Kitchen Equipment and Utensils for Convenience
Every good, modern cook should have a convenient kitchen. This means adequate working surfaces at a comfortable height (90 cm./3 ft. is about right for the average-sized person) and in a useful position in relation to the cooker, sink and electric plugs. It means adequate lighting, both natural and artificial, directed onto work surfaces, cooker and sink.
Convenient storage space is essential too, for store-cupboard foods, fresh foods and kitchen equipment. Ideally, a cool larder or pantry could house all of these items; however, in most compact modern homes this is usually out of the question and the housewife must rely on cupboard space. Forfoodstuffs, cupboards should be cool which means locating them as far away from central heating boilers, heaters and cookers as possible.
Your collection of kitchen equipment should be built up gradually. Choose the items that suit you and your kitchen best, that suit the kind of cooking you do — and the size of home and family you have. Most important of all, buy the best quality equipment you can afford: cheap equipment —utensils in particular — is false economy because it will need to be replaced more often.
Automatic chopper for chopping herbs, nuts, vegetables
Baking sheets minimum of two; heavy; made of a good conductor of heat
Balloon whisk ideal for egg whites, cream
Board or marble slab for bread- and pastry-making to protect work surfaces; marble preferable for pastry
Bottle/can opener wall-mounted if available
Bread board for slicing bread; to protect work surfaces and to ensure strong-tasting foods will not contaminate
Brushes two — one for oiling baking sheets, etc.; one for brushing water/milk/egg on pastry, etc.
Bun tins one tray; for individual cakes, buns and Yorkshire pudding
Cake tins set of three deep 17.5 cm./7 in., 20 cm./8 in., 22.5 cm./9 in.; round or square; two shallow 17.5 cm./7 in. sandwich tins; one loose-bottomed 20 cm./8 in. cake tin (round or square) or one 20 cm./8 in. cake tin with sloping sides (moule-a-manqué)
Carving fork with finger guard
Casserole dishes flameproof; two sizes — small, round and large oval; heavy-based, preferably of cast iron
Cherry pitter for easy removal of stones in fruit
Chopping boards minimum of two; to protect work surfaces; separate board for garlic, onions, etc.
Cocktail sticks wooden; to secure food
Colander for draining; nylon or metal
Dariole (castle) pudding moulds four to six individual moulds; for sponge puddings, custards, mousses, etc.
Deep-fat fryer with wire basket; for all deep-fat frying — fish, croquettes, potatoes, doughnuts, etc.
Double boiler/steamer for delicate sauces, suet-based and sponge puddings, etc.
Fish slice/spatula to remove fish and other flat food easily from pans, plates, etc.
Flan rings two 17.5 cm./7 in. (one plain, one fluted); two 20 cm./8 in. (one plain, one fluted); for tarts, flans, quiches Flour and sugar sifters one of each
Frying pan all-purpose; 25 cm./10 in. is a useful size; preferably heavy-based, of cast iron with or without non-stick finish
Hand grater straight sides; metal; for grating lemon and orange rind, etc.
Jelly mould aluminium/glass/copper; attractive shape for jellies, mousses, creams, etc.
Kebab skewers set of six; for barbecue cooking or grilling meat, fish, etc..
Metric and Imperial weights/dial
Kitchen scissors preferably poultry scissors to cut through bones
Kitchen timer clockwork; for accurate timing; fitted on most modern cookers
Knives carving knife; bread knife; two French cooks knives (12.5 cm./5 in. and 15 cm./6 in.) of stainless or carbon steel; all-purpose for chopping, filleting; French vegetable knife (10 cm./4 in. pointed blade); serrated-edge knife for cutting fruit and vegetables; grapefruit knife; palette knife
Loaf tins two 1 kg./2 lb. Tins; for baking bread, pâtés, tea breads, etc.
Mandoline for fine slicing of potatoes, carrots, etc.
Measuring jug 600 ml./1 pint Metric and Imperial; heatproof
Measuring spoons two sets — Metric and Imperial
Mincer hand-operated; for meat, poultry, etc.
Mixing bowls minimum set of three, varying sizes
Mortar and pestle for pounding, crushing spices, garlic, etc.
Mouli grater hand-operated rotary grater for fine grating of cheese, chocolate, etc.
Mouli-Legumes food mill; for purées
Omelet/pancake pans one of each; keep exclusively for cooking omelets/pancakes; preferably of cast iron/aluminium
Pastry cutters set with different sizes from 1.25 cm./1/2 in. to 7.5 cm./3 in.
Pie dishes ovenproof, 600 ml./1 pint capacity; 1,200 ml./2 pint capacity; for sweet and savoury pies and puddings
Pie funnel to allow steam to escape from pies; to pour jellied stock into savoury pies to be served cold
Pie plates ovenproof glassware, ceramic or aluminium; 17.5 cm./7 in.; 20 cm./8 in.; 22.5 cm./9 in.; for fruit plate pies, etc.
Piping (forcing) bag washable nylon with small and large nozzles, plain or rose; for piping cream, icing, potato, etc. Potato masher for softer mashed vegetables
Pressure cooker for cooking casseroles, stews, dumplings, basic stocks, pulse-based dishes, suet- and sponge-based puddings very quickly
Pudding basins set of three — 600 ml./1 pint, 900 ml./1-½ pint, 1,200 ml./2 pint; set of four to six individual pudding basins 150 ml./1/4 pint; for sponge- and suet-based puddings and individual moulds
Ramekin dishes set of six
Ring mould aluminium; 20 cm./8 in. — 22.5 cm./9 in.; for jellies, rice dishes, savarins, etc.
Roasting tin large; for roasting joints, poultry, Yorkshire pudding, etc.
Rotary beater hand-operated
Rubber spatula for scraping bowls and pans clean
Salt and pepper mills for coarse sea salt and black and white peppercorns
Saucepans minimum set of three, plus milkpan (preferably non-stick) with pouring lip
Scoop for ice cream, potatoes, etc.
Sieves nylon and/or metal; small and large; for draining, particularly for sauces
Slotted spoon for easy draining Soufflé dishes set of two straight-sided, ovenproof dishes —12.5 cm./5 in. or 600 ml./1 pint capacity and 17.5 cm./7 in. or 1,200 ml./2 pint capacity; for sweet and savoury souffles, cooked or uncooked
Tongs to remove food easily from pans
Trussing needle and strings for trussing poultry and game, boned and rolled joints of meat, etc.
Vegetable brush for scrubbing vegetables, e.g. celery
Vegetable peeler for easy peeling of potatoes and all root vegetables; also cores apples
Wire rack round and square; to cool cakes, biscuits, buns, etc.
Wooden spatulas two — one for sweet, one for savoury
Wooden spoons two small and two large; one set for sweet and one for savoury
Electrical equipment in the kitchen
To be efficient — and to save time and effort — a good cook will appreciate a collection of electrical gadgets and appliances. As with basic equipment in the kitchen, the choice of electrical items will reflect personal taste, needs and circumstances.
Make sure that there are plenty of electric points in the kitchen. These should be situated above work surfaces (as far away from the sink as possible), and spaced conveniently apart. Ideally, there should be a socket for each electrical appliance, so that in the case of items such as mixers, blenders and toasters, these can stand on the work surface ready for use. (Appliances and gadgets in cupboards and drawers are often neglected.)
Here is a list of some of the most useful electrical appliances for the kitchen.
Automatic oven – on most modern cookers; invaluable aid for busy cook who is not at home for long periods during the day
Blender/liquidiser either free-standing with two attachments — blender/liquidiser and grinder — or a blender/grinder attachment to fit a mixer appliance
Deep-fat fryer portable
Frypan portable; can be used for cooking complete meals in one pan Freezer
Grill/griddle-waffle iron for steaks, chops, toasted sandwiches, waffles; portable
Microwave oven – portable or fitted
Mixer either free-standing or portable hand-held model
Toaster useful if grill is occupied
Useful Kitchen Aids
The extra-strong type is ideal for wrapping cakes, tarts and doughs for freezing. The thinner gauge foil is suitable to cover cakes during baking to prevent the top burning.
This is used to line cake tins and baking trays, to cover cakes during baking to prevent the top burning, and to make piping bags for icing.
Non-stick baking parchment
This is used to line the tray when baking biscuits, meringues and delicate cakes. It makes removal of the baked items much easier and it can be re-used several times.
Very useful for draining food and for keeping the work top continually clean.
The electric mixer saves a lot of work, time and energy. Electric whisks and food mixers operate basically on the same principle. A hand whisk will only cope with small quantities of mixture, whereas a free-standing food mixer can handle larger quantities. The beaters are used to whisk sponge mixtures, biscuit mixtures, egg whites, cream and custards. The dough hook is used in the preparation of yeast doughs. When using an electric mixer remember to begin mixing or kneading at a slow speed and then gradually increase it. Be careful not to over-mix the mixture.
The food processor is an invaluable kitchen aid, and is a great help for making bread, cakes and biscuits.