There are many different types of utensils produced for use in the kitchen. Before buying an item for use in your kitchen, however, it is a good idea to ask yourself a few questions first: is it something you need, do you already have something that does the same job, is it is a well-constructed item that will last for a long time, and can you afford it. It is also a good idea to go through your kitchen cabinets and drawers every few months and get rid of items that you don't really need and never use.
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There are four electrical appliances that frequent cooks may use on a regular basis: a toaster, mixer, food processor and blender. Toasters can used to toast bread, bagels and breakfast pastries, as well as cook some frozen items, such as chicken patties. Before cooking an item in your toaster, though, make sure that the food is made specifically to be cooked in a toaster, as some things can fall apart or drip grease, possibly ruining the appliance. An electric mixer can be used to beat and mix various ingredients, including batters and doughs, and is available in both hand and stand mixer formats. Food processors blend, mix and chop up ingredients for salsas, fillings or even baby foods. Blenders work in a similar way, chopping, grating, mixing and puréeing ingredients for drinks and fillings. Depending on how often you cook rice, you may want to invest in a rice cooker. Some include attachments that allow you to steam vegetables or fish at the same time you are making the rice. Can openers come in both electrical, automatic varieties as well as manual, handheld types. These are useful for opening canned goods, including tuna, precooked pasta, and even dog and cat food.
Different knives are used on different types of food so a variety of them should be kept in a working kitchen. Steak knives are small and have serrated edges while bread knives are large and feature long, serrated blades. Chef's knives are created for multiple uses, including chopping and slicing. Boning knives feature a long blade and thin, sharp edge to make the process of boning meat much easier. Paring knives often have hooked, beaklike curves, while sandwich knives have blocky blades with a serrated edge. Using the wrong knife can make it difficult to cut, dice, slice or chop your ingredients, so it is important to have a proper knife for the task you are performing.
Pots and Pans
Like knives, there are a variety of pots and pans that should be kept in a well-stocked kitchen, as each type of pot or pan is designed for a specific use. To lightly cook foods in shallow amounts of oil or butter, a frying pan is needed. These pans have a large bottom surface area and short sides. Available in different sizes, sauce pans feature small bottom surface areas and tall sides that allow them to hold liquids for sauces or soups. Stew pots are usually large and very deep, and are made to hold large amounts of liquids as well as solid ingredients like meats and vegetables.
In order to cook properly, you must have the right type of implements to stir, mix, flip, turn and serve. Spatulas are made out of plastic, rubber, metal or wood, and include a flat, broad head (or blade) attached to a handle. They are used for flipping, lifting, spreading and stirring meats, eggs and even sandwiches while they are frying, grilling or steaming. Usually made out of metal, tongs are used to grasp and hold meats and vegetables when they are on a grill or in a fryer. A whisk is a metal utensil made up of a series of bent wires. It is used to mix, beat and stir liquid items that may be lumpy, such as eggs, gravies and sauces.
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