Also known as a double-boiler or a water bath the bain marie is a piece of French cooking equipment that is used to heat things slowly and gently.
A baster is used to baste meat as it cooks in its own juices. Commonly used for rotisserie cooking, grilling and roasting.
Used to puree, emulsify, chop and blend things in the kitchen. Especially things like smoothies, daiquiris and pina coloda's.
A narrow-bladed knife used to remove the bones and/or flesh from meat. The blade is stiff when used for beef and pork, but a flexible blade is more useful for poultry and fish.
A special enameled cast-iron pan with a tight fitting lid used to braise meats. Also called a brazier, braiser or a rondeau.
A serrated-bladed knife used to cut bread. The recessed or off-set handle is the most ergonomic and easiest to use. Also, bread knives make really nasty wounds.
A pan that is designed to fit under the broiler. Usually a rack is suspended over a reservoir to both elevate the meat and catch the drippings.
A knife that is made specifically for butchering, processing and sometimes gutting animals.
Used for trussing and tying things up for cooking.
You'd have to have been living in a cave for the entirety of your life with people who were also born in a cave to not know what a can opener is.
A long, thin knife used for cutting thin slices of cooked meat. Often, a meat fork will also be included if the knife is part of a set. In the old days, the carving knife was the best knife in the house, so it often had an ornately decorated or fancy handle and was stored in a box with the good china.
A large deep dish made of glass or clay used for baking and serving. In Minnesota we use casserole dishes to make "hot-dish" and that's what we call it too.
A way of gently cooking food or a way of keeping food warm on a buffet. In fancier restaurants chafing dishes are used to prepare food table-side. In trashy restaurants they are used to keep you from getting sick from the crappy food.
A very shallow bladed knife used to score the skin of chestnuts for steaming. The blade is shallow so that it doesn't cut the flesh of the chestnut while it cuts the skin.
The chimney like tool that makes it easier to light charcoal for grilling.
Chinese Chef's Knife
A large, rectangular-bladed knife resembling a cleaver, but much lighter and thinner. Like other chef's knives, the Chinese chef's knife is an all-purpose knife used for a variety of tasks. It is used widely throughout many Asian countries.
A conical strainer made of metal, similar to the colander. Generally considered to be a cheaper alternative to the chinoise. I'm not positive, but I bet the name of this tool is offensive to someone, somewhere.
A fine-meshed, conical strainer used sometimes in conjunction with a wooden cone to help push stuff through the holes. Chinoise is the French feminine adjective for Chinese; not sure why they called it that.
Large, rectangular, heavy, and thick-bladed knife used for "cleaving" bone and meat quickly and efficiently. Not to be confused with a Chinese chef's knife, which resembles the cleaver in some ways.
A bowl shaped strainer used for draining food like pasta and vegetables. Those made of screens may be the most efficient.
A brand name for a type of slow cooker, which is a type of electric cooking appliance used for making dips, soups, stews, and braised dishes.
The surface we use to prepare meat and vegetables for cooking and eating. Usually made of hardwood or plastic, these cutting boards need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.
A specialized knife used to remove the "vein," which is actually the colon, from the back of shrimps. Like a sort of narrow or thin tourne knife. You'd have to eat a lot of shrimp in order for this to be worth your while.
They come in many shapes and sizes. I would recommend getting a table-top model as a pocket-sized digital scale is pretty much only good for weighing conflict diamonds and illicit narcotics.
The absolute best way to check the temperature of something. The detachable-probe model is convenient, but the cord can be damaged easily. But they can usually be easily replaced.
A type of bain marie. They can be purchased as such or improvised out of similar-sized pots and bowls. The easiest double boiler to make is created by placing a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. You will need an oven mitt or towel to keep from getting burned by the steam under the bowl.
A flat square of metal attached to a handle that works very well for chopping dough into portions. As an added bonus, it also makes cleaning off a table easier, especially if it has dried dough stuck to it. Just like scraping ice off a windshield.
Usually made of cast iron, this thick-walled cooking vessel has a tight-fitting lid almost always made of cast iron as well. These cooking vessels have been used for hundreds of years and are sort of like an early form of the slow cooker (a.k.a. Crock Pot). They can be placed directly over fires, buried in coals, or nowadays on top of stoves and in ovens.
A tool that uses wires stretched evenly across a frame to slice eggs thinly, quickly, and evenly. I knew someone who used it to slice strawberries too. It worked for a time until the wires got loose and eventually the egg slicer crapped out on him.
An extremely flexible specialized boning knife used to fillet fish. Its flexibility enables the blade to go around and over the bones of the fish. My favorite fillet knife is made by Marttiini in Finland.
Flexible Cutting Board
These can make prepping large quantities of vegetables easier as after you've chopped them you can pick the cutting board up and dump them easily into a pot or bowl.
These are small, specialized knives used for decorating and peeling. Fluting is when you cut grooves into the side of a column-shaped item like a carrot or cucumber.
Also called the passatutto, puree sieve, or moulinette; the food mill is a way of pureeing or mashing fruits, vegetables, legumes and other items into a consistent size. It is the best way to puree things like tomatoes, as it keeps the seeds from getting in the sauce.
A sort of quick way to chop things up. The cuts are erratic and inconsistent in size and shape so generally I only use it for things that need to be pureed or made smooth. Some attachments make short work of vegetable prep though, so in large-quantity kitchens they are quite useful.
French Chef's Knife
The most popular chef's knife in the Western world. This chef's knife is a general utility knife and is one of the most essential tools in the kitchen. Chefs are more protective of their knives than they are of anything else.
A general term for pans that are used for frying and searing. Many types of frying pans exist: cast iron skillets, non-stick, copper, copper core, electric, stainless steel, clad, aluminum core. All-Clad makes some of the most accessible high-quality pans.
These things are only good if you buy the good ones. These are generally larger, resembling a small potato ricer. Smashing or pressing garlic breaks down more of the cell walls, which makes the garlic more garlicky. If you like that sort of thing. But depending on how long you cook the garlic, it may not matter as much, since long cooking times break down flavors. So adding garlic near the end of cooking is a good way to get a fresh garlic flavor in your food. But cooked garlic also tastes good, so you have a lot of options.
German Cook's Knife
The origin of the chef's knife is Germany, although they call them cook's knives there: kochmesser. The original German version is more curved, continuously, from heel to tip. Germany, especially the Solingen area, is home to some of the best knives in the world. It's where my personal favorite, Wüsthof, is from.
A dull tipped curved, flexible blade with a serrated edge used to remove the flesh of a grapefruit from its peel and from the inner segmented walls.
Also called a shredder in some places, the grater comes in a few varieties: microplane, zester, nutmeg grater, ginger grater, cheese grater, box grater, and more. They do exactly what they say they do: grate things into fine pieces.
This is an incredibly broad and diverse group of kitchen equipment. The two dominant forms of grills are charcoal and gas. But seeing as a grill only needs to be food elevated over a heat source many forms of grill are possible. Even infrared grills exist.
Basically a metal or wire bristled brush that is used to clean the grill grates. Many types exist but most of them only work for a few months before they crap out. Usually because we leave them outside all year long.
Hard Cheese Knife
A stiff bladed knife with a forked tip for picking up the cheese that was just sliced. In a pinch these knives can double as butter knives. People may start using them like sporks though. I mean knorks.
A steel or ceramic rod that is used to straighten the edge of a sharpened knife by removing the burr. The steel is not intended for sharpening, although by using it the knife will in effect be sharper. But it is just for refining the edge, not for attaining it.
Ice Cream Scoop
Generally the ice cream scoop is used for more than just scooping ice cream. These scoops are also called portion scoopers, as they are really good at measuring even portions of food quickly. I use them to portion out mixtures of meat to make even-sized meatballs.
A large needle used to inject liquid into meat. Very common in the meatpacking industry as a way of adding weight and salt to their products. We do this at home too so that we can get salt spices inside the meat. Some injectors can inject solid food into the meat, sort of a novelty though. I can do that by hand.
A brand name and type of tenderizer that uses small blades connected to a spring and a handle to tenderize meat. You put the Jaccard on the meat and push the blades down it to the meat. These blades cut and break down the cell walls in effect tenderizing the meat.
An implement of mixing.
Possibly more widely known as kitchen shears or poultry shears, the kitchen scissors are a utility tool and are heavy-duty enough to cut through poultry bone. A kitchen essential.
A place for you to put your knives. Make sure they are clean before you put them in there though or you might cross-contaminate. Which is one of the reasons I put my knives in my knife roll or on the magnet rack.
A long handled serving utensil with a bowl or reservoir attached at the tip. They come in various sizes and shapes. The most common use for the ladle is for serving soup. But they also used to be used for drinking water. When I was a kid we drank from a ladle attached to the old hand-pump well at the farm. We also used the ladle to prime the pump from a bucket of water kept near the pump. If the bucket ever went dry we would have to go down to the river and get some more water before we could have a drink. That hand-pumped well-water was some of the best water I have ever tasted.
Also called a "citrus reamer" or just simply a "reamer," the lemon reamer is one of the easiest ways to extract the juice from a citrus fruit. Usually they are made of wood, which means they shouldn't be put in the dishwasher.
A very versatile cooking tool that can cut vegetables very efficiently and evenly. It is especially good at cutting things thinly, like for chips. A good mandoline used well and wisely can make any kitchen more efficient at production.
Lots of different types of measuring cups exist, and they all work fine. Some, like those in the photo, are fancier then others. These are best served to impress people at parties.
There are lots of different types of these, as well. I like the traditional ones the best. Keep it simple.
A large fork for serving meat. It usually accompanies a carving knife in a set stored in a hinged box, lined with velvet, that sits in the china hutch between the collections of blue glassware and fancy porcelain teacups, just waiting for the queen to come to tea so you can get them out and show her how fancy you are.
A heavy blunt instrument operated by hand that is used to "tenderize" meat by breaking down some of the cellular walls and collagen. If you tenderize the meat a lot it will begin to change shape and flatten, as in the case of schnitzel.
This half moon-shaped knife is most often used for chopping herbs. It comes in single-blade or double-blade varieties. Sometimes it also comes with a cutting board with a recess in it to fit the blade.
Is a brand name for a type of grater, zester and rasp used to grate various food items into smaller portions.
It's that thing that almost everyone in the world knows about.
Mortar and Pestle
Usually made from some sort of stone the mortar and pestle are used to crush and grind substances. They work well for whole spices.
A insulated cotton glove that prevents the wearer from being burned for a period of time. They are also made from Kevlar and Nomex. The cotton ones should never be used when wet or even moist.
A thermometer that you keep in the oven. This is a good idea since most ovens, at least cheap ones, are inaccurate.
A short little knife used to pry open oyster shells.
Used in baking to keep things from sticking. Also occasionally used in cooking, to make paper envelopes for steaming with aromatics (en papillote).
A small utility knife used for many things in the kitchen. With this and a chef's knife, one can do almost any task in a kitchen.
Parmesan Cheese Knife
A stubby little short bladed knife with a bulbous handle used to break off little pieces of Parmesan.
Also known as a piping bag this tool is a triangular shaped sack filled with stuff that is extruded from the smaller end through a tip. Lots of things are made using these babies.
Also used for basting things, the pastry brush is used to brush a substance onto an item. Putting egg whites on buns before baking, so that the sesame seeds or poppy seeds will stick, is one use.
A flat wooden paddle used to remove items from hot ovens--usually things made with dough, like bread, pizzas, and buns.
A conical burr grinder that is adjustable and grinds pepper freshly and quickly. This is the preferred pepper in most kitchens.
Usually made with a rotating, wheel-like blade that rolls over the pizza as it cuts. These are also made with large mezzalunas.
Any insulated thing that allows you to hold a hot pot.
The thing that you've been using to mash your potatoes with for your entire life.
The thing that you've been using to mash your potatoes for your entire life.
These things make picking up large roasts much easier.
These can be as simple as a dowel or as complicated as a marble tube. My grandma has one that is basically a jar shaped like a rolling pin that you put cold water in for making pie dough and other pastries where keeping the dough cold is important.
The pan that we roast things in. Usually they have a rack to elevate the items off the bottom a bit.
Generally these are some sort of rubber spatula used to remove all the little bits of something stuck to the inside of a bowl or mixer. Sometimes these little bits add up to be one more pancake or muffin. Which is a good thing.
A type of chef's knife from Japan that has gained popularity in the past few years. It has been one of my favorite knives to use ever since my brother gave me one for my birthday many years ago.
A group of Japanese knives, each with specialized purposes. The tako hiki is used for cutting up octopus. The yanagi ba is also called the willow blade and is used for preparing many sashimi dishes. These are the most common, but there are many more types if you are interested.
A heat-resistant brush used for mopping and saucing hot things.
Often referred to just as a pot, this has high sides and can be used for a variety of tasks, such as sauce making.
A sifter is a type of sieve that separates larger bits into smaller bits as with a flour sifter. A sifter can also help to evenly distribute or dust things, like with powdered sugar on a cake.
Any utensil that can be used for skimming things off the surface of liquids in pots. We called them minnow nets or scoops when I was cutting my teeth.
Soft Cheese Knife
A very narrow and flexible knife with large holes in the middle to prevent the soft cheese from sticking to the blade.
A little cast iron box that generates smoke in propane grills. You put some wood chips in the box and place it over heat.
A type of skimmer from China used for removing items from, among other things, hot oil in woks. They generally have a metallic spiderweb shaped bowl on one end and a bamboo handle.
A knife, often serrated, used to cut steaks. These are often set upon the table as silverware when required.
Several types of steamers exist. Some that resemble double-boilers, some that are made of bamboo, industrial kitchen steamers. . . and many rice cookers can become steamers, too.
Also sometimes called an immersion blender, it makes short work of pureeing soups and sauces while still in the pot.
A large stainless or aluminum pot that is used to make stocks, broths, and soups. A fully stocked kitchen will have multiple sizes.
A specialized serrated knife used especially for slicing tomatoes. Many cooks believe these knives are unnecessary as a sharp chef's knife can do the same thing.
Spring loaded tongs are the easiest to use. The crappy springy metal ones may as well just be thrown away.
A very specialized knife used, among other things, to "tourne" vegetables. This is a classical French technique that has faded out of practice, as it's a bit wasteful. But tourned vegetables sure look good.
A device that sucks all of the air out of a bag. This helps to extend the lifespan of the product.
A stiff bristled brush that is used to clean the skin of vegetables.
Used to remove the skin from many vegetables, including potatoes and carrots.
If you like waffles, you've got to have one of these.
One of the preferred methods of sharpening knives and blades. It can be tricky to master, so it's best to have someone teach you.
Wire whisks are cheap and easy to come by. Treat them well and they will last generations.
A bowl shaped cooking pan. Requires large amounts of heat to work properly, as well as a ring to make the wok mobile.
Many cooks prefer to use a wooden spoon for certain tasks especially when dealing with non-stick cookware. Some states have however made them illegal in commercial kitchens.
A specialized type of grater like a Microplane used to remove the outer rind of citrus fruits.