A Mom Cook’s Christmas List

23 Nov

It’s that time of year when our calendars fill and the relatives invade and the fat man squeezes down the chimney to fill our stockings with all kinds of fun stuff.

Happy holidays!

There will be plenty of fun recipes to share with you over the next month, but today, I thought we’d chat about what working moms want for their kitchens. And yes, I do think kitchen things are excellent gifts–playing with food is FUN, ladies and gentlemen, and new toys make it even more so.

I’m going to start with things I have and love that might make your dinnertimes easier, and then share with you my own kitchen wish list.

So…things I use every day or nearly every day that I love:

  • I’ve told you about the pots and pans I adore. Worth the investment. Start with a large fry pan and a stock pot, and go from there.
  • A simple, basic slow cooker. I like the one with a simple dial and three settings: low, high and warm. I have a four-quart that’s fine for our family 90 percent of the time, and a seven-quart I haul out for huge batches of food.
  • A stovetop cast-iron grill/griddle. Go for a two-burner model, season it well, and never let it touch soap. We use ours all the time and I suspect you will too. Be sure you get the kind that flips over and not one that’s only a grill.
  • Good knives. Start with a santoku if you don’t have a good chef’s knife–it should feel solid and heavy in your hand, and is a fantastic multi-tasker. Once you have that, go for other knives–a bread knife, a paring knife, a tomato knife, and an all-purpose 5 inch knife, along with a set of kitchen shears. NEVER put them into the dishwasher and have them professionally sharpened once a year. You won’t believe the difference between cheap and quality knives. I promise. Mine are Wusthof Classic, and I absolutely adore them.
  • A Kitchen Aid stand mixer. There simply is no substitute. Even in a tiny kitchen. Make room. I use mine almost every day–it’s that versatile and powerful and easy. Pimping out is optional.
  • A digital thermometer/timer. Again, I use it every day. Time your cooking, get an alert when meat reaches its optimal temperature, and be sure your food is cooked to safety levels.
  • A bread machine. I don’t have a specific brand to recommend, but be sure you get one that’ll handle a 2-pound loaf and has a dough cycle. Dump in your bread ingredients and walk away. No kneading, no worrying about rise time. I put everything from pizza dough to cinnamon rolls in mine. Love, love, love.
  • A pizza stone. Trust me. Awesome.
  • A Microplane. Good for everything from zesting fruit to grating fresh Parmesan cheese and whole nutmeg. Another thing I reach for all the time.

Now, things I wish for are:

  • A Cuisinart Griddler. I have a Foreman that gets a fair amount of use, but this thing does SO much more. Droooool…
  • A Keurig. I have a really good coffee maker (it’s a Cuisinart with a thermal carafe–the thermal carafe is key, y’all) but don’t always want a full pot. Mama wants a single-cup coffee maker too.
  • A mandoline. There’s nothing like one of these when you want even, quick slices of something. Don’t ask me why I haven’t just bought one, but I haven’t. Maybe this year.
  • A Foodsaver. Might just make me help make sense of my side-by-side fridge/freezer from hell. HELL. (Might as well put one of those on my list too, eh? Bottom freezer, Santa!)

So that’s it. I’d love to hear what’s on your list this year…



2 Responses to “A Mom Cook’s Christmas List”

  1. Missy November 23, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Kim, how do you store your knives? Did you buy them as a set in a wooden block or individually?

  2. Kim November 23, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Missy, I got the Santoku first and it lived in a drawer in a plastic knife safe. The next year, I got the block set. The Santoku and the other knives in that set live in the block, and the chef’s knife lives in the plastic knife save because I rarely use it.

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