Author Topic: Outfitting the Kitchen  (Read 5598 times)

Offline redrider

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2018, 02:44:21 PM »
Cake pan story:

I have a set of aluminum pro (thicker) grade, cake pans. When I made my 3 layer German Chocolate cake a few times a year for birthdays, they worked well.

A couple of years we moved from our larger house in town to my parents smaller house in the country. It still had all of my parents stuff in it. So, most of our stuff was/is stored in boxes. When the first birthday of the year came around, I couldn't find my professional cake pans. Oh no! you can't have a birthday without German Chocolate cake.

I found my mom's old, battered (I remember using them for science experiments, something to do with bluing?) cake pans. If you held them up to the light you could see pin holes in them, that's how bad they were.

I theorized, well, the batter can't leak out since you line them with wax paper, so I'll try them. The cake was excellent! as have been all of the succeeding cakes baked in them. I attributed the great cakes to the love that my mom had left in the cake pans. Now I find out that it is only 'cause they're thinner. Thanks David.

Just kidding. Even though I've since found my cake pans, I'll continue to use Mom's cake pans for as long as I'm able. You can't beat the extra love they add to a cake. And you sure can't buy it.

rr

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2018, 09:24:18 PM »
There is one big hole in my game. I have never found a loaf pan worthy of recommendation. I have an ancient ceramic variant that bake bread well but fails at pound cake. I have a steel variant that does pound cake well enough but needs grease and parchment to release and rusts around the edges. I'd welcome recommendations.

We got some from Cresco last year that I really like. I've only made bread in them so far, but I never have a problem with it sticking or rusting (so far). I think these are the same ones? https://www.amazon.com/Focus-Foodservice-Commercial-Bakeware-4-Pound/dp/B002P6BQFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515903728&sr=8-1&keywords=focus+food+service+loaf+pan

(That one says hand wash, but I throw ours in the dishwasher).

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2018, 09:58:32 PM »
I have a few extra bake pans from Norpro, bought here at Azure standard https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/household-family/kitchen/bakeware/baking-pans/loaf-pan/loaf-pan-85-x-45-x-2/8968?package=HA028

Works well, at least the muffin pan and bread pans we have bought as extras do.

other baking pans of mine are stainless steel revereware ( cookie sheets, square baking, muffin tins, round cake pans ) which is no longer made.  I always use pyrex for pies and a few glass pyrex rectangles, lasagne sized, round glass covered casarole.


Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2018, 01:02:03 PM »
Part of the reason that I don't bake as much bread as I used to is we use most of our bread for sandwiches and it's kind of a PITA to make sandwiches with slices that are different sizes.  They just don't fit in a bag or sandwich container to take with me. 

I just don't bake enough to justify getting one unless I know it works like I would like it to work.

Offline Applejack

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2018, 07:43:14 PM »
I have several cast iron pans including dutch ovens, reversible griddle, several frying pans, and some other very large oblong pans. One thing for the kitchen I don't see listed is a good pressure cooker. That one is a must have for canning.

Online David in MN

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2018, 08:19:45 PM »
This is it, the machine post. I'm sorry for those without the money to do this but this is where money matters. If you want to buy these tools, pay attention to online sales. I have bought most on cyber Monday at great discount.

These are the machines that make cooking easier.

The Kitchenaid.

The #1 tool. Buy the 6 Quart Pro model with lifting bowl, not the cheap articulating head model. The extra $100 will buy a lifetime of use.

https://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KP26M1XER-Professional-Bowl-Lift-Stand/dp/B000P9CWNY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1516071444&sr=8-3&keywords=kitchenaid+6

But you need attachments as well.

The pasta roller is great. We make fresh pasta in 30 minutes.

https://www.amazon.com/Gvode-Kitchen-3-Piece-KitchenAid-Stainless/dp/B0721M32GH/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071545&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=kitchenaid+pasta&psc=1

And I love a meat grinder (but Kitchenaid's is not the best!)

https://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Attachment-KitchenAid-Dishwasher/dp/B00BVC0LC8/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071625&sr=1-5&keywords=kitchenaid+meat+grinder

Now you have a machine that kneads dough, grinds meat, and rolls pasta. Not cheap but great.

The Cuisinart

I love this tool.

https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-DLC-8SY-Custom-11-Cup-Processor/dp/B01AXN5VUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071863&sr=1-1&keywords=cuisinart+pro+custom+11

For $150 you get a machine that slices and grates pretty well and makes the best hummus at home. I can grate 5 potatoes in 30 seconds to make potato pancakes. I joke with my wife that every time we grate cheese on it we save $1. It works.

Das Blender

OK, OK, my German side is coming out. I bought a Vitamix 5200 on Cyber Monday. It's demonic. It woulld eat my arm. But having my 2 year old drink kale smoothies is just awesome. We've done Oreo malts and homemade Gatorade. This is one of those tools you won't respect until you use it.

I'm sorry if you don't have $5k to buy all these. But they work and add a ton of value if you can get into it without breaking the bank. If you walked into my kitchen it does look like a nerd lab project. Makes me happy...

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2018, 08:51:28 PM »
Hey, that was only $700 for the kitchen power tools... in the scheme of things, not too bad. Stainless steel saucepans from goodwill, 2 decent cast iron pans, under $100 ....etc... couldnt it all be done for under 2k ?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2018, 10:46:31 PM »
My mom is a big baker and uprgraded her old kitchen aid mixer with the Pro model about 15-20 years ago.  I still have her original circa 1982 off-white kitchen aid mixer.  I almost never bake, but it works if I need it.  I also have a tiny Cuisinart, but never think to use it.

The problem with all the machines is clean up.  If I'm preparing a large dish or a special occasion, that's cool, but I hate digging out all that hardware, making a big mess, cleaning it all up, and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :( 

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2018, 12:08:16 AM »
My mom is a big baker and uprgraded her old kitchen aid mixer with the Pro model about 15-20 years ago.  I still have her original circa 1982 off-white kitchen aid mixer.  I almost never bake, but it works if I need it.  I also have a tiny Cuisinart, but never think to use it.

The problem with all the machines is clean up.  If I'm preparing a large dish or a special occasion, that's cool, but I hate digging out all that hardware, making a big mess, cleaning it all up, and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :(

Food processor is in the cabinet for me but the vitamix and the kitchen aid mixer stay right out on the counter, that way it is easy for me to quickly use. Clean up is a breeze, mixer bowl and beater goes right into the dishwasher. Vitamix you just put in water and a drop of detergent, turn on for 30 seconds and rinse out. There is no cake I can buy ( well, not for a mere $10 or $20 dollars more) that can compare to the ones we make.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2018, 05:06:37 AM »
and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :(
I hate to go out to eat and hate getting take out.  The main reason is most of the time whatever I make is FAR better tasting and healthier than whatever I get at the restaurant. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2018, 10:12:57 AM »
I hate to go out to eat and hate getting take out.  The main reason is most of the time whatever I make is FAR better tasting and healthier than whatever I get at the restaurant.

I know, I know.  I'm away from the house 12-14 hours on many week days. I'm lazy because I'm busy or perhaps the other way around?

I can get fantastic tasting thai food for $7 a dish.  So $21+tax to feed a family of 4 in a pinch is not terrible.  McDonald's would be almost as much, but at least we're getting fresh vegetables.

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2018, 10:20:04 AM »
Who can forget Tool Time's Man's Kitchen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmZ5kmoICtw

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2018, 10:56:26 AM »
I can get fantastic tasting thai food for $7 a dish.  So $21+tax to feed a family of 4 in a pinch is not terrible.
I'm not a big Thai food fan, but I understand what you mean.  For something "different" I have no problem going out.  I know nothing about making Thai food, so if that is what I wanted, I'd go out for it. 

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2018, 11:07:48 AM »
Totally agree with all of those. We had a cheap food processor and it sucked. We're saving for a nice one, I think it'll get some good use in our kitchen. I think our Kitchenaid is only gonna last another year or less (we got it used), then I'll replace it with one of the newer ones and get some attachments (the meat grinder and past roller were already at the top of my list, lol).

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2018, 11:20:49 AM »
I'm not a big Thai food fan, but I understand what you mean.  For something "different" I have no problem going out.  I know nothing about making Thai food, so if that is what I wanted, I'd go out for it.

I lived in east Asia for a few years growing up, and I eat a lot of food from that part of the world. I can eat pickled ginger like pickles and buy chili sauce by the case.

My mom got my siblings and I Instant Pots for Christmas.  At first I was apprehensive, but it's fantastic for stews, and curries in particular.  I'm working on a massaman curry that's darn close to restaurant grade. But if you don't dig fish/coconut/spicy, you wouldn't enjoy it.

Offline redrider

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2018, 01:07:07 PM »
What the heck is an instant pot? I gotta google this. I received a cookbook for instant pot from a relative but I have no idea what it is.

rr

LVWood

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2018, 02:50:14 PM »
It's a cool countertop hot water heater. Holds about a gallon.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2018, 03:15:57 PM »
What the heck is an instant pot? I gotta google this. I received a cookbook for instant pot from a relative but I have no idea what it is.

rr

Explained here:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+an+instant+pot%3F

LVWood

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2018, 03:22:04 PM »
Silly me.
I was thinking


Offline redrider

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2018, 07:45:06 AM »
So it's a flipping pressure cooker! "Instant Pot" my foot, it's a programmable pressure cooker hardly different from Grandma's.

Marketing. :facepalm:

Online David in MN

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2018, 08:36:54 AM »
On to #5 the extras. These are the couple oddball things I find necessary to have around. I'm avoiding some controversial stuff (like a French press vs. drip) because everybody already has their favorite. I'm also avoiding some heavy duty nerdy stuff like a sous vide setup. I have a janky homemade version (you can sous vide with little more than a cooler, hot water, and a Ziploc) largely based on my brewing liquor setup but I doubt most people find value here.

On to my "other" list...

Prep bowls.

I like a set of basic stainless steel prep bowls for setting up ingredients and doing basic mixing. These are great for mixing baking ingredients, breading fish, mixing a salad, etc. Very useful, cheap, and stackable to save space. A must.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Mixing-Finedine-Polished-Nesting/dp/B01HTYH8YA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1516199827&sr=8-4&keywords=stainless+mixing+bowl

Immersion Blender.

Another oddity I find use for. If you buy the Braun (my pick) it also comes with a whisk attachment that really helps with egg whites and a small food processor I use for making herbed oils and pastes for Thai food. I actually use the whisk when I make soap as well. Very usable little oddity.

https://www.amazon.com/Braun-MQ725-Multiquick-Blender-Black/dp/B01EA5ZLOU/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516200313&sr=1-4&keywords=braun+immersion+blender

Gas Stuff.

OK, I'm leaving the reservation here. Yes, I find a lot of use for my soda siphon (I make soda) and a nitrous charger. If you've never tried whipped cream with a charge, it's awesome. Pour in cream, add a little sugar, a hint of vanilla or brandy, charge with nitrous, and boom. You have perfect cream. I also use the nitrous charge to do things like cantaloupe foam (juice the fruit, add gelatin, charge with nitrous) which is a great addition to a fruit salad especially if topped with Pop Rocks. This is super nerdy food stuff not for everyone. The company that makes these tools is iSi (not ISIS as Google will autofill) and while their tools are simply the best the website is also half in German so take some time and check it out with patience. Also bear in mind the cream charges are nitrous oxide so my restaurant supplier keeps them under the front counter and while I've never tried to get high off one I'm sure it's possible so keep it away from the teenagers.

https://www.isi.com/us/culinary/

Microplanes

From using fresh nutmeg to zesting a lime these are very useful. Once again, I tend to buy cheap and replace often. My father in law has a fancier set with interchangeable blades but I think it's a solution in search of a problem. The old school cheapo seems fine to me.

https://www.amazon.com/Microplane-40020-Classic-Zester-Grater/dp/B00004S7V8/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516201744&sr=1-1&keywords=microplane

Pyrex Bakeware.


Not for baking, but for a roast or a braise these really shine. Pyrex did the right thing making the handles larger and actually usable. The lids don't fit well and are frankly garbage but the deep sides and handles make this a dream for a simple braised chicken dish.

https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Easy-4-Piece-Glass-Bakeware/dp/B005JCZ11C/ref=sr_1_10?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516201980&sr=1-10&keywords=pyrex+bakeware

Pyrex Measuring

Shouldn't need to mention this one, I assume everyone has it already. I use mine to reheat soup. It's a winner.

https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-3-Piece-Glass-Measuring-Cup/dp/B00M2J7PCI/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516202195&sr=1-1&keywords=pyrex+measuring+glass

And that about does it. If I haven't mentioned something it's probably because I haven't found a version I love. Anything I've posted here has stood the test of time in my kitchen and that's not easy. Brands like Dexter Russel, Matfer, iSi, and others I have listed are the industry leaders. Don't fall for gimmicky knock offs that don't function. And wherever possible you're almost guaranteed that buying the ugly cheap industrial model will be better than the brand with fancy marketing endorsed by a talk show host. My goal is to have a working kitchen that mirrors a professional version.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2018, 12:20:30 PM »
Nice addition to the thread.

I like to have both stainless steel bowls and glass.  I like glass for things that I really have to get in there to mix up.  The extra weight helps keep the bowl in place when I'm mixing.  I also like to use glass in place of metal for acidic stuff.  I know the warnings about acid and metal is about aluminum.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2018, 01:37:15 PM »
I'm usually of the same mindset as Alton Brown when it comes to uni-taskers (avoid at all costs), but I really freaking love our rice cooker. Maybe it's because we're at altitude, but our rice was always either mushy or crunchy, no matter what we tried (and we tried A LOT). Our model also does quinoa and oatmeal, and has a slow cook function, so I guess it's not really a uni-tasker. However, I primarily use it for rice, and it's fool-proof for that.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2018, 02:03:20 PM »
I cook but I don't bake.  I do have extra cooking gear for 2 reasons I have a huge garden and physical limitations that I am always looking to hack to keep doing what I love. 

I like stuff that can go in the dishwasher or soak over night till I can deal with it.   While I love my cast iron it is heavy and high maintenance.   I have a beautiful hardwood cutting board that I don't use because plastic ones go in the dishwasher.  Most of my cook ware is Stainless Steel for ease of cleaning.  I love my Le Creuset but I need my husband home to use the large one.  I find myself using the smaller one more often due to the weight when full. 

I love dual functional items since I do a lot of canning and food preservation.

Stainless  Steel mesh colander is great for blanching veggies for freezing, using a colander, and also use to strain stock of all the bones and other bits.

Coffee grinder is great for spices and is easier to use than a mortar and pestle which I also own. 

Ice cream scoop and SS measuring spoons are great for removing seeds from various veggies. 

Canning funnel.  I use this to fill my Nalgene bottles. It is a perfect fit.

I use my largest stock pots for water bath canning and bought a canning rack to fit them. 

Canning jars are a must.

Since I am in a cold wet climate I love my Excalibur Dehydrator.  I use it to dry gallons of herbs, veggies, and fruits over the course of the growing season.  The dried goods go in canning jars. 







Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #54 on: January 17, 2018, 03:25:57 PM »
I like stuff that can go in the dishwasher or soak over night till I can deal with it.   While I love my cast iron it is heavy and high maintenance.   I have a beautiful hardwood cutting board that I don't use because plastic ones go in the dishwasher.  Most of my cook ware is Stainless Steel for ease of cleaning.  I love my Le Creuset but I need my husband home to use the large one.  I find myself using the smaller one more often due to the weight when full. 

Ditto on all this, also from someone with physical limitations.

Online David in MN

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2018, 03:57:11 PM »
My wife does like to remind me that not all of us are over 6 feet and 250 lb former powerlifters. I do find that the old cast iron like Griswold is much lighter than modern versions.

I can't do the coffee grinder for spices thing. I prefer the control on a traditional mortar and pestle. I use a Coors variation I don't remember buying.

https://www.amazon.com/Mortar-Pestle-Porcelain-Coors-520/dp/B005MIQ6S0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229430&sr=8-2&keywords=coors+mortar+and+pestle

But it's 100% preference and I get using a coffee grinder as a shortcut.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2018, 04:35:05 PM »
I prefer the control on a traditional mortar and pestle. I use a Coors variation I don't remember buying.

https://www.amazon.com/Mortar-Pestle-Porcelain-Coors-520/dp/B005MIQ6S0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229430&sr=8-2&keywords=coors+mortar+and+pestle

But it's 100% preference and I get using a coffee grinder as a shortcut.

says they guy who doesn't work out of the house.  Not saying you have nothing to do, but at 6pm when the family is hungry, they'd plan a mutiny if I starting grinding spices by hand or motorized ;)

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2018, 06:28:52 PM »
Oh yeah, I didn't see a kitchen scale mentioned at all. I didn't have one for a long time, but now I refuse to have a kitchen without one. It makes baking infinitely easier, and I also use it for soaping. The OXO 11 lb. one works great for me, I used to have the 5 lb. one but I found I was consistently overloading it (they even replaced it for me once when the display went bad).

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #58 on: January 17, 2018, 06:41:10 PM »
I have a marble mortar and pestle that got almost 20 years ago. I used all the time but my reality has dramatically changed in the last year and a half.

What would you do if you became disabled? How would this change your kitchen and cooking habits.  Are your long term prepping plans based on you always having a fully functional body? 

I am currently working on getting rid of the stuff that I don't use anymore and finding replacements that improve my functionality.  My situation is dramatically changing the way my husband and I are looking at homesteading, prepping, and retirement.  Being able to age in place it something I need to address now in my 40's. 

Online David in MN

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Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
« Reply #59 on: January 17, 2018, 07:37:17 PM »
Oh yeah, I didn't see a kitchen scale mentioned at all. I didn't have one for a long time, but now I refuse to have a kitchen without one. It makes baking infinitely easier, and I also use it for soaping. The OXO 11 lb. one works great for me, I used to have the 5 lb. one but I found I was consistently overloading it (they even replaced it for me once when the display went bad).

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale

I have an old Salter I wouldn't recommend. If the Oxo is a better fit, I'll add it to my list for the future. Much thanks.

I have a marble mortar and pestle that got almost 20 years ago. I used all the time but my reality has dramatically changed in the last year and a half.

What would you do if you became disabled? How would this change your kitchen and cooking habits.  Are your long term prepping plans based on you always having a fully functional body? 

I am currently working on getting rid of the stuff that I don't use anymore and finding replacements that improve my functionality.  My situation is dramatically changing the way my husband and I are looking at homesteading, prepping, and retirement.  Being able to age in place it something I need to address now in my 40's. 

That's a hard discussion and I don't mean to treat it light. I've known alzheimer's patients who forget about the turkey in the oven. I have the beginnings of arthritis. So it's knocking at my door. My initial solution is to keep the heavy tools out and open. I don't move the Kitchenaid because it's hard to move.

Rockler has some crazy options to make the kitchen more usable. I'll find one here...

http://www.rockler.com/rev-a-shelf-heavy-duty-mixer-lift

It's a question of how to make your tools more accessible. There are options to make life easier.