Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

We wish you a merry kitchen...

Great gadgets, terrific tools always appropriate for foodies

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If you have foodies on your Christmas list, a new kitchen gadget or tool is something they would no doubt enjoy unwrapping. For expert gift suggestions, I contacted culinary colleagues across Canada.

I started with Gail Norton, owner of the Cookbook Co. Cooks (cookbookcooks.com), a cooking school/fine food shop/cookware store in Calgary.

"My favourite kitchen tool is my Super Benriner. It is a Japanese mandolin that is so easy to use and clean that I use it practically every time I cook," Norton said. "It's great for making elegant slivered salads, or the perfect slice for a gratin. It is also super sharp, so there is no multi-tasking or even thinking about anything else than concentrating on the task at hand."

Norton said her next favourite implement is a Cuisipro hand-held grater.

"The new non-stick design makes a big difference. It is a wonderful tool for garnishing with a sprinkle of cheese," Norton said.

Jed Grieve, owner of Cook Culture (cookculture.com), a bustling kitchenware shop in downtown Victoria that offers cooking classes, says he's not one for so-called "cutting edge" gadgets, preferring to stick with, as he called them, the old faithfuls.

He provided me a list of proven ones and included instant-read thermometers, Peugeot pepper and salt mills, a pull-through knife sharpener and Danish dough whisk.

It may be a bit big for a stocking, but Grieve said he also likes the new and handy Arti scale by Escali.

Anna Olson, star of the Food Network show Bake with Anna Olson and author of the bestselling book Back to Baking, not surprisingly chose a tool useful to someone who likes to bake.

"Offset spatula: whether it's frosting a cake, lifting cookies off a tray or spreading batter, this tool is like an extension of my hand," Olson said. "I actually bring my own personal offset spatula on set when taping Bake, and I pack it when travelling to do cooking demos."

Olson is also partial to her bar citrus juicer.

"I use a lot of freshly squeezed lemon, lime and orange juice in my baking, and this juicer is a quick and effective way to get every last drop of juice, with little effort and no seeds."

Beyond The Kitchen Door owner Theresa Mooney picked a ceramic paring knife by Mastrad.

"I love the way I can cut super-thin slices of tomato with it. The handle has a non-slip ergonomic grip and folds down to become the blade's guard for safe storage in the drawer."

"The blade will stay slicing-sharp for years -- it's the perfect paring knife."

I like all the suggestions above, but I would also recommend a good pair of kitchen shears. I use them for such things as cutting up poultry, neatly getting the meat out of cooked crab legs, harvesting garden herbs, snipping chives and cutting parchment paper.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 E2

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