Cooking Gear

With all the discussion of non-stick skillets and the like happening I decided it was time for a new thread. So here we go, geek out about cooking gear you want, brag about your collection, and maybe give some of us ideas for things we should really have in our kitchens.

As far as I'm concerned the most important thing in my kitchen is the knife block full Wustof knives. They take a great edge, hold it just about forever, and are just perfectly balanced.
Next up on the list is the Kitchenaid stand mixer. I really hate getting dough stuck on my hands, so before I got this I didn't do a hell of a lot of baking. Now that I have it not only is it so much faster, but no more dough covered hands Blum 3
As far as pots and pans, I love my set of Calphalon anodized aluminum. You don't really want to cook anything too acidic in them, but otherwise they're durable and heat evenly.
Then there's the fun gadget list: cooking torch, ring molds, sausage maker, pasta maker. Most of these don't see really regular use but they're just fun, and occasionally earn me odd looks from guests when I have a dinner party.
One the wish list: an olive/cherry pitter. I'm tired of having to remove pits with a paring knife Blum 3

Forums: 
The Which's picture

Embodiment

I'm jealous of your knives; I've been on the hunt for some good ones I can afford.

I have the best cherry pitter in the world: a bent paper clip. I'm not kidding. There is soooo much less splatter that way. I have an actual pitter, but it makes the cherries look like someone shot them.

I love my kitchenaid, salad shooter, and immersion blender the most, and all the other kitchen gadgets fall somewhere after those three. The yogurt maker is fun, but you have to start with yogurt to use it. Rice steamer, slow cooker, onion chopper, bread maker, food processor...

That said, sometimes when I'm stressed it's nice to prep everything by hand, without any gadgets. It's my version of meditating, smushing butter into flour by hand.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I completely forgot about the rice cooker, and the immersion blender and yogurt maker probably should have hit the gadget list Blum 3 How do you pit the cherries with a paper clip? As far as good knives, I don't know if you have a store called Tuesday Morning in your area, but they occasionally get some really good deals on knives. I got my base block of the Wusthof there years ago marked down to $150 from more than $350; I've just been adding to it since then.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I have a Tuesday Morning right up the road from me. I'll have to check it out.

How to pit a cherry:
Unfold the paperclip so it looks like an "S." Push it into the cherry until it hits the pit. Use the hook of paperclip to yank out the pit. I usually use the small side, but the big side might be easier if the pits are really big.

erinnstreeter's picture

Devotee

I've been using the Kitchen Stewardship method of yogurt making, which involves using a towel-lined cooler to keep the temperature right for the lactose-eating critters.

*starts google shopping for a yogurt maker*

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

and a crock pot are probably only interesting cooking implements I own. I love them dearly, and they make people think I'm a much better cook than I really am. I love experimenting with new bread recipes and stew is one of my favorite foods.

amiciaN's picture

Petitioner

I have a 12" cast iron griddle that I dearly love, so much so that I am taking it to France with me this summer, weight limits on baggage be damned!! No acidic foods or meats are allowed to touch it, since I usually only salt scrub it unless I have good reason to do otherwise. The best part? I rescued it for $5 from some idiot at a flea market that was going to paint the bottom of it!!
:jawdrop:

Another essential is my "canning wrench" or "jar wrench", the kind that will spread 180 degrees, is vinyl coated all the up, has two different gripping areas that will grip almost any sized lid and without the little teeth. Upper body strength is not my forte, but with this gadget, I can open just about lid or bottle cap that screws on.

I'm also going to take my 12" Cutco chef's knife and my Rada potato peeler; most other potato peelers I've tried suck. But watch it, because it will take the skin off your knuckles as fast as it peels a spud, as my niece's fiance had to recently had to explain to his fellow firemen. Rada is good cutlery for really reasonable prices; I paid a whole $3 for my peeler. Biggrin
UPDATE: The price of the peeler is now $6.60 and worth every last penny.

The last essentials? My "Joy of Cooking" and my "Wise Encyclopedia of Cooking". The former because it has a recipe for just about anything and the latter because it has all those ingredients that you read and go, "what the hell is that??" :? .

magalicious's picture

Postulant

Wusthof knives are the best! I especially adore my two santoku-style Wusthof knives, a 5" and a 7". I use them for everything!
I also love my cast iron. I have an 18" cast iron skillet, and an iron stove-top two-sided griddle, with a flat and a grill side, among more common cookware. I love it for pancakes - it's the only way!
I also love the bread machine. I adore it. I'll be all like, damn, I want cinnamon raisin bread! And then I'll be like, wow, in two hours I can have it, all hot and fresh! I'm such a nerd, I know, but to be able to pop everything in there and go about my business, and all the sudden there's magic bread - it blows my mind.
Simple things, I know. Wink
Also, my mom's yogurt maker from the seventies, and her fondue pot from the same decade. They're international orange!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

a yogurt maker? I've never even heard of such a contraption.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

It's basically just a container that holds a slightly warm temperature to allow the little lactose eating bugs to do their thing to the milk.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

does it take to make yogurt in one? How is the result different from store-bought yogurt?

Davik's picture

Embodiment

The time is variable, and it's honestly been long enough since I used mine that I don't even remember a ball park for it. The difference from store bought is that by controlling the time you can control the tartness of the yogurt (anywhere from mild American stuff to dear gods middle eastern). You can also control the thickness of it, but if you want something like labna(labneh) you'll still have to put the yogurt in a cloth and squeeze some water out.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

It takes anywhere from 8-24 hours, and the biggest difference is the satisfaction that you made it Blum 3 The annoying thing is that you have to start with store bought yogurt or some that you made earlier, so it isn't all that helpful when you need some yogurt and dont want to go to the store.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

sound like kind of a pain. Do you just need the cultures or something? Can you get them from another source?

Davik's picture

Embodiment

All you really need is the bacteria; you could probably get away with just dumping some yogurt in an ice cube tray and freezing it so you could thaw it and use it later. Of course the freezing process would kill a lot of the bacteria, so you'd probably have to wait quite a bit longer to allow the smaller population to catch up.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I'm a Global knives kind of girl, though I don't have as many as I like - only my chef's knife and set of steak knives and a paring knife. I'd really like a carving set and a bread knife, and then my life will be complete. I also have a two-wheeled ceramic sharpener precisely for Global knives that makes my knives sharper than when I bought them. I cannot abide dull knives.

My KitchenAid has (cobalt blue artisan now, before that I had my mom's from the 70s) always been my favourite appliance. I can't imagine living without it. I'm also partial to my grinder (also KA) and coffeemaker (Cuisinart drip), as I loooove my caffeine.

I have a lovely set of cutlery that was a wedding gift from one of my best friends - nothing like cutlery to make you feel grown up - and I've amassed a nice assortment of 'china' in various french through cobalt shades of blue, ceramic and glass mixed, sort of an eclectic yet coordinated feel.

I'm a wine collector (my cellar is approaching 100 bottles) and I have a good set of crystal glassware and a beautiful crystal decanter (also a wedding gift) which I particularly prize.

The main thing I'm missing is a proper set of stainless steel cookware, much to my dismay. But I really want the All-Clad Copper Core pots and pans and I refuse to settle for anything else, so until I can save the money, I'll keep using my five stolen pots (from my mom), 2 glass and 3 cheap SS. I do have a nice 9" heavy stainless skillet, and a very well-seasoned, ancient 12" cast iron skillet (also from mom), so I'm not lacking the frying options. I have a decent stainless roasting pan, but I'll definitely upgrade it one day.

In terms of bakeware, I have nearly everything I could want, from the best cookie sheets to bundt pans and everything in between. I would like a muffin top pan and a mini muffin pan, but otherwise I truly have everything. I have silicon sheets and a gazillion gadgets. Corers, peelers, pitters, a gnocchi board - you name it and I probably have it.

I have some good appliances (great toaster, waffle iron, deep fryer, decent blender), but I do want a slow cooker, a rice maker, a dehydrator, a vitamix blender (nothing else compares), a proper espresso machine, and a semiprofessional ice cream machine. Not that I have room for all those with all the stuff I have already and my vast amount of pantry goods!

magalicious's picture

Postulant

Copper pots OM NOM NOM
So hard to keep clean, but sooo pretty and efficient!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

These are special because they have a copper core sandwiched between stainless steel, so they're easy to clean but cook like copper. That's one of many reasons I'm so set on that particular line. Smile

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Which All-Clad Copper Core are you looking at? I have several Revere copper clad that I prefer over the T-Fal and all of ours need to be replaced soon.

Except the Revere pots.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I was editing and now it got all messed up. Oh well.

I forgot to mention my huge dutch oven, my massive bamboo cutting board (it weighs ~40 lbs) and hand-crank pasta machine.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

want to come cook at your house! I always want to learn how to make new things, but I'm not always sure where to turn. I have friends who have some crazy cooking gadgets, though, and I love cooking at their house.
Also, someday when I have a house with a cellar, I'm definitely going to collect wine, and I think it's awesome that you do. I love wine. There is this adorable little shop nearby that does tastings and has a great selection, and I have been having such a wonderful time trying new things and pairing wines with different foods. My favorites tend to be Spanish or South American wines, and I have been to Bordeaux and love their wine as well. I also visited Napa Valley, and I hope someday to go to Italy (but we'll see).

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Living alone and being single (my sister and BIL drink wine, as do my landlords, but my other friend here - not many yet since I just moved - doesn't), I really need some wine drinkers to come over. I buy wine more rapidly than I can drink it. I'm kicking myself for never having been to Napa when I lived out there...gah! Btw, check you favourite wine store(s) and see if they have any Charbono/Bonarda, or Petit Verdot. I'm always on the hunt for good ones. What vairetals do you like? I like those and Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cab, dry rosés of all type, Sangiovese, Riojas, Riesling, Sauv Blanc, well, a lot! My cellar, if you're curious: http://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?iUserOverride=46776

SA and Spanish wines tend to be a great value. I'm not CRAZY about French wine, but I'm learning more. I love Italian wine (and got to learn a bit about Tuscan wine when I was in cooking school there). You'll adore Italy - it's such a great place to visit.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Careful or I will go all crazy and stalkery and hunt you down whenever I'm next visiting my family in Raleigh. And then make you reminisce about Stanford with me Biggrin

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I'd love to visit with you if you come to my neck of the woods. My sister's in Cary, so I'm around there a fair bit. Let me know when you'll be here and we can have a nice meal and chill.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Cary = Control Area for Relocated Yankees, or so my aunt tells me. Smile

But yes, next time I'm in the area I shall poke you. I miss North Carolina, it's gorgeous there. And considering the fuss my aunt raised the last time they moved, I suspect they shall be there for a while...

I'll make chocolate torte! My roommate from Georgia gave me an amazing recipe that I've been too lazy to (drive back to Kairos from Lambda Nu, get my cookbook and then) post. Assuming I find an electric juicer / buy orange juice, of course Biggrin

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

My sister & fam are actually locals (she's my half-sister). I really like Southerners, on the whole. Good people. And chocolate torte, mmmm!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

my favorites have been Riojas, Cab, Carménère, Tempranillo, Malbec, Petite Verdot (I'll check and see which ones I really liked the next time I'm in the store), and Pinot Noir. I'm mostly a red girl, but I'll definitely do a rosé and there are a few whites that I enjoy. That tends to be more of a quality thing and less of a grape thing, though. I tend to like really crisp whites. I also Love port. I generally prefer vintage ports over tawny ports, but I won't say no to either. My current bottle is a Burmester.

If If I'm ever in the area, I'll let you know, and maybe I'll bring a few of my favorites so you can try them too. Smile

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I'm definitely more sensitive to quality than varietal, too, though I'm better able to drink certain varietals if they're poorly made. I too am the crisp white sort. I used to drink mostly rosé, but now I drink mostly red.

I love cooking with port but I don't really like drinking it, alas. There are some good Petite Sirah ports I hear people discussing so keep an eye out for those. Smile Have you cooked with the Burmester?

I would LOVE to have a tasting with you!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

definitely set something up. If I'm ever in the area, too, I'll probably be there with my wine people, and they know much more about it than I do. I would love to introduce you (and one of them is my Harsin act-alike). Smile
I'll keep an eye out for those ports, thanks for letting me know. I have never cooked with the Burmester, because honestly I would probably cook with cheaper ports than that. I think the one I have now is the 2001, but it might be older than that (I've tried a few, so I can't remember what I have in stock right now). I've cooked with wine before, but never with port. If you have some recipes that call for it, I would be interested to try them.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

So we could meet up there too, if you're obliged, though I'd love to show off my kitchen and cellar. Biggrin Either way I can meet some potential Harsins!

While my husband was alive (he loved port), I would usually cook with very nice stuff because that's what was on hand, but these days I use middle-of-the-range stuff since I cook exclusively with it. In general, I cook quite a bit with alcohol, from bourbon to sherry to rum to kahlua to vodka to port to all types of wine...I LOVE what it does for flavours and deglazing.

Here's my take on Chicken Marsala...but with Port. I HAVE made it with Marsala and tawny Port as well, but I prefer it with ruby Port. This was also my husband's second-favourite dish. Smile

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Yay, you'll be nearby! Maybe even before I'm in NC... next trip is for my cousin's wedding, and given how long her last wedding took to plan, it might be a while Biggrin

If you come visit, though, I will bug Eric to invite us over. I know nothing about wine (probably negative amounts about wine, if such a thing is possible) but he is a total wine snob and will happily talk wine with you for hours Biggrin I'm occasionally jealous. Not enough to actually worry about it, though; it's not like I can take a wine tasting class for another couple years anyway.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Eeek, second wedding? Having had a wedding (which was nice and I was typically feminine about it but it was a small affair), I have no desire for another. I hope to marry again, but a handful of people would be fine with me.

I'd love to meet your wine snob friend! And you can't know negative amounts, hee. I do recommend the Stanford wine tasting class(es); my friend TAed one and raved about taking it and TAing it.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I can't imagine TAing a wine-tasting class. That sounds amazing. Free wine, and you get paid for working. I clearly chose the wrong school. Wink

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Though maybe I'd have liked it more if I took that wine class...

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

That recipe looks amazing! I'll definitely give it a shot. Smile Thanks for passing it along!

I need to cook with alcohol more. I've done wine, but that's about it (except for mousse with kahlua). I have a pretty fully stocked bar, so I could do it, if only I knew what I was doing. I try this though, and maybe work from there. Smile

Let me know when you're going to be in the bay area. I've been thinking about taking another trip out there, so keep me posted. (Send me a PM or something, because I'm never going to remember to check back here.)

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Thanks, I hope you like the recipe! And a fully stocked bar...that I need! What do you have?

Marri's picture

Supplicant

This one kid in Lantana's bar is ridiculous. I'm pretty sure he has at least 4 times my body weight in alcohol (all of it high quality). And I know for a fact there was upwards of $1000 worth in there; he has a part time job and the only thing he spends paychecks on is alcohol.

I'm going to respond to this just for kicks, because between Lantana kid, my current boy, and Winesnob boy, I hear about this aaaaaall the time Biggrin

For a basic full bar, I tend to recommend the stuff from a flash game I like (sad, huh?) that seems to cover all the bases. Game here. It's got some good recipes, too. For those who don't want to open the game, two lists (examples of liqueurs listed in parentheses):

Alcohol
Beer
Wine
Vodka
Gin
Dark rum
Light rum
151 proof rum
Coconut rum
Whiskey
Bourbon
Scotch
Irish cream
Tequila
Brandy
Dry Vermouth
Sweet Vermouth
Orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Cointreau, Blue Curacao, Grand Marnier)
Almond liqueur (Amaretto)
Hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
Chocolate liqueur (Creme de Cacao, Godiva)
Cinnamon liqueur (Goldschlager, Cinnamon Schnapps)
Licorice liqueur (Jagermeister)
Coffee liqueur (Kahlua, Tia Maria)
Melon liqueur (Midori)
Peach liqueur (Southern Comfort, Peach Schnapps)
Mint Liqueur (Creme de Menthe, Rumple Minze, Peppermint Schnapps)

Mixers / EANABs / Garnishes
Water
Sprite
Coke
Seltzer
Tonic water
Ginger ale
Bitters
Sweet & Sour mix
Cranberry Juice
Lime Juice
Lemon Juice
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Apple Juice
Grenadine
Tea
Coffe
Milk
Cream
Eggs
Salt
Sugar
Cinnamon
Cherries
Lime slices
Lemon slices
Olives

Some other things I've had and liked, or been told are good, but weren't on that list:
Absinthe
Soju (Korean sake)
Flavored vodka of various kinds
Other flavors of schnapps (I've seen grapefruit I think? There's some odd ones)
Anise liqueur (Sambuca)
Banana liqueur (Creme de Banana)
Raspberry liqueur (Chambord)

Things recommended by this website's Basic Bar list that I don't see as much:
Galliano (an Italian herb liqueur)
Limoncello (lemon liqueur)
Grapefruit juice
Tomato juice
Apples
Bananas
Oranges
Pineapples
Strawberries
Ice Cream
Orange Bitters
Nutmeg
Sugar Syrup
Tabasco Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce

If you want recommendations for particular brands of things, though... that will probably be an even longer post Biggrin People, feel free to chime in if I missed anything (or to put things in "more necessary" and "less necessary" categories or otherwise move things around in the list).

Though one thing I will say: one of my favorite drinks is a Chocolate Cake shot. A shot of half vanilla vodka and half hazelnut liqueur; you take the shot, then immediately bit into a lemon slice coated in powdered sugar. Delicious Biggrin I usually don't like shots, but it really does legitimately taste like cake. Nom nom nom.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

A friend of mine taught me how to make those, and while I've only ever used plain vodka and granulated sugar, everyone I've ever made them for has loved them. Another fun one, the peppermint patty; squirt some chocolate syrup in your mouth (or maybe lick it off your drinking buddy Blum 3 ), toss back a shot of peppermint schnapps, swish around in your mouth. Not only does it taste good, but leaves your breath minty fresh (which could be important if you went for the licking option).

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

First shot I ever did...peppermint patty, Fall '01. My dear friend's room.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Just because I feel it to be the kind of comment that you'd make: did you take the licking option? Smile

V's picture

Embodiment

He doesn't ask innocent questions. My guess is that he'd make some insinuation and see if it stuck (hurr, stuck!)
So was this dear friend male or female?

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

V wrote:

So was this dear friend male or female?

yes

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

nope--she probably would've hit me. Wink

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

The candy and the shot. The last time I tried to do them, though, my friend accidentally got 150 proof peppermint schnapps. That was a crazy, delicious night.

The licking didn't come until a few hours later, though.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Awesome list! I don't much go for shots myself other than straight vodka, but I so appreciate that info dump. And your nerdiness is awesome, not sad.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

is that I missed the whole renewed cocktail craze. Sad

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I was about to say my list doesn't hold a candle to this one, but then I realized I have everything on there that I would actually drink, at least for the alcohol. I'm missing sweet vermouth (I prefer dry), almond, cinnamon, and licorice liquor, and I think I might be out of dark rum at the moment. Other than that, I'm good.
Mixers go bad faster, but I think all I'm missing are the apple juice and the olives.
Of the bottom third list, I have nothing, and the fourth list, I only have Limoncello, apples, pineapples, strawberries, ice cream, I'm in the market for orange bitters, nutmeg, the ingredients for sugar syrup, and worcestershire sauce (which does me little good without the tomato juice, but so it goes.
I'm trying to think if there's anything else I have that's not on the list, but I'm too lazy to go look. Ginger beer? I guess that's all. The most expensive thing I have is the scotch, followed by the tequila.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Alton Brown did a ginger episode recently. I think I'm going to try his ginger beer recipe!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'm so jealous of Alton Brown. I want to do a ginger! }:)

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters. It is DELICIOUS. I drink fizzy water with Fee Bros. All their bitters are terrific.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I honestly didn't like scotch at first, because all the stuff my dad drank smelled and tasted like paint thinner. Then one xmas I got him a bottle of Balvenie 12 year old double cask, and he had me drink a glass with him. I am now a fan of single malt scotch. I haven't had too much of the same category (the islay malts like laphroaig are a little stronger than I like), but the Balvenie is absolutely amazing.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

is the Bowmore. They have 17 and 18 year bottles that are both excellent. If you really like smoky scotch, Lagavulin has a really good 16 year bottle, as well.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I have really, really tried to like scotch. But, I'm a beer girl. I went to a friends house recently and brought Delirium Tremens instead of wine.

Beer or girly drinks; I posted a recipe for the best drink ever.

V's picture

Embodiment

I picked up a bottle of Lucid and have been quite pleased. Simply put, if you like dark licorice, the real kind, you'll probably like absinthe. Yes, it's safe. No, it doesn't make you crazy. If someone hands you a bottle that's talking about all the thujone in it, run. Properly made modern and historical absinthe doesn't contain thujone at any levels that matter...it was a fallacy of 19th century science and logic. However, it -will- make your tongue go kinda numb and some of the herbs in it -are- mild stimulants, so if you drink enough for a buzz it's a slightly unusual feeling. I skip the sugar cube--that makes it taste like Good & Plenties, to me.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I honestly don't know a whole lot about real absinthe, but a guy I knew one summer was a chemical engineer who grew his own wormwood and had built his own distillery in his basement. The stuff he produced was amazing tasty (think the perfect end of the night drink when mixed with a little honey and warm water). I never personally got any hallucinogenic effects from it, but I never had more than one drink; from all outward signs he and his roommate were ripped out of their minds after a couple of drinks (dilated pupils and all). He also produced an herbal liquor that when used in place of vermouth made the most amazing martini I've ever had.

V's picture

Embodiment

Appetizer or end-of-the-night drink. If you water it down properly it's not much stronger than wine. (typically 3:1-5:1)

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

scares the crap out of me. I'm not sure I would trust someone enough to drink their stuff if they weren't a professional.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I wouldn't have trusted his stuff either except for the fact that he was a chemical engineer who was good enough to be working at a national lab. I figured that since his entire career involved being able to create and separate specific chemicals that I could trust the stuff he made for his personal consumption Blum 3

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Well, there's what I would like to have (Wustof knives) verses what I can currently afford. Otherwise the airbake cookie sheets are great, the indispensible cutting board that goes over the length of my kitchen sink.

Then there's the one and only, 70's era Betty Crocker cook book. When my grandmother died we were helping my grandfather move to a smaller place and found it, still wrapped in the original celophane. Had that for about ten years now.

Oh, and can't forget my butchering equipment. Grinder, dehydrater, vacuume sealer. At least have a some Chicago Cutlery knives for this. Only thing I don't have yet is a smoker.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I'm dying for a good smoker myself, which is why it's part of two of my summer plans. I'm going to lay brick for a dual chamber smoker grill for myself in the back yard, and I'm going to be helping a friend of mine build a full on smoke shack so that I can toss things in his batches occasionally when I want things cold smoked. I just hope I have both the time and money for everything I have planned.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

With my young family in our "starter home" I don't plan on building anything solid. The smoker that I rather like is the Bradley. Only downside is that it's "infrared" heating in stead of gas. But I havn't found any gas smokers that I like.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

This is my first house too, and I honestly figure I won't be here longer than 3 more years (I'd better be done with grad school by then), but I need a summer project, and even if I could afford to have someone come put in the support posts for the new deck I want I figure that wouldn't keep me going for more than a couple of weekends. I also figure that not only will it increase the value of the house, but it'll be a good trial run for building a more impressive one (hopefully with a wood fired pizza oven) when I hit the next house. As far as fuel, I'm sticking to wood and charcoal.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I have enough other remodeling projects going as it is. And if I did build something like that in the back yard, it'd just be one more thing for the dogs to piss on.

Actually, I'm leaning more towards the electric heat over the gas because then I only have the the smoke flavoring the meat. But I agree with the wood/charcoal vs. gas arguement.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

My cast iron dutch oven and skillets. My mini-plane grater. My mandoline slicer. My food processor, which I use rarely but when I need it, dang, I need it. My KitchenAid stand mixer, same deal. My rice cooker, which I use almost daily. My crock pot. I need better knives; all my knives are restaurant supply. Wooden spoons, chinese soup spoons.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I have a mandolin slicer, but I honestly almost never use it. I generally feel like I'm going to end up amputating a finger with it; also, it's a pain to clean, and I don't really feel like it's appreciably faster than a good sharp knife. It does produce cuts that a somewhat more consistent, but not enough that I ever thought it mattered.

attercob's picture

Petitioner

I'm quite good with a knife (most often a 10" Wustof Chef's knife or 8" hollow edge Chef's knife, both with Classic handles)... but if you want to do a 1/8" julienne or fine dice or even thin slices, then doing it by hand is both difficult and time consuming. A nice mandoline makes life easy. As for cutting yourself, it's just like with a regular knife: keep the blades sharp and don't forget that they are sharp.

Edit: Also uniformity in the size of your food bits is quite important. A lot of amateur chefs will cook a dish only to find that some bits are under cooked and other parts over cooked. Sometimes they not even realize this is the problem, they just noticed that the texture, consistency, and flavor is not uniform. The problem is because the fat cuts cook slower and the thin ones faster.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I guess I've just had a lot of practice and keep my knives exceptionally sharp. I know I can cut slices off a potato that you can see through without slowing down too much, and take an onion from whole with skin to fine dice in about 30 seconds when I'm really moving (which earned a "how did you do that?" from a friend of mine the first time he saw me do it).

MeiLin's picture

Most High

A kevlar glove. Works like a charm. I forgot to mention Silpat baking sheets and silicone muffin cups.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I prefer to chop everything by hand - I don't own a food processor, mandolin, or even a garlic press - both because I feel I do a better job and because those things scare me (or in the case of the garlic press, I've broken SEVERAL). . I 'm also very accident-prone in the kitchen, and one missing finger is definitely enough.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I didn't own a food processor until recently. However, I have a Hani-Choper that I've owned for some time now. Can't do anything wet without makeing a mess, but it's great for little jobs.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

where I can get a mortar and pestle? Growing up, I had my great grandmother's brass set, but now that I've moved out, I don't know where to look. I don't have a food processor or anything like that either, but I'm often at a loss for what to use instead of a mortar and pestle.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

The only place I've seen them is kitchen specialty stores like Kitchen Solvers. Pampered Chef may have something, but their things a rather pricey. Though all the ones I have seen are marble or some similar stone. Haven't heard of a metal set before.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It's a Japanese ceramic mortar used with a wooden pestle, and works very well. I have one, and if I have to grind a small amount of something, this is how I do it.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

can go in the dishwasher, right? But marble and stone can not?

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I imagine the mortar part could go in the dishwasher if it's ceramic, but at least with the stuff I use my marble one for (grinding whole spices, making curry paste, etc.) it never takes more than a minute or so to clean it in the sink.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'm kind of a clean freak, though, when it comes to germs and things I eat off of. Cooking and dishes are really the only thing that I'm crazy like that about, so if I can put it in the dishwasher, it usually makes me happy. Thanks!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

They work great; I don't know where my late husband got it, though, but I'd imagine on some herbalist site or chemistry site.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'll keep my eyes open for one. Thank you!

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I got my marble one at a standard department store (don't remember which one), and it's probably the second most used thing in my kitchen after my Japanese style chef's knife. After that, every good asian grocery/market that I've ever been in carried ceramic ones.

magalicious's picture

Postulant

I have a bitchin' marble mortar & pestle set from IKEA. I got them about a year ago, so I might check online before/if you go to an actual location to make sure they still have them.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

Thank you!

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I love my salad shooter for slicing things really thinly. The only drawback is that I have to make sure I buy produce that will fit; this is especially a problem with eggplant, since it can be a pain to find smallish ones. It is the absolute fastest way to get tons of thinly sliced potatoes for a spanish tortilla.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

The nice thing about living in a co-op is that we have an industrial rated kitchen (our kitchen managers have to be certified Restaurant Managers and everything). I LOVE poking around. We've got the standard cooking-for-forty-people implements: comes out to four each of enormous pots, deep baking pans, shallow baking pans, and metal cooking bowls. Plus the smaller 9" round cooking pans, 9" x 13" cooking tins, last count at least six dozen muffins worth of muffin tins, four bread tins... you know. We feed a lot of people.

On the other hand, there's some fun gadgets too. The meat masher and potato masher are by FAR the most fun. Then there's this awesome thing known only as "The Hobart" which is essentially an ENORMOUS mixer with fun attachments. It whisks! It kneads! It even grates cheese! (The cheese thing? Scary! I use it when I make macaroni and cheese- the real, I grate cheese and cook pasta and chop garlic, macaroni and cheese, not the Chemical Pretender kind- and it's basically this ENORMOUS rotating cheese grater. It even comes with a warning to make sure you attach the cheese feeder half and don't just stick the blade in and hold cheese to it. Something like "Warning: Rotating Knives." Yes, Hobart, I got that; I like my fingers.) We also have two woks and a bunch of cast iron pans, which make frying things so much more fun.

Our rice cooker sees more use than any poor abused rice cooker ever should; we have two, but one tends to explode rice-flavored water everywhere and has been relegated to a corner. The other one gets used at least three times a week (a fair portion of those 40 people I live/eat with are Asian and various Asian themed dinners appear frequently) and it takes at least three or four batches to make enough rice for 40 people without exploding the rice cooker in the regular I-overloaded-you way. As opposed to the our-other-rice-cooker-sucks way.

Our waffle iron works perfectly, but does not make normal waffles. It makes 3" Hello Kitty waffles. That's all I need to say about that Biggrin

I also have some fancy stuff at home that I adore that were presents from my cooking grandma. An ultra-thin spatula type thing that's designed for scraping stubborn things like cookies off baking pans. A rubber-based cookie sheet that needs to go on a regular cookie sheet because it's too floppy to support cookies, but doesn't need greasing, doesn't stick and is SO easy to clean. A popover pan, because the first thing I ever baked by myself was popovers and they're sort of a tradition now. And the airbake cookie sheet that goes under my rubber one, of course. So many lovely cookie gadgets Smile

Wish list: Electric juicer. My roommate and I made two chocolate tortes the last time we cooked dinner for the house. Recipe calls for orange sauce. Each torte needs two cups of orange juice. Our co-op is very fond of the do-it-yourself motto, so guess who got to squeeze four cups of orange juice by hand? My wrists are NEVER doing that again Biggrin (For those curious, one orange ~ 1/6 to 1/4 of a cup of orange juice)

Also, a pocket blowtorch. I made creme brulee for my boy for Valentine's, and we tried to use his mini one. Did NOT work. I'm chronically afraid of overcooking it so I didn't put it back in the broiler; next time I'll probably just caramelize sugar and pour it on myself. But a blowtorch would be more fun. Fire! Smile

Better knives. I am staring at fairnymph's post and yearning for better knives. We have a bizarrely eclectic community of knives which never seem to be the right size or shape, and are ALWAYS dull because no one ever sharpens them.

EDIT: Wow, that was I lot longer than I thought it was...

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Restaurant style potato mashers (if you have what I'm thinking of) are an absolute bitch to clean...the restaurant I washed at had one that was just an abomination unto the me. The Lord didn't care, but I sure did.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

I doubt we do. It's this little handheld thing that's a weavy metal piece, like so:

Also, the single best part of our kitchen is this insanely high pressure water sprayer which means there's pretty much nothing in existence that's difficult to clean. Ever wished you could destroy all whisks everywhere cause they're so annoying to get food out of? It's maybe 5 seconds tops to clean them under a stream of high-pressured water. Endless love be upon it for making my cleaning jobs so much easier.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

definitely a different thing.

This thing was like the broad end of a funnel, leading into a cylindrical colander-type thing (ctt). there was an inclined plane that you used a hand-crank to push around the ctt. it pushed the potatoes through into (I'm guessing) a pot (where the funnel might likely have been resting). The little pieces of potato peel wedged into every little hole in the ctt, so I spent a good chunk of time hosing it down with the industrial strength water-sprayer. It was one of the few things that the industrial-strength hose didn't simplify washing--all those holes full of starch-sticky potatopeel. fuckin' serious hassle. and EVERY DAY they mashed potatoes for one plate or another--so EVERY DAY I went in, I knew I'd be disassembling that fucker, washing the ctt, and reassembling it after it dried...

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

They produce very smooth potatoes, but I prefer a handheld ricer - like a masher, but with fine holes - as it's easier to clean and takes up less space.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

The resturant I worked at had one of those, but we got better results from the seven foot tall stand mixer in the bakery with a whipping attachment. Customers were positive that we used boxed flakes because there were no lumps and the taters were always pealed first. That was another neat toy. Dump fifty pounds of taters in turn, it on for about twenty seconds, and open the door. Out dumps pealed tators.

I miss that kitchen.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'm not positive that comparing potatoes to the boxed flakes is a compliment. That's why I never use a mixer...it tastes too much like the ones out of the box and it grosses me out. To each their own, though.
The peeler sounds incredible. Smile

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

wavy piece of metal potato masher. When I first got my own place, I mashed potatoes with a fork because they came out too smooth with the mixer. I can get them to be perfect every time with that, and now guacamole has never been easier. This other contraption sounds way too complicated.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Using a mixer to make mashed potatoes allows too much gluten to cross-bind. But try a handheld ricer - it provides very smooth but not gummy results. I swear you'll never go back to your wavy masher!

kawaiikune's picture
fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Just so you know the style I mean, here's a link - this is pretty darn cheap, too, and I think I got mine at an Ace Hardware, actually! They can be rather hard to find in the usual places, surprisingly, though OXO makes one now that I see most places these days.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'll check it out. The hardware store? Really? Clearly I need to spend more time there. I usually only go for electrical or hardware projects, but now I need a blowtorch and a ricer.

I love OXO stuff. They have a cool measuring cup that you can read from above, and I love their peelers and other accessories.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

has the most obscure and interesting variety of cooking supplies. Something about THAT particular hardware store. I've got at least a dozen if not more things that I bought at various locations.

OXO stuff is good quality, but I find the big rubber/silicon whatever handles rather ugly. I'm more of a minimalist stainless steel gal.

attercob's picture

Petitioner

The ubber-based cookie sheet is probably a silpat made out of silicone over a fiberglass mesh.

edit: also you don't need to use an airbake sheet under a silpat because it's thermal coefficient is much lower than metal. any rigid thing will work.

another edit: the best blowtorch for the kitchen is just the cheap kind they sell in a hardware store that screws on top of a propane bottle. the ones they sell in a kitchen supply store all are overpriced and underpowered.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Probably is. It was in my Christmas stocking a couple years ago, which among other things meant that it had no labels or anything useful like that. My mother had to explain what to do with it. But I love it anyway. Rubber or silicone or whatever Biggrin

And yes, but it makes me feel better. If only cause the airbake is from my grandmother. Or something.

-adds blowtorch to List of Things to (Ideally) Have In Kitchen Someday- I swear, the only part of graduating college and being a responsible adult I actually look forward to is having my own apartment and my own kitchen.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

"A blowtorch. Every girl needs one."
--Caprial Pence

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I swear by this combo. My cookies have never been better.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I so miss the Hobart. For huge batches of bread, amongst others thing, it was indispensable.

I stole my muffin tin from Synergy. Bad, I know, but it's really hard to find pans that aren't nonstick. And they had many more than they ever really used, really.

I want a popover pan too - never made them but suspect I'll love them - and an electric juicer, too. Very handy. The ones at Synergy would burn out sooo quickly, though.

Lastly...you should try out my knives if you do come out to NC, and I have a second blowtorch I don't need that I'd give to you. Smile

Marri's picture

Supplicant

I really only make bread when I'm stressed, so I tend to knead it by hand. The Eating Associates (for non-Stanford people, that means people who pay to eat at our dorm but don't live in the dorm) are in charge of the bread baking, so I never have to bake on a scale that really requires the Hobart. Mac & cheese, cheddar mashed potatos and broccoli with parmesan all definitely required the spinning knives attachment though. If there weren't so many pieces to clean, that attachment would be my favorite kitchen appliance.

Popovers are SO weirdly easy. Flour, salt, milk, eggs. Mix, stick in oven for 45 minutes, eat. Possibly why I could bake them when I was eight Biggrin They were the first things I ever made in an oven by myself. My mom usually did all the oven stuff, but one day I decided to make popovers when she was still in bed. She took my "Can I use the oven?" to mean "Can I use the oven someday in the future that is not today?" and went back to sleep. She was then very startled to have me come back an hour later and announce that the popovers were done, come eat them.

Eeeeee fancy knives! And aw, thanks Smile Just keep an eye on me with the knives? Last time I was messing with one (my ex boyfriend's pocket knife) I tried to close it, failed, and cut my middle finger. Wasn't too bad cause it was just a pocket knife, but oh dear god do hand wounds bleed -shiftyeyes-

Davik's picture

Embodiment

You obviously haven't run in to a seriously scary pocket knife before if you say "it was just a pocket knife" Blum 3 A friend of mine bought a pocket knife at one point that came with a factory edge on the order of a straight razor; he tested the edge and cut himself, then over the course of a few hours gave it to a few friends with the warning that it was excessively sharp. All of them ended up with bloody thumbs. Then, to make matters even worse, he had it fall open slightly in his pocket that night, and when he went to reach for it ran his thumb along the edge and cut it to the bone. Needless to say when he was standing there with his thumb wrapped in a towel tell telling me all of this I decided to just take his word for it and NOT test the edge Blum 3

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Haha let me then amend it to "it was just a relatively small pocketknife blunted by many hours of use in theater tech work" instead? Smile

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I think "many hours of use in theater tech work" was how my friend's knife got dulled too Smile

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

That eating associates were like fuckbuddies, but less intimate, both physically and emotionally.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

on what you're eating. If it's a "boxed lunch", you're not too far off. }:)

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

or a sausage, I imagine...though sometimes there ARE unanticipated emotional side-effects to either.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

You know, sausage is actually one of my absolute favorite foods, especially breakfast sausage.

(Even kidding aside, I do love sausage like crazy. I think I could live on it.)

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

teehee breakfast sausage...

I love the sausages (black and white puddings?) that came with a full Irish breakfast.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

Have you ever had haggis? When I had it, it was taters, neeps, and haggis, and it came as a little turnip, potato, and haggis cake. It was amazing. Turns out, it's terrible for you.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Never had a Haggis, but a roommate made one once--before becoming my roommate. May do it again this year. I'd try it if it were there.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Sadly, I can't eat the majority of it because I don't eat pork for ethical/religious reasons. *cries*

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

and proper bacon is out, too. I'm sorry.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

And useful for flavouring, but nothing has the texture of bacon. *sigh*

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

Jewish? Or some other non-pork eating religion?

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I have to admit that I cheat when I make bread. I use a bread maker. Before going out hunting for the afternoon, or run home at lunch, load it up, and when we get home we have fresh bread.

November's picture

well, beeing a student and all I can`t really afford much fancy kitchen equipment.
but those things I just have to have.

a heavy frying pan witch is large enough so that I can easily make a omelet for 12 people in one go.
lots of pots in various shapes.
two good knifes, one for bread and one for everything else.
a plastic bowl for baking.
wooden spoons for porridge and stews along with a wooden spatula for the frying pan.
cheese grater (Cause you know...Norwegians invented that stuff XD)
coffee maker.
toaster.

Yeah, it might not seem like much but after my rent is payed i have (roughly calculated to dollars) 150$ for food, transport and all that jazz so when I can afford new kitchen stuff I cherish it with my life. Biggrin

I`m saving up for a rice cooker and silicone pan-thingy for cupcakes, cakes and bread Biggrin

Marri's picture

Supplicant

$150 a month? Sad My friend Lewis would shop for himself and his three roommates and they spent that each week just on food. So presumably one person could stretch it for 4 weeks. But still. Sad

Reminds me, though. I'm getting an apartment in the fall and need to start coming up with "simple, easy and cheap things to cook" dinner menus, that are still relatively balanced. Suggestions?

November's picture

Well, I kinda halfed the kroner against the dollars, I would probably have like 175$ or something. But yeah, we get student loans that brings about 350$ into my account and I have a cheap apartment in a not to good part of town living with a friend of mine Blum 3

I have TONS of cheap cooking tips Biggrin
Tons I tell you. Is there anywhere I can write down recipes?

I also have to point out that prices here and prices in the US probably are alot different when it comes to both food and equipment. Not that I would really know since I never been there, but I`ve been hinted that it is. so my cheap cooking tips may not be all that awesome Blum 3

On topic: I really, really, really want one of those bread bakers! all my breads turn into bricks Sad and store bought is icky and costs alot!

Katie's picture

Embodiment

on the right under the 'my account' link is a 'create content' link. From there click 'recipe' and there you are!

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I own the shirt that is your icon.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

come to the Webcomics Weekend, then! Jeph is going to be there!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

so I doubt it would work out that way in reality. I hate throwing away food, so I eat a lot of leftovers and freeze things, but most things come in packages that are way to big for me to use all of it.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

We need a couple more sharp knives. The Tupperware knives we got as gifts when we moved into our house are OK, but we need to flesh out our collection. As it is, there are still way too many knives in our drawers that just plain don't cut it. Literally.

A toaster that gives consistent results would be nice, too. Although our current one, despite irritating the hell out of me, is weirdly perfect for our needs - our daughter likes her bread only slightly toasted, so she gets the first batch, while my wife and I like ours golden brown, which is how the bread comes out of that contraption once it has warmed up enough from the first batch.

A mixer than can deal with 8 pounds of heavy rye dough would be awesome. Who needs a gym membership when you could just knead bread dough instead? Wink

A wood-fired brick or clay oven, or at least a brick-clad electric oven, would be great, too.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

You all have such nice toys. Er..not ALL of you, but anyway.

I'm lusting after a Kitchenaid stand mixer. My mom has one and I MISS IT. I have a crappy little $10 handheld mixer my MIL got me.

I want a knife block. I have two good knives, a Pampered Chef with a holder that has a built in sharpener, and a little J A Henckels (sp?) knife. Crappy steak knives, $5 silverware, cheap skillets.

I -do- have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, but my kitchen sink is TINY and the skillet doesn't fit in it so it's a bitch to clean. I use very hot water and the plastic scraper that came with the PC baking stone. Am I cleaning it 'wrong'? I've never had any issues with things tasting like iron, no matter what I cook in it.

The only gadget I have is a crock pot.

Opinions on a garlic press? I love mine but it's messy looking.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

The one I have is stainless and opposite the crushing head is a simlar faceplate to push anything back in that didn't come out. Makes it easier to get all the garlic out.

But, just like the hand op can opener (prefered to the electic), you have to clean the hinges and gears. Either the dishwasher or soak it an use a bristle brush to scrub.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

but *those* toys are unrelated to the kitchen unless they are relocated, or used in conjunction with a summer squash. }:)

Katie's picture

Embodiment

the comment title, I *knew* that would be in the comment. And I didn't even see who it was from. (recent comments. --->)

Davik's picture

Embodiment

This seems like it could be the prelude to another thread hijacking, but the comment was awesome enough I don't care Smile

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Our kitchen managers gave us a lecture at the beginning of the year of "proper care of cast iron." I don't think they were worried about food tasting like iron per se, more so that the pan would rust. We wash them out with soap and water too, then dry them off (as much as possible), then put a little oil and salt in and coat the pan. I am not clear on the purpose of the oil and salt, only that it helps the pan.

I should get the KMs to post here... they actually know what they're talking about Biggrin

Davik's picture

Embodiment

One of the cardinal rules of cast iron as I was taught is that soap should only be used on cast iron if it's hideously awful. Using soap destroys the seasoning on a cast iron pan that makes it non-stick.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I use a light scrub brush, castile soap, and hot water to clean my cast iron with excellent results. Then I oil with coconut oil afterwards to protect. My pans are VERY well seasoned. Smile

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I'm not familiar with castile soap, is this something milder that doesn't do as much to break up the oil bound to the iron?

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

vegetable oil instead of fat from animals (see Fight Club). Most of them are made with olive oil, but some people make them with coconut oil or other various oils. I'm not sure if those count as actual "Castile" soap if it's not olive oil, though, but it's the same idea.

V's picture

Embodiment

if I recall, the soap in Fight Club didn't come from animals without stretching the definition of "animal", did it? }:)

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Primates
Hominidae
Homo
sapiens

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

what I was thinking. Wink

V's picture

Embodiment

1. any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.
2. any such living thing other than a human being

So if you reserve the formal biological classification for biologists, I have some support with the conventional definition Smile

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

The OED makes the same distinction.

In both cases, the first definition does include humans. OED is (shockingly) my preference, as long as I keep getting it free.

V's picture

Embodiment

Silly lawyers and lawyers-in-training }:) I still think something separates man from the beasts.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

but I'm not certain that it's a Kingdom-level distinction. Wink

V's picture

Embodiment

for the next time this sort of occasion arises Wink

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

what sort of occasion?

Usually, I actually agree with you--here, I'm actively quibbling! It's an important distinction! We have to make it all the time, here in law-world. Wink

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Hoolie Shite!!! Mark the calendar!!!

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

not gonna search right now, but look for the spot in the discussion of multiple intelligences where I flat-out disagree! You wanna mark a calendar, that's the spot.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

from time to time that *I'm* an animal, and I've known a few others that *definitely* fall into that category. Wink

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

that we are more advanced than monkeys/apes/primates more than monkeys, etc. are more advanced than worms? I know we have tons of reasons why we're better than animals, but it seems like the differences between us and monkeys or us and dolphins might be less significant than the differences between those creatures and the dumbest bugs that still qualify is animals. I'm not even saying I actually feel that way, it's just something I'm thinking about.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

that the answer to that question seems clear...
according to "science," we and monkeys are all primates--and there are hierarchical distinctions well broader than that. Wink

Even ignoring the hierarchy, I think the functional similarities among primates (humans included), and even specifically between, say, humans and orangutans, are pretty significant when compared to invertebrate animals.

fairnymph's picture
The Which's picture

Embodiment

Dolphins name themselves which puts them much closer to people than bugs.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

and I didn't know that at all. Thanks for the article, that's awesome!

MeiLin's picture

Most High

the strangest threadhack evar.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

makes perfect Wink or at least really strange.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

my hatred for the "evar" formation...

not because I oppose thirteenthirtyseven, or anything else. Not even my fury over grammatical issues. Just because it reminds me of a certain ex- who overused it...and I still associate it with her, and so on.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I shall be more circumspect in future. 8)

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

good, good. All I ask is for the world to conform to my tastes.

now where is my harem...

V's picture

Embodiment

Thank goodness they don't have fire or opposable thumbs, or we might not be the dominant species. Plus, you know, sex for pleasure! (that is, when fertilization is impossible)

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Along with elephants, chimps, and we humans. The study which showed that dolphins recognize themselves in mirrors is by far my favourite animal behaviour study ever - brilliantly designed, fascinating, even humorous! And of course, it had awesome results.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

This thread just makes me think of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's so cool how we have so much in common with dolphins, but that they for some reason remained in the ocean like common fish. I wish we could see the evolutionary patterns that lead to that more clearly.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Dolphins actually returned to the seas... They (along with whales) are probably descended from a hippo-like ancestor.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

is what I wanted to know. I really wish I knew more about biology. I'm pretty good at most of the other sciences, but I know little or nothing about bio stuff. Thanks!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I suspect dolphins never evolved technology because of various aquatic concerns and their lack of opposable thumbs, but maybe it's also a cultural choice, in a way. I think dolphins are wiser than humans.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Language may make a distinction on whether we are animals. Science does not. According to science, we're animals, and as a scientist I work on the basis that when language and science conflict, language is always wrong. This is much how people claiming that evolution is just a "theory" are using a lack of clarity in the language to try to say that the evolution is untested bullshit. Scientists really need to just develop their own language Blum 3

V's picture

Embodiment

It was a joke! I was going way out on a limb simply to stir up trouble because I like picking on some of the other common names 'round here Blum 3 I was wrong, and I knew it, and I did it anyway }:)

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Yeah well, you make a joke like that to a large group of geeks who have to deal with this kind of shit on a daily basis, and you're going to get some responses Blum 3 Though at least that kind of thing is at least fairly mild; the building I work in already has areas with an extra layer of security just to keep the PETA nuts from firebombing another lab.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

do you do again?

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

he ties knots and cooks lots.

fairnymph's picture
Davik's picture

Embodiment

So true, though I haven't had the chance to use the knots recently Sad

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Presently I'm studying biophysics, specifically the folding of proteins, but the building I work in is the Biomedical and Physical Sciences building, and there has already been one attack on a Michigan State University research area that dealt with animals, so some of the areas that work with animals and the like (as explained to me by the tech in my lab), have access card controlled doors like the one we had to go through today to get to the autoclaves.
Before I hit grad school, well let's just say that I was part of a company contracted to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office of Homeland Security (and yes, I can confirm that there isn't enough ethanol in existence to wash away the taint of working for homeland security). My specialty then revolved more around the composition, structure, and detection of nuclear weapons.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

When ever they came to protest where I went to school, they always protest the wrong science building. Yes, there was biology, but it was more plant bio and anat & phys. The one they really wanted to protest at was the same one that had the student clinc. Dipshites...

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

It's very gentle. I use it in all my soap dispensers because not only is good for the environment and so nontoxic you can practically eat it, but it's non-drying and I wash my hands a lot. I have dry skin and before switching to castile I had cracked, bleeding hands in the winter.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

See, I'm the polar opposite; I was the lab assistant back in highschool , and one of the things I learned was that I have abnormally resistant skin. Every time we needed sodium hydroxide solution I would just dump a handful of pellets into my hand and just hold them and dump them out onto the scale as I weighed them out. Now, even the tech in my lab makes me wear gloves and eye protection while I work with acids and bases Blum 3 I guess he doesn't trust the fact that glacial NaOH or HCl doesn't give me chemical burns as long as I don't get more than a few drops on me Blum 3 Guess there has to be some benefit to having very dry somewhat oily skin Blum 3

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

That's very handy, no pun intended! I have very sensitive and dry skin (and must be careful in the lab, always wear gloves0, BUT, I am very heat-resistant. I credit this to working as a barista for a few years and becoming inured to the steaming milk jugs, and also cooking since I was a little girl and being VERY acccident-prone in the kitchen, thus burning myself frequently. I think my taste buds are more heat-resistant than normal too because I like burning hot food and have no patience at all. I've selected for them!

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I'm going to have to look into this for my girls. They LOVE to wash their hands, but don't always rinse as well as they should.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

that it was non-drying. I'm a little OCD about washing my hands, especially when I'm cooking, and I have to use lotion a bunch (which I hate). I am definitely going to have to look into that. Can you recommend a brand?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, 18-in-1 Uses! Don't Drink Soap! OK!

As much entertainment as it is washing up. And it's REALLY good soap.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I used to use this stuff to shower with! I had no idea it was castile soap at the time! I lived with these guys, maybe four or five years ago, and one of them had this stuff, and we all used it. I thought the peppermint was cool, but I didn't find out until years later what castile soap was and I never put two and two together. Thanks!

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Not just peppermint. Lavender is particularly nice.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

for anything peppermint, but maybe I'll get the lavender for my mom. She loves lavender.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I get the rose-scented (sometimes hard to find) or I get the unscented baby kind and add my own mix of essential oils.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

Do the essential oils need to have any particular properties to mix well with the soap? Do you have to shake the bottle before using or anything? How do you know how much to add? That's really cool!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I use hand pumps for my castile soap, and because of its consistency and various chemical properties, it has a tendency to gum up and clog the dispenser. So I always dilute it with water, first of all, when using it in pumps. Plus, diluting makes it go farther since you don't generally need as much PURE SOAPY POWER as a squirt contains.

In my kitchen where I need more concentrated levels for dish washing and such, I dilute it roughly 4/7 soap, 3/7 water. In the bathroom, it's the reverse (more water than soap).

All essential oils are well, oils, but yes they do vary a bit in properties due to the difference in fatty acid chain length, etc. But most of them are quite unsaturated and blend well with Castile soap. How much I add depends on the oil and the application. For example, rose and jasmine are VERY EXPENSIVE and potent EOs, so I add a drop or two to 8 oz of diluted soap, and I only use those in the bathroom. Whereas bergamot, roman chamomile, and tangerine are pretty cheap and I like them to be quite strong as they wear off quickly (especially the citrus), so I probably pour in what amounts to 1/2 a dropperful into 8 oz diluted soap. And yes, then I swirl the soap container to mix the water, soap, and EOs.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I'm just proud of the fact that I have any cooking supplies at all!

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I remember my 10x8 cinderblock cell, er room. I had a microwave, 3.5 qt glass bowl, can opener, basic cooking utensils, and whatever flat ware I "borrowed" from the food service.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I'm very well equipped for a dorm inhabitant. I have a huge skillet, big pot, small pot, a freakishly well-packed 4-piece complete dinner set that only takes up under a cubic foot, hand mixer, pie pan, cake pan x3, micro-grater, pot holders, and an odd number of utensils.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I had a cheap (really really cheap) pot an pan set that barely lasted the two years I was in the dorms. But the front desk had stuff we could check out for the kitchen. Though some if it was not much better than what I had.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I picked up a 2lb breadmaker I a garage sale for $10. Quite possibly the best Mother's Day present Mom has ever gotten, especially since it seems to pop out a loaf of whatever she asks for when I'm home!

Guess with so many people using bread machines, I should share the anise bread recipe my grandmother adapted from an Italian neighbor. Smile It's a crusty bread with a light flavor that we love for breakfast with coffee (or maybe a latte if you have an espresso machine.)

I'm seriously envious of your stand mixers though. My sister and Dad make cakes and had me make several 'test batches' this winter break looking for a sturdy, tasty cake that would be appealing to kids. Seriously difficult to make cakes that are structurally strong without being gummy or crumbly. So far, pound cake is the winner, but it's so friggin' heavy! Anyway, I did two or three cakes from scratch with a dinky hand-mixer that has no 'first gear' anymore. I think the champaigne cake was the winner, but not for the flavor we had been looking for.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

My parents have a bread maker that they swore by when they were actually bothering to use it, but I can't say I've ever really like what came out of a bread maker (maybe because my reference point is the stuff my mom made). It always seemed like the crust wasn't quite right and neither was the general texture. Now that I have the stand mixer it doesn't seem like it's much work to let the machine mix and kneed, then I just throw it on a baking stone in the oven (with or without a pan of water under it depending on the type of bread I'm making).

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I'm really horrible about getting the rising right, and a bread maker makes it so much easier since I can let the machine handle everything. Buy you're right, the crust is never quite the same when it bakes in the machine.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I agree; it's so nice to toss in ingredients, press a button and walk away. Then you pretty much just slap it on a pan and you're good! And no weird bread machine crust!

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I am on principle entirely against bread makers. I will only make bread in an OVEN.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

Would you still be against breadmakers if you didn't have a stand mixer and had to kneed it by hand?

Pretty much either I use a breadmaker to make the dough, or bread doesn't get made in our house. I tried it by hand once and that was enough for me. Between the mess and my aching arms, I was SO ready to go back to my breadmaker. Not to mention it's nice to wake up to fresh bread when I use the delay.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

So, yes. My issue with breadmakers - beyond the fact that it just is too 'processed' to my mind - is that the crust isn't the same as bread baked in the oven, along the lines that Davik was saying. Also, you can't do stuff like bake on a baking stone, do different shapes, use steam baths in the oven, etc. Breadmakers are very monotonous stylistically.

I have very strong hands and I quite enjoy kneading bread, and sometimes feel it produces better results, so I certainly don't always use my KA mixer for kneading. Also, I'm working on no-knead/autolyse bread baking methods which are supposedly THE BEST.

If your arms ached from bread kneading...NEVER MAKE CROISSANTS from scratch. They were delicious, really, but more than few hours total of extreme armpower required, folding the dough. THAT was pain!

I definitely see the benefit of waking up to fresh bread and the whole convenience factor sounds lovely...but I have this mental *thing* where I feel bread should be rustic and handmade. /weird

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

...then so am I. We're baking on average about 3-4 pounds of bread per week, and it's all hand-kneaded and oven-baked and rustic and handmade, As Bread Ought To Be. Blum 3 No shelf-bought bread mixes here, either. We are, in fact, milling our own flour from kernels.

Re: autolyse bread baking - care to share thoughts, links, whatever? I'm always interested in widening my bread baking horizons.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I can't IMAGINE using a mix. And I'm quite jealous of your milling - do you find that to be a huge advantage, financially or culinarily? What appliance do you use? I dream of being entirely self-sufficient one day.

I'm so knew to the autolyse method that I can't possibly give good advice yet, but it's my Next Big Cooking Project, and I promise to make a thread when I am more experienced. Smile

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

We're using a Komo Molina, which from what I can see doesn't seem to be easily available in the States, but at least Google and Google Image Search should give you an idea.

Financially, it'll be some time before we'll recoup the cost of the mill - with our current grain mix the break-even point is somewhere around the 500 pound mark, which is about four years worth of bread at current consumption rates. This is based on standard supermarket-available flour, though. At comparable quality levels (all full grain, all the time), it's at most half that, so we are about half-way there after a year.

Culinarily, we find it absolutely worth it. It tastes better, it's chewier, it kneads more easily (always a concern when you're heavily into rye and spelt like we are), and even the sourdough beasties seem happier with it. Smile I admit to having been somewhat skeptical when my wife first proposed the idea, but I wouldn't want to go back now. I'd never have expected the difference between store-bought and so-fresh-it's-still-warm-from-milling to be as noticeable, but it is.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Added to my list of desired items. Thank you for the review!

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I wish I had the time to keep a batch going. *sigh* Like I said, the times I've tried to make it completely from scratch, I've either screwed up the rise or worked my arms to death (or both!) So I salute those of you who can make it by hand, but I think I'll continue to enjoy the convenience of my pre-kneaded dough. Smile

I wonder though, if I maybe did one extra kneed/rise on the dough if it would have a more "homemade" texture? I can't imagine that the little yeasties wouldn't be out of food by then, but I'll have to give it a try next time I bake.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I don't really have one either way, but I don't have time to spend on the manual kneeding.

There was nothing in the world like going to grandma's house as she pulled the fresh bread out of the oven. I don't know that she ever did much in the way of store bread.

Though that certainly is a thought to have the machine make the dough and then cook it in the oven.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I've never tried having the machine knead the dough and then baking it, but I think I will next time. Also, fairnymph/gudy/etc., do you have any advice (or a good recipe) for someone who is new to bread-making? I would definitely be interested in giving that a shot and doing everything by hand.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I don't have any real recipe for this, but my basic bread is along these lines: Mix yeast with warm water and a pinch of sugar. Let it foam up slightly. Mix in bread flour, heavy pinch of salt, and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Mix it, and adjust flour/water so that you have a dough that's smooth, elastic, and maybe just a little sticky; kneed. Let it rise once, punch it down, form it into a loaf shape, let it rise again. While it's rising again, put a pan with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven, and a baking stone on the next rack. Preheat the oven to 425 or so, and hold the oven at this temperature for 10 minutes before you put the bread in. Cook it until the outside is golden brown and crusty.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

This is pretty much our quick and dirty alternative to our more involved standard recipe for when we are too lazy or don't have the time for that.

As for advice, I don't know. Making bread is really not that hard - as evidenced by the fact that even I am able to produce a decent loaf on occasion even though my cooking skills are way underdeveloped. Davik has already mentioned the pan with water and the baking stone, both of which help with the actual baking part of the business, and getting the parts before that right is mostly a question of experience. If you don't have a lot of prior experience with basic yeast doughs, you'll quickly learn to tell when the dough is too wet or too dry, or when you've kneaded enough.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

This is pretty much my most basic recipe, too! Except I use honey instead of sugar, vary the oils (sometimes I use butter, or sunflower), and do various mixes of white and whole wheat.

If you don't have a baking stone and want standard looking loaves, you can put the bread in loaf pans. You won't have as much lovely crust, but it's still tasty.

IEGeth's picture

Being a poor college student, all that I have is a cheap sauce pot and an even cheaper frying pan. I have a set of bamboo wooden spoons of various types as well as a set of plastic utensils. All of this stuff came from Wal Mart, mostly having to replace items that disappeared from my drawer over Christmas break. The only halfway decent item I own is my cooking knife, a cheap folding knife with a half-serrated blade. It works better than anything else that I own, however.

That said, does anyone have a suggestion as to where I can find inexpensive and good quality cooking gear? Any suggestions as to what I can give away as a wedding gift to my former roommate (I was thinking of giving him an ulu knife anc cutting board set)?

magalicious's picture

Postulant

I love IKEA (just posted elsethread about it) and they have an awesome, awesome kitchen section! The only thing is, you might find so much stuff that you 'need' it will totally negate the 'inexpensive' part.

KtO's picture

Those little magnetic screw-on spice containers you can stick to your range hood! And the square measuring cups that fit into the block shelves!

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I mentioned in one of the other posts that Tuesday Morning (if you have one in your area) can get some great stuff for next to nothing, but their selection is hit or miss. Check them out, but be prepared to turn around and walk out if they don't have what you're looking for.

Bedazzled101's picture

Petitioner

Well I have to admit, my life wouldn't be complete without:
-all clad copper core cookware
-14.5" hard anodized bailetti maestro pan
-William sonoma cookbooks(I can't get enough...they are so pretty, and every dish I've tried comes out phenomenally delicious)
-Dualit toaster(best toast I've ever eaten out of this gadget)
-28" wide warming drawer(which can also be used to slow cook)
-Amber colored hand blown stemware for 12
-le creuset cookware(oh gosh I want em all...but that's a long ways off)
-Cuisinart non-stick baking sheets(I never grease them and my cookies never stick)
-silicone collapsible colander
-all clad SS roasting pan with rack
-glass mixing bowls
-a good ol' crock pot
-seasoned SS flat bottom wok
-flexible chopping mats
-Cuisinart Smart Power Duet(blender/food processor) - perfect for small households
-Sparkletts on the counter hot and cold water stand. a must for tea drinking maniacs like myself...there is nothing like hot water for tea on demand.
-Wusthof knives and block
-Olde Thompson 20-Jar Revolving Spice Rack(the ss/black coloring go perfect w/ my appliances)
-Pillivuyt Basket-weave Dinnerware (so pretty and can be formal or casual...I need no other set)
-my real pretty counter top wine opener with its wooden handled lever...it makes opening wine so fun and looks pretty next to my sink
-wine fridge
-and the must have Happy Cow's Concentrated Cleaner(green)...lol

Things I wish I didn't have to live without:
-all the le creuset pieces I don't have(is it selfish I pray that my grandma gives hers to me one day?)
-all the william sonoma cookbooks i don't have
-"Silver Spoon" cookbook (LOVE Italian food....YUM)
-"How to Cook Everything" cookbook
-Delonghi Perfecta Fully-Automatic Cappuccino Maker(one day I WILL have one)
-KitchenAid Professional 620 Stand Mixer(copper color) and the ice cream,all the pasta maker collection with the drying rack, citrus juices, can opener, pasta maker, grinder, beater, and fruit/vege strainer attachments.
-Convection Double Wall Oven(instead of my perfectly good regular ones...lol)
-Bradley 4-Rack Digital Smoker

Marri's picture

Supplicant

I have the How to Cook Everything cookbook, my aunt found it on sale and got it for me for Christmas Smile I can post some of the recipes if you want?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Please don't post copyrighted recipes, folks, especially because I respect Mr Bittman so highly.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Now I'm wondering. How much do you have to change a recipe before it's not the same recipe? I'm mostly thinking of the peas recipe I posted I got from a friend, which used to have lettuce in it, much more thyme, much less garlic and a far more complicated steaming process. I'm pretty sure it now only remotely looks and tastes like the original Biggrin So... is it mine or Lydia's? A question for the ages.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I think that if you put the two finished products side by side (or taste by taste), and you can tell the difference, then it's a different recipe.

Bedazzled101's picture

Petitioner

Thanks for the offer Marri, but I plan on getting it pretty soon myself...I just keep forgetting...but a review on the book would delight me to no avail! I saw it online and I thought to myself...now that is one I need (need...LMFAO I have so many cookbooks I don't know where to hide them...LOL...hidden so hubby doesn't realise my secret obsession, and object each time I pick one up)

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

*grabby hands* Do you just LOVE the copper core line? Any comments on it, pros and cons?

Bedazzled101's picture

Petitioner

I am spoiled...I admit...I have a fortune tied up in my kitchen...lol...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
-Love the weight(real heavy but not wrist snapping) and the perfect stay cool handles
-heats up before you can even get the food into the pan...lol
-Easy to pour edges(a big peeve of mine are hard to pour edges)
-You have the best of all worlds with stainless steel cooking surfaces that don't react with anything, and clean up like a dream; aluminum to keep the weight manageable even when filled, and heat quickly and evenly, and the thick copper core to do the same.
-all pieces are oven safe
-and all clad's lifetime warranty
-Oh and did I mention they are beautiful to look at, I'm such a show off I always leave a piece out on my stove to just flaunt them to all my friends...ROFL (I know I'm wretched and evil...but i can't help it)
-I also have always hand washed all pans and pots so I don't know if they are dishwasher safe, but I wouldn't risk it with the perfect 5 ply construction
-also the peace of mind that comes with knowing if your dish doesn't come out the way you want, you and only you are to blame, as its impossible to blame it on inferior cookware...LMAO

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

*sighs*

That sounds soooo lovely. And I say if you've got it, flaunt it! I will not be washing my set either now when I get it. Thank you for that info. I'm also excited about the ease of pouring (also a big thing with me).

MeiLin's picture

Most High

my electric kettle. I had an ancient British-made Russell Hobbs my mother bought me at Harrod's years ago, the kind you can't get any more, and I cried when it died. But the Breville I have on the counter now ain't half bad. Actually, it's pretty good.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

the number two thing I miss about living in the UK...the availability of tea. My office at work came with it's own electric teakettle and a sink I could fill it at. There was a little refrigerator for milk or cream and I used to keep raspberry jam in there for my crumpets. There was a even a little shelf for the tea and the biscuits. It was a wonderful thing.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

baffle me. My parents are all tea fiends (3 Australian, 1 German) and the best thing about visiting relatives is they always have such good tea!

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

One of my favorite teas is the Portsmouth Tea Company's Polo Classic. I highly recommend it. It's a green-black blend with a hint of currant. I drink it black, since it's already a little sweet, but it's also good with milk, or milk and sugar.

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I collect and hoard tea like it's my job, and that sounds like something quite novel (to me, at least). Smile

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

novel to me too. Do you have anything that you particularly like? I've been looking into Tealuxe lately, too, but I haven't tried them yet. Their Monk's Blend, Lady Londonderry, and White Blueberry are supposed to be good (if you like fruity tea), but I can't say for sure. Those are next on my to-taste list.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

...I am not. I certainly don't drink as much as I used to anyway. But one I found that I really enjoy is Celestial Seasonings' Madagascar Vanilla Red. Yes, it's a widely available commercial tea, but I still like it.

On a side note, the carton says it Gluten Free. Is that an issue with tea?

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

Because I've seen barley in a fair bit of tea, especially herbal blends.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

it does. At the very least celiac people have to avoid it because it's harvested with other grains. I think stuff like oats would be safe, but because of harvesting practices and processing and things, celiac people often can't eat oats.

I had no idea that tea ever contained barley, though, that's pretty nuts. Is it for flavor, or something else?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

We have to read the packaging for EVERYTHING. Celestial Seasonings uses roasted barley quite a bit to add a sweet, nutty flavor; I love it, myself, and I'm extremely pissed off I can't drink it.

The celiac big three no-nos: Wheat (including spelt and kamut), barley and rye. This cuts out almost all beers, some teas, some wines, traditional soy sauce, anything with: malt or malt syrup; modified food starch (that doesn't explicitly say it's from corn); maltodextrin; MSG; and a bunch of other additives. It sucks, but it generally means we eat better food.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

What beer is there that doesn't have barley and/or wheat?

MeiLin's picture
fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

I love Mighty Leaf teas, and Tealuxe are really good (I often went there when I lived in the Boston area) - I've enjoyed Victorian Rose Tea, Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea, *all* of their Earl Grey variations, Pear & Green Tea, Strawberry Sencha, =and Lady Hannah herbal. The Pear Green tea is my absolute favourite of theirs. I also like Choice organic bagged teas and Trader Joe's organic Indian Black (otherwise I don't like TJ's tea, or coffee for that matter)...and then I get a fair bit of white and green tea on ebay from Japan - early picked green tea is AMAZING.

Oh, and Tazo is pretty good too - I've been drinking it for >10 years, way before it was taken over by Starbucks.

I love fruity tea, as you can see. Biggrin

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... generally aren't my thing. I like vanilla flavoured green or black tea as well as jasmine green tea, but that's about it. I used to like Earl Grey, but nowadays I find the bergamotte flavour too overpowering. Instead, I tend to go for high quality, unflavoured black, green, white or rooibos teas.

The most amazing tea I've ever had was Ronnefeldt's Jungpana Darjeeling - incredibly rich, almost pungent flavour, but also, sadly, incredibly pricey.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

though I used to love black currant, and also Constant Comment in my youth. In camellia sinensis, give me a good oolong, any day. Also love genmaicha. mmm...genmaicha...

Shinjinarenai's picture

Postulant

It is the most addicting tea ever. Genmaicha is amazing too. Isn't oolong made from camellia sinensis assamica, not camellia sinensis sinensis?

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... on where it's from. I'd expect Chinese Oolong to be made from C. sinensis sinensis and the (perhaps more well-known, at least in the Western world) Ceylon Oolong from C. sinensis assamica.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

And I tend to drink Chinese oolongs, so c. sinensis sinensis. Which I will be growing in my yard soon, I think. I just like the idea of growing tea.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

to copy stuff from this thread into another thread over there?

I never knew why thread hijacking was a problem until I tried to find something we had discussed, for reference. Can we copy tea related comments into a new tea thread?

V's picture

Embodiment

at least, not that I'm aware of. If you're really interested in collating them, I usually just post in the main thread with a short link to the other thread. For example, I think I linked the WCW meetup thread over to this one when I talked about tea. Also: google is your friend. Googling {site:meilinmiranda.com tea} will show you that there's 165 pages where we've talked about tea, but if you threw in a few other key words that you knew were relevant it narrows down faster. However, that only really works on pages that have made it into Google's enormous pile of stuff, which can take a little. Good for archival work tho

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

with Ronnefeldt's is that it looks like it isn't sold in small quantities, but it doesn't look that expensive. I found it here for £7.40 for 100g, which is about $11, right? That just seems like an incredible amount of tea. Is that even the right stuff?

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

it's a steal (Google says that's USD 10.50). The link, BTW, is here (yours is broken and I had to quote your post to get at the URL).

But 100g an incredible amount of tea? How so? We buy our standard green and black teas by the pound, and a 100g package is a nice taster that'll last a month or two, if that long.

Like MeiLin, I just love oolong tea, and that site has some pretty nice oolongs for very reasonable prices - I think I just might have to put in an order, so thank you for that link! Smile

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

if you're an idiot. I was thinking 100oz, because I generally buy my tea by the ounce, usually 1.5oz or 3oz at a time (which comes out to about 40 or 80g, I think).

I'm glad the link was helpful. If it's such a steal, maybe I'll get some. It looks like shipping to the US isn't half bad if I buy enough tea. I'll let you know what I think Smile

ETA: Thanks, too, for reposting the link. I think I dropped an equal sign.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... be a serious amount of tea.:-)

I've seen the Jungpana being sold for almost thrice that price when I first started looking for it a couple of years ago. It seems the price has come down quite a bit since then, though. Still, I am deeply in love with that tea, so I figure why not take advantage of the nice, low GBP-EUR (or GBP-USD) exchange rate?

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

And this is the lowest I've seen the exchange rate in a while. I was just surprised that shipping was so inexpensive to the US!

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

And Chai. Don't know how I forgot Chai. Actual tea is best but if I have to go with some kind of mix, big train. Still, just not the same.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I have this nasty habit of finding something I love and consuming it extremely regularly until I get sick of it. It happened with bologna sandwiches, and it happened with chai. I was on fireballs for a while, and now I'm on dark chocolate (like really dark, almost unsweetened). I wonder if the chai was long ago enough that I can go back to loving it like crazy again.

I do it with music, too. I find a song that I love and can't get enough of, and then I put it on repeat and listen to it while I do everything. I can't get enough of it, and the more I listen to it, the more I love it. After a week of this, not only am I suddenly sick of the song, but I'm pretty sure my neighbors want to break into my apartment and smash up my stereo (although I eventually got headphones). After that, I give it a break, and then I can enjoy the song like a normal person again. I guess I live my life in passionate bursts.

V's picture

Embodiment

I'm afraid I'm no expert on it but I did visit a spot in Ballston Spa, NY that seemed to have their stuff together: http://www.thewhistlingkettle.com/ It's a couple hours from the WebcomicsWeekend meet but a few people might be passing through there. If people didn't want to actually do the pub crawl, they might be able to pool some orders and do a massive tea-tasting or something instead.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

sounds wonderful. Maybe we want to do that anyway at another time, even if we do want to do the pub crawl. (I'm kind of interested in both.)

Shinjinarenai's picture

Postulant

I've been dying to go to the Whistling Kettle, but no one ever wanted to go with me! I am tea OBSESSED. I work at Teavana and am a third level student of Urasenke style tea ceremony. Pleez pleez pleez let's go! (And I am a few months yet from being old enough to pub crawl, unhappily enough)

V's picture

Embodiment

Actually, that was my roundabout way of hinting that you could swing through there on your way. But yeah, if you still haven't been there maybe you can talk someone into taking a detour with you Biggrin

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

...however fancy it might be - as long as that kitchen is missing an electric kettle of suitable size and wattage, it's not a proper kitchen in my eyes. I *need* my tea and my 1.5 liter, 2.1 kW kettle.

KtO's picture

Not the most important thing, perhaps, but I ADORE it: Williams & Sonoma hard wedge spatula, gently curved. Soft lime green. Best spatula ever.

Bedazzled101's picture

Petitioner

Iron Maiden, what is a kitchen without a treasured spatula. Once of my most treasured cooking utensils are the rosle silicone covered tongs I got at W-S...I can't live without them

If I won the lottery, the first place I'd stop is Williams Sonoma. My husband says I loose my mind every time i step into one. If anyone here travels through Primm, NV...you must not pass without stopping at the williams-sonoma outlet. Oh and make sure you have a lot of trunk room!
My husband has banned me from there since my last shopping craze. My heart starts palpitating, my voice gets loud and I squeal at anything that catches my eye. I also start madly racing down each isle grabbing like a mad woman...and when its over, I just get in the car and laugh giddily to myself about all my new treasures. He thinks I'm nuts...

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

you said that. I just broke my last spatula, and I'm looking for a new one. Thanks for the recommendation!

"Spatula City! I liked their spatulas so much, I bought the company!"

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Okay, so it's not all clad, but I was at ShopKo and saw a new line with Paula Deen's name on it. Not saying one way or the other about her or her show. But the pans were stainless with a copper bottom and aluminum in between.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I just finally read through this thread, *phew*! Then I realized that in all ~250 replies, I didn't see anyone mention a turkey baster Wink We had one in the kitchen growing up which was only ever used for the intended purpose, thankfully. Personally, I'd just as soon use some sort of spoon or ladle to pour on the juices.

That's my kitchen gear philosophy in general, though. I'd rather have a few items that fit multiple tasks than a zillion different specialized ones. Easier storage and cleaning Smile

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I can certainly understand the idea of wanting to have a kitchen full of multi-taskers, however, the specialized devices exist for a reason. When you cook as much as I do it's worth a little extra cabinet or shelf space to have gadget X which does one specific task very quickly and effectively. Not only does it save time on whatever semi-obscure task, but said semi-obscure task may be performed every couple of months (or more frequently). That said, I do not feel the need for a turkey baster Blum 3 I do have a marinade injector around here somewhere, but it's seen as much use filling watermelons with vodka as filling meat with marinade.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Something else I saw while I was at the store tonight was an electric griddle. Don't have one, would like one, but at the moment running several skillets at the same time seems to be serving the same purpose.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Honestly, having used my parents' electric griddle, I wouldn't want one. I far prefer a good seasoned cast iron griddle (especially the type that sits over two burners). The electric ones tend to be bulky and take up a lot more space, and are harder to clean. Not to mention being far more expensive. Also, the non-teflon crowd should approve of this choice Blum 3

MeiLin's picture

Most High

for the electric griddle of the world.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I have one of those cast iron griddles that sits over two burners. Got lucky and found it at an auction for a dollar. It's never been used. However, when I tried to fit it, the edges touch the stove and I would rather not burn the cook top.

Of course the point may be moot because I'm looking at getting a new stove but haven't decided if I want to get a ceramic cook top or wait a little longer and get a conduction model.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

So, I'm really needing some new pots and pans. As nice as the All-Clad is, can't really afford that. Considering getting some enamaled cast iron. Anyone out there use it or have any thoughts on it?

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I've never used the enameled cast iron, but if you're looking on a budget, amazon typically has some individual pieces of the calphalon anodized aluminum stuff up for $15-$30 a piece. That's how I started out when I was buying on a budget in undergrad, and it's great cookware. Just don't leave anything with a lot of acid sitting in it (making salsa verde in it is a strict no-no).

The Which's picture

Embodiment

My birthday is coming up, and everything on my list is for bread baking. I'm soooo excited. My bread has been adequate, but the lack of proper gear is hurting me (I try to use whole grain flours as much as possible, which means my bread making process is very finicky).

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

So, I was watching Hells' Kitchen tonight. It's rather amusing to watch "chefs" who think they can cook, get schooled. Granted some actually can rather well. But anyway, tonight, Morimoto was on to show them sushi and the winning team in the challenge got to keep his knife.

miss_b's picture

...as is the norm. But!

I swear by my Wusthoff knives, as well as my Chicago Cutlery knives. (What? A girl can't have too many knives!)

My fave thing of late has been my crock pot. I am feeding just me, so I like to make a big pot of something and then freeze it for meals. Do that a couple times a week and I have lunches and dinners all set in the freezer for a while. Smile

I may have to look into this yogurt maker though - that sounds like fun. Science on your countertop!

Ta!
Miss B

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

miss_b wrote:
(What? A girl can't have too many knives!)

Lines from my pending action movie for $600 please

erinnstreeter's picture

Devotee

In a former life, Miss B was a professional chef.

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