In every cook’s kitchen, there is a treasured tool: a workhorse utensil, go-to gadget, or a family heirloom with its own background story and the lofty standing of being a cook’s most-prized possession.
These beloved items say as much about the cook as their style of cooking. They tell stories about a cook’s past and about the moments that led them to where they are today. For some, it might be a spoon inherited from a grandmother’s silver set, which they use to taste every sauce. Or it could be a spaetzle maker picked up during a stage in Germany that’s been used during every job since. Whether it’s a colander, cake stand, or a grandfather’s iron skillet, every chef has a piece in their arsenal that gives a glimpse into their cooking history, their philosophy, and their technique.
In the enlightening kitchen compilation A Colander, Cake Stand, and My Grandfather’s Iron Skillet, author Erin Byers Murray collects stories from 37 top chefs about their favorite kitchen utensil. The stories, told in the chef’s own words, include the tale of how they came to acquire it, the details that it so essential, and insight into why―and when―they rely on it. Along with each story, the chef provides a recipe utilizing the particular tool or something similar, so that home cooks can try their hand at a professional chef’s approach.
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