Displaying items by tag: Compliments to the Chef, Paula and John Reardon
Hello my Foodie Friends!
The holiday season is quickly approaching. We still do not know what the holidays will look like this year. (Will we all be in quarantine again? Will it be safe to celebrate with a small group? Will we be eating a big meal on Zoom?). One thing we do know for sure is that more of us will be cooking at home than usual. No matter what is going on, some people will still want to play it safe at home. Getting the right culinary tools to help you with your upcoming delights is important in the planning and preparation of your favorite dishes. Listed below are a small group of “must haves” for your kitchen as you prepare for your holiday cooking. It’s that time of year!!
Rimmed Baking Sheet: A rimmed baking sheet has got to be the most used, versatile and essential item in the home kitchen over the holidays. If you have the space, having at least two half-sheet pans (18-by-13 inches) on hand for baking cookies or roasting vegetables.
Quality Cutting Board: Lots of people underestimate the importance of a good cutting board, but a good one will change your life. It needs to be big enough that you can get the job done correctly and it needs to be made of a material that won’t dull your knives
Silicone Cooking Liners: Greasing cookie sheets becomes a thing of the past once you get your hands on Silpat Silicone cooking liner. The liners prevent you from having to grease pans and cleanup is a breeze. Simply hand-wash and roll the mat up when you’re done baking.
Mandoline slicer : The single best investment in my kitchen over the past years has been a mandoline slicer. Essentially, it’s an adjustable slicer for fruits and veggies, and it makes preparing salads a breeze. All the intricate slicing you normally have to do for good salads and prepping veggies is so much easier with a mandolin.
Kitchen Scale: If you really want to get into baking high-quality breads or desserts, a kitchen scale is a must-buy. Often stated, “cooking is an art and baking is a science”. Science depends on math, and good math starts with accurate measurements. Digital scales can assist with weighing ounces, pounds, fluid ounces, grams, and milliliters.
Meat Thermometer: Variance in degrees can separate a good steak from a perfect one. A meat thermometer will be one of the most-used tools in your drawers. Everyone should have an instant read thermometer in their kitchen, as it gives you better control over everything from chicken thighs to caramels. So named because it gives a temperature reading very quickly, an instant-read thermometer is an essential food safety and sanitation tool.
Chef Knife: Most well equipped kitchens have a handful of knives for different purposes. But if you are just getting started, a good chef’s knife is where you want to begin. For almost every job, a good chef’s knife will nearly always do the trick. They are great for chopping veggies, slicing meat and managing most common jobs.
Also, have your knives sharpened so you do not end up hacking away at your roast. Remember, we have knife sharpening services at Compliments to the Chef.
These are just a small list of what can help you this season. Getting ready for the holidays doesn’t have to be a struggle! Let us help you prepare for this holiday season. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Stay safe and well!
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
The stress of the holiday season is often compounded by the task of finding that special gift for that someone who has “everything.” What to get that someone can become a daunting task. Consider the gift of knife sharpening. It is a gift worth giving. Many individuals do not realize how dull their knives have become, and over compensate when using them. Even the finest knives will dull with regular use, but periodic sharpening will restore the blade's keen edge. A dull knife requires greater force, tears at food, tires the hand and increases the odds of cutting yourself badly, usually requiring stitches. Dull knives cause infinitely worse and more frequent injuries than sharp ones for a few reasons. They require more pressure to use, which can make them prone to slipping. And if they do, they hit with that much more force, and result in a more ragged, much harder to heal injury than one a sharp knife would make.
Yes, it's possible to sharpen and hone your knives at home, and it's something everyone should do to preserve the integrity of your blades (and, again, stay safe.) If you have your knives sharpened by a professional once or twice a year, you can maintain them without too much hassle. So, let me set your knife edge to factory sharp so you can concentrate on other holiday matters. It's OK to be kind to yourself sometimes. You can tell when your knife is dull, but a good rule of thumb is to try to slice through a tomato or a piece of paper. If the blade goes through anything but easily, it's time to sharpen or have them sharpened.
Once you get your knives professionally sharpened, it is important to keep them sharp. I will go into brands when you stop in and share a cup of Joe with me on some cold winter’s day. The best advice I can give is that a good knife is the one that best fits your hand and is a sharp! You could own the most expensive knife in the world but if it’s dull it’s not as good as a sharp $10 knife.
Even a good knife will lose some of its sharpness with time. However, sharpening a knife is easy if you have the right tool and know how to use it. Great tools help yield great results. The use of steel or a hand sharpener can help make your knives last a lifetime.
Here are some options on how to keep your knives sharp once they are sharpened by a Pro (Me):
HONING STEEL TYPES
Generally three different materials are being used for Honing steels:
• Chromium-plated Honing steel: Sharpening steels with a chromium-plated, grooved surface deliver a good re-sharpening result and are relatively immune to damages (my favorite).
• Ceramics: Sharpening steels with a ceramics blade sharpen gently and carefully. However, the ceramics blade is sensitive to shock. A fall can easily damage it.
• Diamond: Honing steels with a diamond coating of the blade deliver a particularly fine re-sharpening result. The average life span is shorter, though, because the coating tends to wear off with time.
HOW TO HONE KNIVES WITH A STEEL:
• Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at an angleof approximately 20 degrees and 15 degrees for Asian style knives.
• Pull the knife down and across the steel, describing a slight arc.
• Repeat action on back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade.
• Repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade.
It is important to maintain the angle of 20 or 15 degrees and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife. The speed of the movement is not important. Use finesse not brute force!
WITH A TWO STAGE HAND SHARPENER:
• Place your sharpener on a flat surface. Hold the sharpener with one hand and the knife handle with the other. Insert knife blade fully into the slot.
• Apply moderate downward pressure (remember finesse) on the blade while pulling the knife toward you through the appropriate notch.
• Repeat this action, always pulling from heel to tip (never back and forth) through the carbide or the ceramic notch.
The first stage carbide (coarse) sharpens dull edges. The second stage ceramic (fine) provides a polished, razor sharp edge. A reasonably sharp knife may only require light honing.
Not sure what to give this holiday season for the person who has everything? Give the gift of professionally sharpened knives. It is a gift worth giving. We have a great assortment of knives to get a Foodie started using their skills. At Compliments to the Chef; Your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Pl., we professionally sharpen knives. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
This is my fun time of year and has been since my childhood. Mom would be baking Italian cookies and pastries daily during the month of December. The cookies would get eaten so fast that they didn’t have much time to cool. There were five cookie monsters running around the Reardon household and three in Paula’s house. Cooking and baking smells were a daily occurrence and the excitement kept building up for the day the man in the white beard stopped by to get his cookies and leave something for the sweet, angelic little Reardon kids!
Everyone knows that baking is part of the holiday season. Italian cookies are a wonderful gift for family and friends. There are many types of Italian cookies made by people worldwide. Secret family recipes that have been around for over 50 years are usually delivered nationwide to hand out. Holly Wreaths were always my favorite Italian cookie to make with my mother. Our family really values certain traditions derived from our Italian culture and heritage. Both Paula and my grandparents came over from Italy! However, as I have been reminded by my wife, my family came from Sicily and that’s not Italy (?!). Is that true? Anyway, we try to hand down our Italian heritage to our children. Although we do not speak the language, we do try to cook some of the dishes we have learned over the years. We absolutely adore Italian cookies and remember our childhood memories of watching our mothers and grandmothers bake holiday cookies. The kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma as tray after tray of cookies came out of the oven.
Enjoy your family baking traditions. It is always important to include personal traditions that everyone can love. Creating simple traditions makes holiday memories priceless. You can almost guarantee that your family will continue the tradition for generations to come. Stop in to 33 Railroad Place and say Buon Natale to the Reardon Family! We also have all types of cookie cutters shapes for your delicious sugar cookie creations.
Happy Holiday Traditions! Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
This year will be unique for many households in how to allow each of our little ones to take part in the festivities that surround Halloween. Throughout my neighborhood, many of the homes have decorated their yards with amazing creativity. It’s safe to say that these folks have been planning their Halloween decorations for some time now. These elaborate haunted house displays are quite breathtaking in their scale and really do bring happiness to all of us during a time when treating may be different for our trick-or-treaters.
Looking back (many years) at Halloween memories, the Reardon household was the same when we were children as it is now — except back then there were only a few days a year that we were allowed to have candy and bad snacks. My mother’s kitchen always had bowls of different kinds of fruits and vegetables depending on the season. There was never any candy, potato chips or bad snacks. If we wanted something sweet, it would be an apple or orange or tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. Candy and snacks had not taken over America yet. When Halloween night arrived, my siblings and I would be almost too excited to eat our dinner before we went trick or treating.
To get us to eat, my mother would try to do something creative with what we were having for dinner. On Halloween evening after eating dinner, the four of us would be off with orders to stay together “or else.” I was told that — since I was the oldest — it was my job to keep a count on my brothers and sisters or I would lose my candy. When we got home we would brag about how much candy we had. The next two weeks were spent dipping into our stash of candy.
As you plan how to approach this Halloween, fill up your trick-or-treaters with something that will keep them warm during the chilly Halloween evening this year. Have fun with being innovative with simple recipes while creating your own Halloween memories with stories that can be told for years. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store to assist with your “scary” treats. Remember my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
Home cooking is on the rise nationwide, whether people are naturals in the kitchen or not. We’re getting creative, too, adapting recipes, and trying our hand at new skills. From the family that is now spending more time eating together to the novice cook learning to prepare more complicated meals, it’s a time of experimentation in the kitchen that isn’t without its risks. The kitchen might be a more dangerous place than you think. With a variety of sharp items like knives, blades, slicers, or chopper and heating tools that you have to use to prepare a meal, there is a risk of being injured anytime. Based on current statistics, cuts, punctures, slips, abrasions, and burns are among the most common injuries that you may suffer in the kitchen when your hands are not protected. What should you do to prevent these happening?
Making the best cut-resistant gloves always available in your kitchen is the best way to protect yourself and your family from sustaining injuries when doing the cooking.
Cut-resistant gloves protect the wearer from lacerations and some punctures caused by handling sharp items, such as metal and glass. Knit gloves are made of materials that protect against a range of cut risks, from handling light cardboard to appliance assembly. Leather cut-resistant gloves have a liner or cut-resistant stitching to protect workers’ hands. Keep in mind – cut-resistant gloves are not cut proof however will save your hand from lacerations. Wear cut-resistant gloves when you’re using knives—particularly for more intricate knife work or when cutting something awkward like a knobby piece of ginger—or when cleaning food out of the blade of your food processor. I personally wear a cutting glove every time I use my mandoline slicer and my Microplane grater and sometimes when I’m feeling cautious using a knife.
We carry various brands of cut resistant gloves. One of our favorites is the Microplane cut-resistant glove. No more shredded knuckles when you grate or zest. This knit mesh glove is made of a unique synthetic fiber that resists cuts to protect your hands, and it’s made of a seamless, wire-free knit material that resists cuts. The glove fits either hand and one size fits most.
Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store for those cool tools for cooks. Remember to be safe when “making the cut.” Stay safe and healthy. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
Many of us are spending more time in the kitchen practicing or creating our favorite recipes. There is a tool that is very essential in the kitchen especially when using the oven – the oven mitt and gloves. Baking activities can prove to be quite strenuous and you will often find that you need to engage in the use of baking mittens or gloves in order to make your favorite cake or your favorite pizza. There are a number of reasons why wearing such gloves is so essential.
The most important is to keep your hands protected from the heat of the oven.
The baking gloves are those that protect you from the heat of the oven. Unless you wear these gloves at the time of taking out and inserting baking trays, you are more than likely to scorch your hands, which can prove to be most unpleasant. Oven mitts and gloves give your hands the grip needed for holding baking trays and other pans that you are using to cook with. The baking gloves give you a firm grip which would not have been the case had you been holding the item with your bare hands. You need to be holding backing trays and various pans in a certain way so as to be able to get these in and out of the oven in a certain manner. Thus, if you keep these points in mind, you will understand the vitality of wearing oven gloves when engaging in activities of any sort for both the oven and the stove top. Keeping our hands safe while cooking is important; no one likes to get burned.
In conducting a bit of research, we believe the history of the oven mitt may have begun like this: “The oven mitt was invented in 1884 by a man named Francis Mitts. He owned a small bakery in Jersey City, where every day seamen and dockers would drop in to get their fill of Frank’s freshly made breads and coffee. Frank’s daughters were helping out in the kitchen and were working in direct contact with the ovens. In order to keep his young daughters’ hands from getting singed, he designed heavily insulated mittens, which evolved over time into what we know today as the oven mitts.”
Actually, mittens have been in use for over 1,000 years for a wide range of purposes – including those of protecting your hands from hot ovens. Today, however, technological advancement has allowed an incredible amount of heat resistance to be built into each mitt. We use oven mitts for many different occasions whether it be based around a special occasion, or when you are in the mood for cooking up something amazing like a birthday cake, or for a poolside BBQ, friends gathering or simply an evening with your family(my brothers and sisters and I used to use them for indoor baseball with a beach ball when it rained). For all of these moments, the oven mitt is there to help you get the job done taking care of the heat while you are busy preparing your incredible creation. The traditional oven mitt has outer layers that are typically made of cotton, while the inner layer is filled with an insulator-type material. However, over time it starts to fall apart, lose its shape, become singed and stained from all the wear. So why not get a brand new mitt or two to help your creative juices flow next time you are ready to cook up a storm?
At Compliments to Chef, we offer a really cool cooking glove by Kitchen Grips Inc. This innovative line of kitchen gloves and hand safety products are made of a unique material called FLXaPrene™. This material is not only heat and stain-resistant but is also very flexible and comfortable to use. This patented product is available in different styles and colors not only for the home but also for commercial use. This is also the material used in scuba diving suits. Kitchen Grips® has created a safer oven mitt with increased insulation and grip that is comfortable on the hands and offers a cook more control with a non-slip grip and greater flexibility. The mitts feature a uniquely designed, raised nub pattern that adds insulation, protecting the hands from hot & cold temperatures (500 degrees F/260 degrees C to -134 degrees F/ -92 degrees C). The FLXaPrene material makes the mitt both water repellent and stain resistant so they will stay looking good and perform well for many years. The oven mitts are machine washable or can be washed with hot water and mild detergent and air-dried or can even be washed on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Sure, oven mitts can come in many fun and unique shapes. Long gone are the days when the top priority was matching the kitchen towels; the best mitts available today combine stay-cool comfort, fantastic dexterity, and a no-nonsense grip and made of the high-performance materials The most important thing when selecting the best oven mitt for you is to protect your hands from the heat when moving product from the oven to the table. Be sure to select the oven mitt that fits your hands and protects you. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store and put up your mitts and don’t get burned! Remember Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
During this unprecedented time of social distancing, so many foodies are challenging their skills in baking. While cakes, cookies, noodles and pastas are all proving popular, bread has emerged as the baking project of choice. Time is a necessary ingredient for bread, and the extra time at home has prompted bakers to attempt things they may not have before – such as bread. The joy of baking lies in producing something tangible amid a pandemic in which so many things, from socializing to school, have shifted online. So many foodies are finding pleasure in learning a new skill, especially something tangible, as opposed to all the things we do virtually. There is a beauty and satisfaction to transforming flour into a beautiful loaf of bread coming out of the oven. Bread is playing that role for many people these days. There are people baking for the first time, there are people baking with their families and sharing a common loaf, the same way we share a common culture. There is one food that definitely unites most of the civilizations of the world: bread. Prepared in a thousand different forms for thousands of years, in very different and distant parts of the world, it is a staple of the human diet across many cultures. Bread is integral to the Italian diet, in fact it has become an essential part of Italian life and is eaten with almost every meal, whether it’s a chunk of bread to mop up pasta sauce or served with an antipasto before dinner. When making bread, transform a delicious homemade loaf of bread into a unique work of art by using a bread lame to score your bread.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “SCORE” A LOAF OF BREAD?
Did you know that bread scoring was born many, many years ago when villages only had access to a community oven? Families would “score” or slash their bread so that they could identify their loaves at the end of the communal bake. Nowadays, we use bread scoring to transform ordinary loaves into a unique work of art by scoring our own creative designs.
From baguettes to boules, there are common cuts for every type of bread. The bread lame is used to score or slash bread right before it hits the oven. The reason for this is simple: The openings control the direction the dough expands during baking. They’re like little chimneys, allowing steam to escape and the bread to take shape. The goal here is to encourage the loaf to expand upward—a cut down the middle does just that. Score once, lengthwise, and then make evenly-spaced diagonal slashes on one side of the loaf, starting at the end furthest from you, until you reach the bottom.
At Compliments to the Chef, we carry Mrs. Anderson’s Artisan Bread Lame. This bread lame is specially designed for professional and artisan home bakers to easily score dough to control expansion of each loaf as it bakes. Scoring marks also create a pattern in the dough for homemade loaves of bread with an artisan beauty and professional finish. Made from 18/8 stainless steel and Romanian Beechwood, this specialty bread baking tool is strong and durable to outlast thousands of uses. The bread lame includes the Bread Lame Tool plus 15 double-edge dough scoring blades. Blades can be rotated to different corners to maximize their uses. It’s super easy to use.
Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Culinary store located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs. We carry cool tools to assist you with your culinary creations. Your family may be keeping score as to how many loaves of bread you make!! I love warm bread with butter..mmmm….Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
Autumn is here and the cooler weather often triggers our desire for pasta. There is something about eating carbohydrates, creamy sauces, and earthy autumnal vegetables that makes the autumn season ideal for pasta consumption. No matter what they contain, fall pasta dishes must be warm, they must be hearty, and, above all, they must be deeply satisfying. My love for pasta stems from growing up in an Italian-American household where pasta was always a staple in many of the meals we had. I often times reflect on the joys of growing up with an Italian family such as: when your friends came over they were asked no fewer than six times if they wanted something to eat; Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin played in the background while everything was being cooked; leftovers were stored in Polly O ricotta containers; and, yes, we were all guilty of talking with our hands. One of my favorites is remembering when I was little, mine, and my four other siblings favorite way to help was making home made pasta with Nonni (my grandmother). After we washed our hands we were allowed to help if we were quiet and didn’t fight with each other. Very hard! The luckiest kid got to guide the pasta as Nonni rolled the pasta through the machine. Stirring her secret pasta sauce with the wooden spoon was a close second. I am certain you can visualize what the kitchen smelled and looked like during this process. Once the pasta was made, the dish created and all were seated, it was always a struggle getting Nonni to actually join the table and eat. I’ve tried to carry on these traditions with my own children.
Making homemade pasta is a fun event to get the entire family involved with. One important tool to have when making homemade pasta is a Pasta machine. A pasta machine is used to create laminated pasta. They typically consist of two stainless-steel rollers with adjustable settings, which knead and stretch the pasta dough. Pasta machines are often sold with an additional removable cutter that creates pasta shapes such as spaghetti and linguini. There are also many different attachments available, from different-shaped cutters to attachable motors.
Consider pasta as a meal that brings you together as a family from start to finish. We’ve learned from our older generations and teach our younger generations. No matter what you’re looking for, pasta and noodles have become entwined with culture, history, and more importantly in our lives and families. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs. We carry all types of tools to assist you with making your pasta: Pasta machines, pasta drying racks, ravioli stamps and forms, pasta rollers, pastry cutters, pasta pots, and so much more. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Make those magical culinary moments happen.
John & Paula
HOMEMADE PASTA RECIPE
Yield: approximately one pound
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 large eggs
1. Combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Gently begin to mix the eggs, gradually drawing in flour with each stroke. Eventually a stiff dough will form.
2. Knead the pasta dough for 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry and won’t stick together, add a 1/2 teaspoon of water. If it is too sticky, sprinkle in a bit more flour. Keep in mind this dough will be much stiffer than traditional bread dough. However, the longer you work it, the smoother and more pliable it will become. We are looking for a smooth, satiny consistency, which will develop the longer you knead.
3. Cover the well-kneaded dough tightly with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for around 45 minutes. (This resting phase is super important, as it gives the dough time to relax. Otherwise, you’ll fight it the whole time you are rolling it out.)
4. After the resting period, divide the dough into four portions and roll into a small, flat circle. Now comes the cool part!
HOW TO USE A PASTA MACHINE
• Rolling the dough is a process– you need to make several passes, throughout each thickness setting for the best results. Start with the biggest setting (usually 5 or 6), run it through once or twice there, then gradually adjust the settings to be thinner and thinner until you have the perfect sheet of golden pasta.
• Between each pass, fold the strip into thirds. This helps square up the edges and keeps things even. Then simply roll it through the cutting side of the machine to slice into spaghetti or fettuccine. From here, you can either cook your pasta right away (3-4 minutes in boiling water) or dry it for later.
Hello my Foodie Friends!
September still has the warmer days. However, the nights are beginning to get chilly. As we settle into the routine of children back to school and balancing our work and family lives, what to make for dinner can be a daily dilemma. Soup was a meal that my mother made often to serve our household of seven people (five being young children). Coming in from school in the afternoons or a day of play outside with our neighborhood kids, I could taste the soup through the aroma. A soup that is dear to my heart that evokes Italian childhood memories of my mother’s cooking is Pastina Chicken Soup. She would make her own homemade chicken broth and tiny little pasta shaped form of stars known as "pastina." Chicken broth is a staple in most Italian households. You can rest assured that there will be a few quarts in the freezer at all times. You need a really good homemade broth to make pastina, vegetable soups, risottos, sauces, and chicken dishes pop with flavor.
There was one essential item that my mother had to have to assist her with the process of making her broth, the soup sock.
You can fill these cotton mesh bags with your favorite herbs and ingredients for flavoring stocks and soups. The finely woven material holds delicate herbs or expands to accommodate everything from bones to chopped vegetables. When cooking is complete, simply remove the bag – no need for straining! They are made of strong, 100% fine cotton mesh. The soup sock comes in a large size to accommodate all sorts of flavoring ingredients, from bones and whole vegetables to herb leaves. They will not impart odors or flavors into soups or stocks. The best part is that they help with a mess-free cooking – no need for straining. The packets of soups socks come in sets of three and they are made in the USA.
Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your neighborhood kitchen and cutlery store, and pull up your socks at 33 Railroad Place and say Sock it to me! We carry cool tools for cooks. Find the items you need to assist with making your favorite soup.
Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen”
John & Paula
Hello my Foodie Friends!
This past week both my wife and I celebrated our birthdays (having a birthday one day apart from each other was one of the many reasons I married her!). Recently I found a birthday card that my mother gave me for one of my milestone birthdays. I lost my mother in 1999. However, I think about her every day. Back to school time brings back memories of my childhood and the chaos of getting five children to do their homework, eat dinner, brush their teeth and get to bed every school night. I often reminisce about the work my mother had in raising three boys and two girls. In many of my articles I have talked about growing up in an Italian family. I was reminded by one of my customers that Italians are a matriarchal nationality. It’s the women who carry on the traditions and hand out the majority of discipline, wisdom and nurturing to the children. As a child, every room in the house where I grew up included constant teaching and training by my mother. The bedroom task was making your bed, dusting furniture, sweeping the floor or vacuuming the rugs and organizing your clothes. The bathroom was to be kept clean at all times and the living room was “keep your feet off the couch!” The kitchen was the most intense training, washing and drying dishes to cleaning and setting the table. When we all sat at the kitchen table, our family discussions were learning times. We shared everything from how our day went to how to pass the potatoes. We learned manners, how to hold a fork and at the beginning of the meal watching how much Mom did to prepare the meals and us for dinner. One of my mother’s favorite cooking tools, and is my wife’s favorite, is the wooden spoon. My mother used a wooden spoon for all of her daily cooking tasks. She would let us “taste” her sauce using a wooden spoon. There were wooden spoons for frying the meatballs, stirring the sauce and one that would sit at the kitchen table while we ate.
At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we have Tools for Cooks. Stop by and shop our line of Beechwood wooden spoons and instantly take your culinary, dining, and entertaining experience to the next level. The wooden spoon was a primary cooking utensil used by Julia Child and other great chefs around the world. Each of our beechwood spoons are made in France where they are lovingly handcrafted to standards of unsurpassed quality. For centuries wooden spoons and wooden cooking utensils have been preferred by chefs for their numerous advantages. Unlike metal or plastic, a wooden spoon can be left in the pot without the risk of melting, burning your hand, or ruining a temperature-sensitive dish. A wooden kitchen utensil will not change the taste of acidic foods the way metal will. Wooden spoons are versatile. Simply wash your kitchen utensil with warm soapy water and allow to air dry. Restore your wood utensils to their satiny finish by treating them with a little mineral oil or beeswax compound.
As we all are working through our hectic schedules, remember that family time is the most important time. Eat together as a family, share stories, talk about your day, listen to each other, enjoy good food, and remember to compliment the chef. Bring your family together for at least an hour a day. Meal time is family time. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula