My husband came up with the idea for this page. I liked his concept instantly… but not because I’m trying to talk you into buying something just because I have it in my kitchen … and especially NOT because I’m trying to talk you into buying anything … at all period! Please don’t read this that way! This is simply a visual list for those of you who–when you hear me say I’m using my electronic, moss-covered, two-handled family grudunza (or whatever) in my kitchen–think “I wonder which one she uses?”
I could have put these images up in the individual blog posts–just like I do the links for you to go see it, if you so desire–but, personally … I think all those Amazon.com banners make it look like I’m REALLY pushing you to buy things … when I’m NOT! Plus, honestly, I often outline tools and the like in one compact paragraph. If I used Amazon’s image links all through that (instead of just the text links I use) it would just clutter up my pages too much!
Now, instead, if you’d like to know exactly what I’m using when I talk about a particular tool here–brand and everything–then come here and look at the pictures … and you’ll have a better visualization of what I’m doing in my own kitchen … because you’ll have a better idea of what my tool looks like, and–more importantly–you’ll also have access to the specifications on the tools I use … so that, in turn, you can read about my experience with it and go “I want one just like that one!” … or “I wouldn’t use mine that much, so I wouldn’t want one that expensive” … or you can decide “Nope! She bought a cheap one–and she made it work–but I don’t want that hassle.” It’s all up to you.
So, step inside! Here are the things in my kitchen:
My Nesco dehydrator is a recent addition, but I absolutely love it already. The fan-driven system works great. It dries most things amazingly fast! After many years with my old Ronco (below) … I almost have trouble keeping up with this new one! I’ve also got two really old homemade dehydrators as well, but none of them work as fast as this baby does:
The extra trays for my dehydrator, which turned it into a seven-drawer model. I highly recommend going for the extra space! It’s made a difference already:
My old Ronco dehydrator, an older model of this one … that includes extra trays and the jerky pack. I liked my old Ronco–don’t get me wrong … and I found it new in the box for $5 at a yard sale … you can’t beat that!–but I like my new Nesco better because of the fan and the thermostat. It works so much faster than this old Ronco, which is just basically plug it in … and it works through heat drying:
My meat grinder, and it’s quite a workhorse! I do all my sausage and ground meats in it. Also, I bought this grinder two years ago, and the price has come down $20 since then … making it an even better value:
My food processor is a Cuisinart, and I paid about this amount for it about 12 years ago. I don’t know if this is the exact same model (just the newest version/number of that same model) but it has all the same pieces, and it’s the same cup size. It’s not the fanciest or most expensive model available–not by a long-shot–but it’s worked great for me for a very long time … and it does every single task I throw at it, every single time:
The stick/immersion blender extraordinaire. I have this specific model, and I love it!:
If you like Falafels … you’ll love one of these. It’s a way for you to make perfectly proportioned falafels, each and every time:
As far as pressure canners go, I have four: all Prestos, three antiques and one I bought new … two 21-gauge pots and two 16-gauge pots. My favorite is a Presto 07145 … which is the weight-gauge version of this same canner (below). If you’d prefer the weight-gauge model like me, then it’s available at most WalMarts:
Alternately, if you want to be able to use your Presto dial-gauge canner as a weight-gauge canner***, too … then this is the 3-part weight you’ll need to put on your vent pipe***:
***to be able to use the 3-part weight, your Presto canner must use this specific vent pipe … so double check at the Presto site (GOPresto.com) to be sure your canner uses this specific #85608 vent pipe. If it does, and you buy the three-part weight gauge above … then with the addition of the weight gauge, your dial-gauge pot is now a dual-purpose canner:
As far as canning jars go, my personal favorites are wide-mouth pints and quarts! I know you get fewer jars per load using wide-mouth jars … but they’re worth the trade-off to me in terms of being able to stick my hand inside the jar to clean it, and in being able–in case of the pints–to have jars with completely straight sides. They’re useful when you’re canning something you want to be able to remove from the jar in one piece. The wide-mouth jars come in quarts:
12-ounce jelly jars:
NOTE: DON’T YOU DARE pay that much for those canning jars! I am absolutely APPALLED at how much people are charging for them on Amazon.com. FIND THEM LOCALLY INSTEAD! Thrift stores! Yard Sales! Even your local WalMart (or even your grocery store) has better prices than that!
Moving to my cutlery drawer, I’m again thankful that I had the chance to visit The Dutchman’s Store last year! That’s were I stocked up on–among other things–Rada knives.If you don’t know the brand, Rada knives are stainless steel with a drop-forged aluminum handle bonded to them. They’re basically one-piece, seamless metal, so they clean like a dream … plus, they’re amazingly sharp … and they stay that way!
Here’s my Rada paring knife … or should I say knives. I bought two when I was there, and I haven’t regretted that choice once:
I also bought a Rada “Granny Parer” … a stubby little blade that’s perfect for your biggest jobs! It’s the perfect fit in your hand, and the tip of the blade meets your thumb. What more do you need?
My Rada tomato knife … which I absolutely LOVE! It slices wafer-thin slices of tomatoes that are just lovely in sandwiches:
My grapefruit knife! I know it’s a luxury item … but my mother had one of these years ago, and I’ve always missed it … so I’m glad I now have one in my own drawers!
My Rada “Old Fashioned” butcher knife. Within a week, it had pushed all of the other big knives out of my drawer. I can’t say enough good things about it! Got a 20# roast? I’ll give you a sales pitch: I’ll come over and cut your roast in half for you with one swipe of this knife. It’s that heavy and nice!
Our new Nesco coffee roaster. So far we like it, but it’s not as efficient as the last roaster we owned:
Our old roaster was the iRoast … which we loved … but they were on backorder for well over a year. We burn one up every 12 months or so, so we were surprised when we couldn’t get one … over and over and over again. In other words … we love them … but they annoy us:
My Waring Pro Roaster Oven, the handiest thing you can own if you cook for large groups of people … and your own oven is small. I managed to catch mine on sale after Christmas one year for $20. Never pay retail when you can help it!
I don’t own one of the expensive stand mixers. I have the immersion/stick blender I put above, this small hand-held mixer … that I usually grab first:
And then this stand mixer:
Yes, it’s not one of those really expensive, heavy-duty ones … but it’s enough for my uses. I don’t feel like I need a bigger/stronger stand mixer because I just don’t do a huge amount of bread, and–when I do–I either kneed it by hand (mostly) or (occasionally) use my bread machine. Note: programmable bread machines make great alarm clocks on the weekend!:
I also have an older American Harvest convection oven (that I found at a thrift store for $15, brand new, still in the box) that’s very similar to this one:
I always keep an inexpensive electric griddle around. I’ve discovered that–if I let them heat up properly in advance–I can get a nice sear and a nice amount of amount of brown on many foods using it. However, the consequence of that is that I burn through one every 2-3 years or so. The expensive ones burn up just as fast as the cheap ones–and you can drop ANY of them and break them–so I only buy inexpensive ones like this:
Then … outside on the deck, we have our BBQ grill:
…and the smoker I built myself is here:
Looks pretty easy, right? Well … it is