Finding the Right Tools to Cook or Bake

When I started out with my own kitchen, I didn’t have very much in the way of baking utensils–mostly just what had been given to me at bridal showers or as wedding gifts. In 1958, wedding and shower gifts were really modest – a toaster or a waffle iron or an electric mixer were really “big” gifts. Many years later I was at a bridal shower at which the bride received everything imaginable including a set of luggage. I remarked “What is left to give her as a wedding present?” and her grandmother, who overheard me, said “Why, money, of course!” Obviously I got married in the wrong decade.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I love kitchen utensils, kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, baking pans, small appliances, cookie sheets–anything that goes into the kitchen. I love it. Having had some friends pass away in the past two decades, I also inherited a lot more kitchen gadgets and utensils. Yeah, I know. No one needs fifteen wooden spoons or six potato peelers or three flour sifters or eight cookie sheets–but I can’t bear to part with any of them because many of them belonged to someone I knew and loved. Whenever you handle or use something that belonged to someone you loved – a sister, or your grandmother, or a girlfriend – you are holding in your hand something that they held in their hands. (I have two cookie cutters that belonged to my grandmother. I use them often and think of her every time I do).

I am also greatly enamored of things needed to make cute or fancy cupcakes, cookies. cakes, muffins, and whatever, such as food color pastes, different flavoring extracts, edible toppings, paper cupcake liners in different sizes and cutesy food decorating tips or marking pens – and a huge assortment of sprinkles that fill one entire wall of racks (I buy them on sale half price after every holiday). My grandchildren love the sprinkles too and have been having a high time with the new icing tips that dry “hard” like royal frosting.

If you are near a Michael’s or a Joann’s store – they both have fairly decent sections devoted to Wilton products and other good things needed to bake cookies, muffins, cupcake and layer cakes. But if you are NOT near one of these stores (though I can’t imagine anyone not having a Michael’s or a Joann’s in their town) -one of my other favorites is something called Kitchen Krafts that publishes a catalog but can also be accessed on www.kitchenkrafts.com.

No, I don’t get a discount from Kitchen Krafts (I wish) – but I have one of their catalogs in front of me and they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. I can spend as much time going through one of these catalogs as I can a catalog for BOOKS such as those published periodically by Edward R. Hamilton. Ok, we are catalogue buffs and probably spend as much time going through catalogs as we do books. But you can often find something really – obscure – in a catalog that you aren’t going to find at the local hardware store or Walmart or Target. But if all else fails, type what you are looking for into Google.com and see what pops up. I find a lot of stuff through Google too, including, believe it or not – the most recent acquisition – a fermenting crock so we could make a big batch of sauerkraut. (If all goes well we will be canning about 30 quarts of sauerkraut in a few weeks).

As you might have guessed, a lot of our friends think we are a little strange. The rest know it.

Happy Cooking!

Sandy

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