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Search ShoppingSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers
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ShoppingSpot > Kitchen Toys

Kitchen Toys

Nothing gets a cook's juices flowing like a gleaming array of gourmet gadgets. From ordinary devices you use everyday to strange contraptions that elicit "What does THAT do?" at dinner parties, kitchen tools are a cook's best friend.

What gadgets are essential? We went to the experts at several kitchen retailers for recommendations.

Basics

  • If you're just starting out, good knives, a swivel peeler, a rubber spatula and a cheese grater top the list.

  • Gadget Guru Robin Beitman also suggests an oil mister. Fill it with your choice of oil and spray pans for sauteeing or vegetables for grilling.

Specialized Tools

The wider your repertoire of recipes, the more likely you'll need specific tools. "That's where gadgets get really interesting, and where you'll often say "WHAT does that do," said Bette Kahn, spokesperson for Crate and Barrel.




  • Kahn mentioned a Cherry Pitter, which looks like a strange dental device. With a quick squeeze, the pit pops out.

  • Beitman was puzzled when she first saw a chinois. The conical strainer has a wooden pestle to push food through, producing a smooth sauce or clear soup.

  • You've seen vegetable peelers, but how about an asparagus peeler? A curved arm holds the asparagus, while the blade strips the fibrous skins from bottom to top. Visit the Food Network to find this and other thingamajigs.

  • For seafood lovers, there's the mysterious fish tool. Tweezers on one side remove bones from fish while a blade on the other peels shrimp and opens oysters.

  • The mandolin is a versatile slicing tool. A Garlic Mandolin retails for $4.99, but you can also find full-sized mandolins for $50.00 or even $200.00. Why the difference? Beitman says that less expensive ones will have some plastic parts, while pricier models are entirely metal. The "starter" mandolin is more likely to have safety features, like a guard to protect your fingers, than expensive ones favored by experienced chefs.

Gadget Stores

Here are some of the best sources for gadgets:

  • Williams-Sonoma
    Find everything from the ingenious wire whisk with ceramic ball (the added action whips up extra fluffy egg whites and whipped cream) to the stick-blender (it purees soup, chops ice, minces vegetables, kneads bread dough and takes up just 13" of space) and the deLonghi convection oven (a counter-top oven that can bake a 10" pie or roast a chicken).

  • Crate and Barrel
    One of the most popular items on the site is a 7-piece stainless steel bar set. You'll also find a bagel biter (slice bagels without slicing your fingers) and the Perfect Beaker (measures even combined quantities such as 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp).

  • Chef's Catalog
    Check out bestsellers like the tomato holder, the screwless wine opener and the olive oil mister.

  • OXO
    This popular gadget manufacturer's online catalog features whisks, peelers and graters of every size and shape, as well as sets that make expanding your gadget collection easy.

  • abestkitchen.com
    Discover the ingenious Rubber Garlic Peeler, CleanCut Lettuce Knife (it won't brown your lettuce), and the Apple Peeler, Corer and Slicer (it does them all at once).

Reviews and Bestsellers

  • Amazon Bestsellers
    Check out the bestsellers in Kitchen and Dining, updated hourly. Also be sure to see the most gifted and most wished-for items.

  • CNET's Appliances and Kitchen blog can help point you toward the best kitchen gadgets, with reviews of coffeemakers, popcorn makers, food processors, pizza slicers and more.





   --- J. Walker

 
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