Vacu Vin pineapple slicer.
Chantal copper fusion cookware
Odor-absorbing splatter screen.
For dedicated foodies, walking into a cooking store is like walking into a candy shop — everything looks so darned good. But sometimes, when that foodie gets home, he realizes what he thought would be a timesaver is actually a time (and space) waster. Here, some new kitchen tools that are downright mouthwatering:
Chantal copper fusion cookware. Sara Moulton, a TV chef and author of Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners (Simon & Schuster), fell in love with this pan after she did 25 crepe-cooking demonstrations on it across the country — without messing up a single one. The combination of copper and steel makes for great heat conductivity, and the enamel coating acts like a non-stick surface, but without the potentially toxic chemical PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). “You have to get used to these pans because they get very hot,” says Moulton, who recommends heating on medium instead of high. “Plus, they're dishwasher-safe and they don't scratch, and they're quite attractive.” ChantalStore.com; $59.99 (8-inch fry pan); $119.99 (10-inch fry pan).
Martha Stewart Collection multi-grater. It's a grater, plastic storage container and measuring cup all in one. The different tops have various degrees of grate (fine, medium, slicing plane), and the markings on the side tell you when you've grated enough. You can even pop on another lid and store it in the fridge. Macys.com; $15.99.
Giant spatula. It's great for bakers, who can use it to lift cake layers or rolled-out pie dough, but it's also a lifesaver for those who are baking-averse, Moulton says. “I use it for savory, not sweet,” she says. “I can pick up a half-pound of meat in cubes with this tool and move it from cutting board to pan.” KingArthurFlour.com, $12.95.
Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker. This tool makes quick work of crushing garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, nuts and the like. “A modern mortar and pestle, this gadget lets you prepare pesto and other dips with just a few amazing shakes,” says Allison Lewis Clapp, food director of Real Simple magazine. “I was absolutely wowed by it.” Target.com; $29.99.
Vacu Vin pineapple slicer. It works like a corkscrew: As you twist it into the fruit, a serrated tube takes out the center core, while a blade on the outside removes the peel and cuts the flesh into a spiral. “This is one of my personal favorites,” Lewis Clapp says. “Many people buy pineapple presliced so they don't have to deal with peeling, coring and slicing, but this device takes care of all of that in just seconds.” Cooking.com; $14.95.
Wellness Mat. If you cook a lot, you know that standing on your feet for hours on end can take a toll on your legs, knees and body. “This mat is like a Zen experience,” Moulton says. “It's so nice on your legs. When people come over and stand by me when I'm cooking on my mat, they say, ‘Whoa, I don't want to leave here!' ” WellnessMat.com; $119.95.
Odor-absorbing splatter screen. “I've always been wary of covering something when sautéing because you don't want to steam it,” Moulton says. “But this has holes that let the steam out.” In addition, it eliminates unwanted smells from ingredients such as fish, thanks to the odor-absorbing carbon fabric that is sandwiched between the screens. ChefCentral.com; $12.99.
The Pampered Chef julienne peeler. Julienning vegetables (cutting them into matchstick-size pieces) was once the domain of trained chefs. But this tool — which looks like nothing more than a vegetable peeler — lets you do the same. “It's great for salads and stir-fries,” Lewis Clapp says. “You wind up with mounds of beautiful, thin-cut veggies in seconds.” PamperedChef.com; $9.50.
NATALIE ERMANN RUSSELL last wrote in the magazine about prefab housing's new look.