Have you noticed how the kitchen, the crowded storage room of our domestic appliances, always becomes the favored hangout area at parties, regardless of how much more comfort and space is offered throughout the rest of the house? If you think about it, we really do spend a substantial amount of our lives in the kitchen.
A kitchen just needs a few carefully selected, high quality appliances to make it fully functional. It takes some planning and research to get the ultimate kitchen supplies for your needs, but considering the many times you’ll be using them, it’s well worth the effort. Three especially important items on your kitchen utensils list are the right types of kitchen knives, a coffee maker, and an electric skillet.
Cut to the Good Stuff
There are myriad kitchen knives to choose from, reflecting the abundance of dishes trending in culinary arts right now. Professionals and amateurs alike need good knives to meet the demands of preparing those dishes, so having a good set of cutlery is necessary.
Here’s a little background for you: metal knives have been used since the Bronze Age – about 3,000 B.C.E. – but the European tradition of using an all-purpose, sharp knife for fighting, food preparation and eating alike, didn’t come to fruition until the 17th century. Before then, dinner hosts didn’t provide guests with eating utensils, so guests carried around their own knives. But King Louis XIV of France banned the use of sharp tipped knives under the influence of his advisor Cardinal Richelieu, who introduced a less dangerous design with ground-down point for eating. This quickly became the standard part of a European, American and later the worldwide eating etiquette we are familiar with today.
Knives can be made of stainless steel, carbon steel, or ceramics among other variations, and expensive sets often comes with lifetime warranties. High quality knives are worth the investment!
Get Great Coffee at Home
Coffee is what makes the world spin, or at least what get us up in the morning. Even non-coffee drinkers would agree that the aroma of newly brewed coffee is delightful. There’s a reason that houses on the market just happen to have freshly brewed coffee or even newly baked bread around, to enhance the experience for prospective buyers.
The art of coffee making was originally cultivated by Sufis in Yemen sometime in the 15th century, and spread from there to other monasteries. The intake of coffee was directly related to religious practices, as an aid to concentration and a spiritual intoxication when they chanted the name of God. When the first first coffee houses opened in Cairo and Mecca, coffee became a passion and not just a stimulant.
But it wasn’t until after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, that Americans started switching from tea to coffee, and the reason was that the American Revolution made drinking tea seem unpatriotic. Coffee drinking has accelerated significantly in the last century. By the time of the new millennium, coffee consumption was 22.1 gallons per capita. More than 150 million Americans drink coffee on a daily basis, and 65 percent consume their hot beverage in the morning.
Thus, a good coffee maker is of paramount importance to many Americans. Even made with the same beans, coffee prepared at different temperatures, different speeds, or having been exposed to air for different amounts of time, provides vastly different tasting experiences. Look for a brewer that maintains a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Shower heads makes the water spread evenly over the ground beans, which is said to result in a more balanced, flavorful beverage, as compared to brews extracted from the traditional drip system. Speed matters too, as the quicker the better, and once brewed, you want to keep your beverage in an airtight container to keep it from too much contact with air, which spoils the aroma.
We have reviewed five coffee makers, to help with some pointers of for what you should be looking. Moccamaster KBGT 10-Cup Coffee Brewer for example, makes coffee for less than many other models with similar features, and on top of it offers a 5-year warranty, to keep you happily brewing for many mornings to come.
Electric Skillets: Underrated and Underused
Now, when you have your basic kitchen tools, you might want to look at some additional equipment for your refined cooking needs. Certain foods like soups and stews are best cooked in an electric skillet, as are meats that require slow cooking with a liquid or gravy. Electric skillets heat evenly all the way across, without the hotspots you may get on a stove. It stays a consistent temperature without you doing a thing, and for that reason may be a great and even necessary addition to your kitchen cooking.
The electric skillet is a modern kitchen tool, invented in the middle of the 20th century. It evolved from the electric chafing dish, which was created in 1911 out of of sheet steel. The dish was a nifty cooking tool which could be turned over and used as a hotplate. In 1953, a company called Sunbeam launched a square shaped frying pan called Automatic Frypan, made out of cast aluminum. It had a black plastic handle with a heat control and a fry guide. A year later, the first stainless steel electric frying pan made it’s debut.
Modern electric skillets are still often made out of stainless steel, but ceramic and die-cast aluminum skillets are increasingly popular, and almost always modern electric skillets offer non-stick surfaces such as ceramic, non-stick aluminum, duraceramic coating or other. We have reviewed five electric skillets, to offer guidance in choosing the best electric skillet for you.
A properly equipped kitchen will make it an even greater joy to spend time in. We hope our advice on different types of kitchen knives, what to look for in a coffee maker to brew great coffee, and the benefits of an electric skillet have been helpful in finding the best kitchen tools for you. Enjoy your cooking!
Gretchen is no stranger to the kitchen. While she learned to cook from her father, it was mother who encouraged her to pursue a career in writing. One day Gretchen realized she could have the best of both worlds and write about cooking!