The silverware set was a wedding gift from my childhood best friend, Allison Monti, who once, at the age of four, organized a celebrity garage sale in her Seattle neighborhood. We are completely smitten with this gift and its Giver, and truth be told, this was our first hint that we may just be growing up after all.
I use our kitchen shears for countless tasks. Cutting plastic packages, trimming greens beans, opening mail, cutting the ends off flowers...in fact, I'm pretty sure I use these scissors more than I should.
Old-School Ice Cream Scoop w/ the Orange Handle:
This is the ice cream scoop from my childhood that I somehow managed to smuggle out of my mother's house. To this day I cannot say I've found a better one. Coming from me, someone who works with ice cream, well, like every day, that's saying something. Growing up we used to love to dip the metal scoop in hot water and yes, how lovely, the scoop retains the heat because it's metal, a conductor of heat. Beautiful. Now the ice cream can be scooped with ease. Ahhhaaa. Hey Einsteins at those manufacturers who are making those cheap, plastic scoops out there, please take note.
The perfect scoop for perfect little scoops of...I don't know, use your imagination. We like to use ours for: homemade ice cream bon-bons, pats of butter for pancakes and waffles, blobs of sour cream for chilis and stews, and dispensing batter for our mini muffins. Who doesn't like down-sized things? They're irresistibly cute!
I'm not sure if this was originally Evan's or mine. We both had a tendency to veer towards OXO brand in college. (Must be the G.I. Joe Kung-Fu grip). You know how it goes, you move in together and everything just becomes One. You eventually weed out the stuff you absolutely hate or just don't use and begin to claim that all the useful, timeless, treasured pieces were obviously yours in the first place, and aren't you kind to share it with your Beloved. All I know is that this black OXO was our original can opener and it was hijacked by the Cafe. Only recently has this beloved tool been returned to its place in the Drawer. In the meantime we were using E's parents' (barely operable) camping can-opener from the 1970's. The joints in my hands would scream, "Arthritis"-- I mean --"MERCY " every time I used it. Fortunately E rescued our old one and we've been lovingly opening cans ever since.
My most essential and beloved item in the kitchen. So useful. Think: nutmeg, hard cheese, garlic, citrus zest...
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Like almost every cook I know, I rarely measure, the exception to the rule is baking. ALWAYS MEASURE WHEN YOU'RE BAKING. Baking is like science. Proportion and technique are everything. It is my belief that some people have "the touch" when it comes to baking. I am not one of those people. Fortunately Evan is, so he bears the title of "Master Baker" and takes care of the majority of the biscuits, scones, muffins, and blueberry pancakes in the house. Me? I could use all the help I can get. So I went through four different sets of measuring cups before I found the "ones." I'm particularly a fan of these measuring cups because they're collapsible, which saves space in the Drawer, which let's be real, is full of prime real-estate.
My sister and brother-in-law bought this for us at their local farmer's market in Union Square in New York City. The peddler of the peeler, an English-born man named J. Ades, has since become somewhat of a New York legend, and is known for his plaid suits, crafty showmanship, and is more than likely to be sitting on or near a pile of potato and carrot peelings, hawking his blades on the street. If you believe his act than you might be convinced you've purchased the greatest peeler in the world. Tara and Dan believed the hype and sent one to the West Coast. Our opinion? Go visit Union Square Market and pick yourself up one of these. They really are amazing. And from what I hear, it's worth the show.
Two Baby Spoons:
These stem from a habit I adopted from my mother. Growing up we always had a plethora of baby spoons lying around and they ultimately became our favorites for eating dessert with. I can still picture my mom cupping her mug of ice cream (chocolate-always), the end of a silver baby spoon poking from her lips. To this day I love to have a couple of these in the drawer. Now-a-days they're perfect for stirring our espresso, and eating things like creme brulee and The Best Chocolate Pudding Ever.
Yet another habit I inherited from my mother's kitchen. I think we both agree that we cannot stress enough the usefulness of having an over-sized spoon in your drawer for spur-of-the-moment needs. They're perfect for plating dinners, mixing batters (and consequently licking later), scooping ice cream if your trusty scoop is busy being washed, or just for general serving purposes.
Working in fine dining where there are plenty of opportunities to completely embarrass yourself trying to present wine at a table, you learn pretty quickly which wine openers are your friends and which wine openers are foe. I like this one because there's a bottle opener on the other end which comes in handy since Evan and I rarely drink the same thing at the same time. In his ahem- "older" years, Evan has found that both wine and beer can have negative impact on his head but if having to choose between the two, he'll take a beer any day. I on the other hand, am just learning to open my heart to beer...if only just a little. Either way, a good wine opener, one that you love, one that won't break on you, particularly if in front of a table trying to open up a 2004 bottle of Archery Summit (d'oh) is an essential kitchen tool.
What about you? What are your most treasured tools of the trade? What does your Kitchen Drawer look like?
Posted by Ali and Evan at 4:04 PM