Sometimes the simplest kitchen tools are the most useful. One of my favorites is an old rubber mallet I picked up at the auto parts years ago. I use it for pounding meat. It was cheaper than the "official" flesh whackers sold in kitchen stores and way easier to handle than the frequently suggested substitute, a cast-iron skillet.
"My God," I told Nancy. "You'd need forearms like Popeye!"
Our favorite kitchen tools and why I should've listened to Nancy before I bought that mandoline: All in this week's Food for Thought.
That thing in the picture is a Danish dough whisk. It's way better for mixing thick batters and slack doughs than a wooden spoon. We both have one and use it often. Nancy's is by Mrs. Anderson. Mine, from King Arthur, looks about the same. Nance uses hers for mixing no-knead bread dough. I use mine most often to stir up thick spaetzle batter.
"So what about the mandoline I've been trying to get you to buy forever?" Nancy asked me. I'd never felt the need for one until I saw Deb Perelman's Cacio e Pepe Potatoes Ana in her new "Smitten Kitchen Every Day Cookbook." The recipe calls for a large quantity of uniformly thin-sliced potatoes – just what a mandoline's designed for. My mistake was getting more mandoline than I need.
"It's sitting in the cupboard now, " I told her. "And I'm wondering if I'm ever going to attempt anything with it again." Putting that thing together was was like trying to assemble an Ikea dresser with razor blades for drawers. That was Nancy's opportunity to say I told you so, and she was right. I should have gotten the simple little hand-held Genius mandoline she recommended.
Which I will, once the nightmares slack off..
"Handle your tools without mittens." – Benjamin Franklin