Homeyoungstown-cooks Inside My Kitchen

Inside My Kitchen

Posted in : youngstown-cooks on by : MikeZ Tags: ,

Ramblings about Cooking from a true Youngstown Kid…

We talked about my Grandmother’s kitchen a few weeks ago. So today, I thought it might be interesting for you to take a peek Inside My Kitchen. More specifically, what things I consider essential for the everyday production of meals for my wife and me. These are the utensils I use with great regularity. You should have most of them in YOUR kitchen, too.

Please note that I am NOT selling anything here and there are no links suggesting where you may buy any of these things. For that, you’re on your own.

The Essentials

The most used things in my kitchen are the spoons… Plastic, Wooden, even some Metal ones. Flat ends, Round Ends, solid or slotted – It seems like I never have enough. I even have one that’s exclusively for spaghetti.

Somewhere between a Spoon and a Spatula is this cross-bred thing I absolutely love when Cooking. It’s high-temp Silicone with a grippy handle. I use it to stir, blend, scrape and even scramble a few eggs. It’s also great for getting into corners in pots and casseroles

Then there are the good ol’ Spatulas. They seem to multiply when left alone at night. I have several… One springy flat metal one that’s great for deglazing in my regular metal pans and a host of “rubberized” or plastic ones for use in my non-stick cookware. Wide ones, narrow ones, some even with slots. You can’t flip burgers without one.

Wire Whisks are handy for lots of things… Beating eggs, blending flour with seasonings and even making batter for pancakes. I have two. A large one for the heavy duty jobs and another petite one for when I need to whip something together in a small bowl or pan.

Believe it or not, I even have two of these Utensil Holders on my countertop. They’re always jammed with a variety of the above, keeping everything readily at hand. It sure beats rummaging around in a drawer for that certain item.


Of course, what kitchen would be complete without a way to measure stuff? In mine, I have Measuring Spoons (a Pinch to 1 Tbsp.), 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 & 1 Cup sizes, and my favorite – a 4 Cup Measuring cup with a diagonal scale that is super easy to read.


Every kitchen needs to cut slice, dice or otherwise make big things into small ones. You’ll need a set of knives, a Sharpener, a Cutting Board and probably a Mandolin to make uniform slices and such. I made three mistakes when I bought my knife set. 1.) I went cheap and have regretted ever since. 2.) I bought wooden handles that dry out in the dishwasher and 3.) I didn’t get a set with a pair of Kitchen Shears. My shears are used almost daily and are always inconveniently in a drawer. I recommend Double Bevel Steel Knives. Leave the Single Bevels and Ceramic Blades to those Japanese TV Chefs.

And then there are Sharpeners. It is VERY important that your sharpener grinds your blades to the SAME BEVEL as the original manufacturer did when the knives were new. Most better quality knives have blade angles between 20° and 30° (total bevel). The smaller the bevel angle, the sharper the blade will be BUT… the faster the blade will dull or be damaged. Some knife sets have different bevels on different knives to suit their purpose so a sharpener with more than one angle is vital to good performance of your entire set.

You’ll also want a good Cutting Board. I have several but my favorites are an 11″ x 14″ x 1/4″ board that stays out on my kitchen counter for all sorts of routine jobs like slicing fresh baked bread or chopping veggies. The other is a bigger 14″ x 22″ x 1/2″ HDPE* Plastic Board with a groove around the edge to catch juices. I use it to carve chicken, ribs, and other meats. It’s big enough to be useful but still fit into the dishwasher. I also have a few smaller and thinner ones for all those odd jobs.

*HDPE – High Density PolyEthylene


A few more of the common but necessary things include a Box Grater, a Flat Dough Scrapr for working with bread and pastry doughs plus gathering up chopped veggies and other loose bit of stuff, a Wire Dough Blender for mixing flour and such. I prefer the light-duty wire variety over the heavier steel ones which are hard to use and impossible to keep from clogging up.

Then you’ll need a couple of strainers. A small one for those little jobs like dusting cookies with powdered sugar and a large one for straining solids from soups, broth and such. Plus a Colander to drain potatoes, veggies and spaghetti. It’s big and impossible to store but I can’t live without one.


If you ever intend to use your Oven, you’ll need a few Baking Sheets/Pans, a couple of Wire Racks that fit nicely inside them, a Rolling Pin, and above all, a couple of Oven Mitts. Mine are borrowed from my BBQ grill area and stay in the kitchen 100% of the time. Those mitts run circles around Hot Pads and have saved me more than one burn above the wrist from oven racks or the door.


And lastly, one of the most essential tools in my kitchen is my Instant-Read Digital Thermometer. If you really do want Medium Rare steaks or Chicken breasts cooked to the perfect temperature, you can’t live without one of these things. The days of guessing and not knowing if something is cooked or still a bit raw in the middle have been banished to Grandma’s Kitchen. High Tech can guarantee perfection every time. In fact, I have two. One Instant-Read and another that has a remote that I can take out of the kitchen so I can monitor things while watching TV. It even has a timer and oven-temp display besides the probe temp. I just love Tech in the kitchen.

As promised, I’ve posted more recipes on the website at YoungstownRecipes.com Here are the latest…


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To read other posts in the Youngstown Cooks series, just click HERE and Enjoy!