank to buy everything I want.

    And I don’t look good in stripes. Or orange.

    I’m loving y’alls lists!