The Low-Down on Nice to Have
Below is a discussion of all the items listed in Nice to Have. When in doubt, DON'T BUY IT and wait to establish that you really could use it...unless, of course, it's way cool looking.
Nice to Have
- Timer. Either get a simple mechanical timer or you can get nutty with an electric one that has multiple timers. The Polder Dual timer is sweet: simple enough for the beer drinker in me, yet functional enough for the pilot in me. Of course, included in all my sets
- Salad spinner. Zyliss just came out with an award-winning design in their EasySpin model, which you just pull like you're starting a motor. And that can never be wrong. Of course, included in The Basic Bachelor Plus™ and above.
- Flour sifter. Go with any durable stainless one.
- Pepper mill. Fresh cracked peppercorn does make a difference. From the several brands I've used, by a landslide, I recommend William Bounds. Of course, included in the top two sets.
- Zester. Buy a simple one with a plastic handle. Useful to add curls of citrus zest to water, desserts, etc.
- Garlic press. Buying the already minced jar of Gilroy Farms garlic is pretty convenient, but there is nothing like fresh garlic. You can do the labor yourself and crush it with the hilt of your cook's knife or simply use a high quality press like the Zyliss, which is coated.
- Hand reamer/juicer for citrus. Either just a plastic handled one or a lever-operated counter-top.....up to you.
- Mushroom cleaning brush. Like the pastry brushes, stay with all synthetic.
- Microplane Model 40020. Included in every set I carry. For whole spices such as nutmeg; for making fine citrus zest; for grating ginger; or anything you want to turn into very fine bits. Except for your ex......that's illegal.
- Teapot. Get a cool one. Consider handmade ones from any artist/potter or go online to MightyLeaf for some good values.
- Small tea strainer. Use this for making loose-leaf tea or most any small quantity infusion.
- Jacket or apron. Yeah, maybe you think you'll look stupid, but get grease or splatter on you for the first time..... There are plenty of great sources out there, just use any search engine for "chef's jacket" or check out Culinary Classics.