My Reverse Christmas List

15 Dec

You all saw my Mom Cook’s Christmas List the other week, yes? Today, I give you the opposite of that.

Today, my friends, we’re going to talk about things you probably own that you should chuck.

I know, I know. It all cost money at one point. And you may well be very happy with these gizmos and gadgets and toys. I sure was, before I started getting serious about my kitchen and my own cooking. I ask only that you read and think a bit, and really consider getting rid of this stuff, either because it’s dangerous or because it’s doing a disservice to your food. And if you’re going to spend all this time preparing food, shouldn’t it be as good as possible when it gets to your table?

So here we go. Things I think you should throw away for Christmas:

  1. Wooden spoons. I know. Your mom used them and her mom before her, and half the chefs on TV. But your mom and her mom didn’t know then what we know now, and the TV chefs throw them away after every use, because they are six-inch long petri dishes that you’re sticking into your family’s food. ICK. You can’t sanitize wooden spoons without splinters forming. Please, get rid of them. Get yourself some silicone spatulas and hard plastic spoons. You’ll feel better. (Same goes for wooden spatulas and such too.)
  2. Dull knives. Stop buying $10 knives. They can’t be sharpened effectively, and you’re both going to butcher your beautiful vegetables and cut yourself using them. Get yourself one or two really good knives–Target has a line of Henckels knives that is both affordable and excellent quality, and I find my beloved Wusthofs on sale all the time. If you can’t cut a tomato without smashing the poor thing, the knife has lived its useful life.
  3. Glass cutting boards. They’re pretty. I know. But they are hell on your knives. Ditto for marble–stop cutting on that. You need a wooden board for fruits, vegetables, breads, and cheeses, and a hard plastic board for meats (I have another hard plastic board I use for garlic and onions because they tend to hang around a wood board, too). Use the marble board for pastry dough, use the glass boards as trivets, and cut on wood or plastic–and then sanitize them properly after each use.
  4. Nonstick pots and pans. I’ve told you before that there’s a lot of research out there that says these things may not be so great for your family’s health. You can look that up yourself. If you have any nonstick cookware that’s chipping or peeling, it needs to go in the trash, like, yesterday. You do not want to eat that stuff, and you certainly don’t want your children eating it. Replace it, preferably with anodized aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron.
  5. Garlic presses. Want to make your garlic bitter or tasteless? Run it through a garlic press. You know that juice that’s all over the press when you’ve mangled a clove through there? That’s the flavor part, and it’s not in your food! It takes two seconds to peel and chop fresh garlic, and it keeps just about forever in a dark, cool place (mine lives in a little open container in a cabinet, along with potatoes and onions). You’ll get so much more flavor doing it the knife way. Promise.
  6. While we’re at it, please chuck jarred chopped garlic. It just tastes odd. Either use fresh or get some frozen chopped garlic at your grocery store–I buy Dorot garlic cubes at my pathetic Soviet grocery store, so you can too. They’re with the frozen veggies, in a little box with a red lid. Next-best thing to fresh. And nothing at all like jarred (ick).
  7. Sponges. Not all of them. But run your sponge through the dishwasher every time you run a load thru (put it inside your silverware bin so it doesn’t go flying around in there) and chuck them once a week. They are bacteria farms. Keeping them fresh will keep your family healthier.

Have another idea for useless kitchen stuff that should be done away with? Post it in the comments! 🙂

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4 Responses to “My Reverse Christmas List”

  1. Ken Montville December 15, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Why do I feel a little sick all of a sudden?

    Yeah, I have wooden spoons (and wooden cutting boards), dull knives and sponges that don’t actually go through the dishwasher every time.

    But, you know, my biggest problem isn’t the cookware. It’s the food. It makes me fat!

    Luckily, I’m not into the garlic thing so I’m safe there. 🙂

  2. Beth December 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    What about appliances you don’t use? Like that juicer that was going to change your life . . .

  3. Amy December 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Just curious, why have a wooden cutting board at all? If the wooden implements are bacteria farms, doesn’t it stand to reason the cutting board would be too? Fruits and some veggies can be pretty juicy.

    Otherwise – I totally agree! Especially regarding the knives.

  4. Kim December 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Wooden spoons are uncoated pine. Very very soft, very pourous, Stuff gets sucked in there and doesn’t come out, and running them through the dishwasher makes them splintery. I’m all for fiber, but splinters in my food sounds pretty unappetizing.

    Wood boards are hardwood–oak, cherry, etc. They’re not pourous like pine, and they’re generally sealed or treated with mineral oil. You should wipe yours down with food-grade mineral oil a few times a year to keep its seal on. But then, it can be wiped with Clorox or sprayed with vinegar to keep the nasties out. And you shouldn’t use wood for meat or dairy. They keep your knives happier. But plastic is also great, so long as you replace it when it gets deeply etched and can harbor germies and such. 🙂

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