Cooks Illustrated Kitchen Tools and Equipment List: Kitchen Gadgets and Handy Tools, Part 2

November 18, 2013 · 13 comments

It’s well known by now that we at r’n’ are Big Fans of the list of recommendations found in the back of Cook’s Illustrated The Science of Good Cooking.

Best Kitchen Gadgets Part 2-1See it cozied up there next to its buddies, Perfect VegetablesBaking Illustrated, and The Best International Recipe?

(The other “Illustrators” books on the right are part of Rick’s art book collection. Didn’t plan it that way: the Cook’s volumes just fit better on that shelf than on our other THREE full shelves of cookbooks.)

Best Kitchen Gadgets Part 2-2What can we say?

We love learning to cook new dishes, and we love high-quality tools to do it with.

The thing is, not every gadget one comes across in kitchen stores is essential. In fact, you can easily–and quickly–fill a kitchen to overflowing with culinary chotchkies. If you want to separate an egg, you don’t need a gadget. You just need to learn how to separate an egg.

However, some tools ARE necessary, and Cook’s does a great job of sifting the real wheat from the chapstick. Thus we pick up here from where we left off, “Kitchen Gadgets and Handy Tools, Part One.”

RSVP Precision Pierced Stainless-Steel 5-Quart Colander

I will admit to being a little confused by Cook’s “best colander” recommendation. Know what I think when I read that? I chuckle at the ludicrousness of marketing a simple–albeit best-of-breed–kitchen colander as being both “precise” and “pierced.”

First of all, what’s so precise about it? I’ve never seen a colander that has industrial-grade measurement markings, nor have I ever thought I needed one. And if it actually held up to 5.5 quarts, or only 4.5 for that matter, who cares? We run a laissez-faire kinda kitchen around here.

Secondly, isn’t a colander supposed to be pierced?! How is that a marketable feature, worthy of being included in the nomenclature?! Without the piercings, you’d just have a really expensive metal bowl.

If the marketeers of said undoubtably fabulous colander had paid attention in school, they would have known and embraced the “when needed for clarity, hyphenate a compound adjective before the noun” rule.

This would have allowed me to focus instead on the stability provided by the metal ring on the bottom and the many small, precise piercings (aka “holes”) that allow for quick draining without losing your linguini down the sink.

CIA Masters Collection 63/4-inch Fine-Mesh Strainer

See? How hard was it to hyphenate those compound adjectives?

Except this one confused me a wee bit as well. What does the Central Intelligence Agency have to do with kitchen strainers?

Wait… I don’t want to know.

Ha ha. Rick just explained: “Culinary Institute of America.”

Never mind.

WMF Profi Plus 11-1/4-Inch Stainless Steel Potato Masher

Don’t even get me started on what my brain just did with “WMF.”

It’s a good potato masher. Buy one if you need one. That is all.

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

Firm hugs and kisses from your salad spinner? Okay, I’m outta here.

And I’m happy to say that we got to the end of this “handy kitchen gadgets” list without mentioning “best” egg separators, popcorn machines, or panini makers.

Me: What’s the most useless kitchen gadget you know that people actually buy?

Rick: Panini maker.

Me: Haha. Yes. Egg separator, panini maker… I need one more. What else?

Rick: I dunno. Just a minute… Where’s that Chef’s catalogue that came in the mail today? It’ll be full of them… Oh wait… I just found something we actually do need.

Does anyone else think this is funny?

More Kitchen Recommendations

knives-and-knife-sharperners-rickandkathy coffee-grinders-rickandkathy
best-bakeware-rickandkathycrockpots-and-slow-cookers-rickandkathy kitchen-gadgets-rickandkathy
Pat Ganet December 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

Thank for your wonderful information about the recommendations and explanations about knives. Great ideas for gift purchases. Pat

kathy December 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Hi Pat,
You’re most welcome! We figure that since we spend so much time trying to figure these things out ourselves, why not share? Next up in the queue: best bluetooth speakers, dog leashes, and vacuum robots.
I know that list sounds pretty random, but all our product reviews are based on our actual life and purchases, and who’s life isn’t pretty random? 🙂

Sandi Fentiman November 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

Very nice! Things sometimes happen by accident; like with the books.
Here’s a challenge for you; try to get the egg out of the shell with just one hand; like the professional chefs in five star restaurants.

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