Questions on selecting, maintaining, and using cooking tools and equipment.

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102
votes
7answers
16k views

Is it possible to cook a whole fish in a dishwasher?

I heard that there is a way to cook a whole fish in a dishwasher - any techniques, tips??
76
votes
10answers
7k views

What knives are “required” for a serious home kitchen?

I consider myself a serious home cook. What knives are essential?
42
votes
6answers
10k views

How do you clean a cast iron skillet?

I have a seasoned cast iron skillet, and I don't want to mess up the seasoning when I'm cleaning it. What do I use and what don't I use to get it back to clean? I've heard not to use soap and to ...
41
votes
9answers
2k views

How should I care for my knives?

I've finally put down the money to buy a quality knife and it's sharpness is amazing! How do I take care of it so that the edge lasts and the knife stays sharp?
35
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do we use so much water to cook spaghetti?

Every time I cook spaghetti in a regular pot, I get the feeling that I could save litres of water if the pot had been created with spaghetti cooking in mind. This is especially true when I only need ...
33
votes
2answers
4k views

What does a healthy cast iron skillet look like?

I've read plenty about how to restore and season cast iron, but I have no clue whether any of the old cast iron I've inherited could benefit from this. Is healthy cast iron black? or should it be ...
32
votes
14answers
5k views

Nonstick cookware or not?

I am looking to replace my >10 year old Calphalon nonstick cookware. I can see the nonstick surface coming off the pans, and am starting to worry about how much of that is getting into our food. I ...
29
votes
6answers
4k views

What should I look for in a good, multi-purpose chef's knife?

If I want to buy a good multi-purpose chef's knife, which characteristics should I look for?
27
votes
9answers
5k views

What is the point of a salt mill?

Salt mills and pepper mills often come in pairs. I understand the purpose of the pepper mill: It breaks open the pepper corn and releases the aroma. But there is, to my knowledge, no such thing as a ...
27
votes
9answers
132k views

Does ceramic non-stick cookware “fail”, and if so, how?

I've heard of pans with ceramic non-stick surfaces; it seems some reports on internet say they may "fail" in about 6 months. How can these pans "fail"? Do ceramic-coated pans require ...
25
votes
12answers
62k views

Slow cooking without a slow cooker

I frequently hear people telling me about how wonderful their slow cookers (AKA "crock pot") are. In many cases they're right - meat that tends to come out tough in normal cooking comes out very ...
25
votes
15answers
12k views

How do you reduce static in a coffee grinder?

Is there a way to reduce/eliminate the static buildup in a burr grinder? I've tried a few different coffee grinders and inevitably on removing the grinds bin, I get a spray of coffee all over the ...
24
votes
8answers
31k views

What can I use for a Crème brûlée if I don't have a blow torch?

I've always wanted to make a Crème brûlée but I don't have a blow torch to burn the top with. Is there anything else I can use to get that nice crunchy caramel on top?
24
votes
11answers
2k views

What is the best way to clean a grater?

A grater is a very useful instrument in the kitchen and it's fun to use. You can use it for a lot of food: cheese, citrus fruit peel, nutmeg, all kinds of vegetables, etc. But cleaning a grater is a ...
24
votes
4answers
52k views

Is it normal to see flames inside my self-cleaning oven?

I spilled some sauce, cheese, and pepperoni in the oven last night while trying to transfer some homemade pizza from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone, so I decided to clean it today. I wiped the ...
24
votes
8answers
8k views

Why not put knives in the dishwasher?

What is it about the dishwasher that harms knives? The only reasons I've found are: You could get cut... I personally have a greater change of getting cut by trying to wash them by hand. The blades ...
23
votes
7answers
19k views

What is the proper way to dispose of a kitchen knife?

How do you throw away a kitchen knife (or for that matter, any knife)? It seems extremely dangerous to just throw it in the dumpster, even if it's wrapped up real well.
23
votes
2answers
21k views

What are the differences between an induction stove and a regular electric stove?

What are the differences between an induction stove and a regular electric stove? They are both electrically powered, and don't look all that different, but the induction cooktops I have seen are a ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Wok preparation and caring

What is a good technique for initially seasoning a wok, keeping it seasoned, and preventing rust?
22
votes
9answers
1k views

Unnecessary kitchen gadgets: a reference [closed]

There are a lot of advertised tools and electronic gadgets for every field; the kitchen is no exception. In my experience, there are a lot of useful tools for specific purposes (a garlic press, for ...
22
votes
7answers
46k views

When baking, is it better to use a gas or electric oven?

I'm looking for an oven and wanted to know if there is any difference between a gas or electric oven when it comes to baking things like cakes, biscuits and scones?
21
votes
5answers
5k views

What are the benefits of using a dedicated rice cooker, rather than just cooking rice in a pot?

For which reasons should I use a dedicated rice cooker, instead of cooking rice in a pot?
21
votes
2answers
4k views

Dishwasher safety - “top shelf” vs. “bottom shelf”

The instruction manual for some of my kitchen equipment says "Dishwasher safe (top shelf)". What difference is there between what an object on the top shelf of a dishwasher experiences, and what ...
20
votes
9answers
25k views

Why is it necessary to preheat an oven?

Just about every recipe advises to preheat the oven before using it. I often forget this, but luckily this doesn't seem to matter all that much. Hence my question: why would it be necessary to preheat ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Cutting boards: What are some general tips on purchasing and using a cutting board?

I have heard various debates on the merits of wood versus synthetic cutting boards, and their affect on food safety, knife edges, and ease of cleaning and storage. What are the pros and cons of the ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How do you properly clean a cutting board and knife to prevent cross contamination?

I have one very nice cutting board that I like to use with my chef's knife. Because I only use this single cutting board and chef's knife, if I have a recipe that calls for cutting raw meat as well ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the purpose of seasoning a skillet?

I've seen a couple questions on how to season a skillet, and this may be a dumb question, but why do you season a skillet? Does it impart flavor onto the food? For how long? (which I guess is one ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

What are the different applications for differently shaped wooden spoons?

A while back I got a set of wooden spoons that contained 5 differently shaped wooden spoons. Take a look at the following photo to see the different shapes. I have mainly been using wooden spoon #1 ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How does thermal shock affect pans made of different materials?

In another question, I had a little comment-discussion with TFD on the effect of shock cooling on pans. In a nutshell, I said that it is bad for the pan, and he said that especially if the pan is made ...
19
votes
7answers
17k views

Can you sharpen a ceramic knife?

Can you sharpen a ceramic knife?
19
votes
13answers
18k views

Induction range vs gas

In the next few months I have a kitchen remodel planned. One item to be replaced is the range/oven. Currently we have a "vintage" electric stove. I am undecided as to whether to choose gas or an ...
19
votes
6answers
9k views

Are any retail vacuum-sealing systems worth the expense?

Living alone means that my leftovers tend to go a pretty long way, and I don't end up using raw ingredients as quickly as the supermarkets expect me to. For a while I've been considering investing in ...
18
votes
8answers
6k views

Is there any way to sous-vide without a machine

I live in an apartment and have limited space to store kitchen gadgets. I don't really like the idea of having a machine that is dedicated to one specific task. I particularly want to get into using ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Removing turmeric colour from mortar and pestle

We have a large granite (I think) mortar and pestle, and while keeping it clean generally doesn't seem too difficult, I have absolutely no idea how to avoid it staining when it's used with turmeric ...
17
votes
11answers
3k views

What types of cooking are pressure cookers most useful for?

We were just clearing out our kitchen and stared at this brand new, unused pressure cooker we got for our wedding over 10 years ago! We've never felt the need to use it before. I know it's supposed ...
17
votes
4answers
766 views

Will using a knife sharpener reduce the lifetime of my knife?

In the long run, is it better to regularly use a knife honer instead of a knife sharpener once in a while to keep the edge sharp?
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the point of a baking rack?

I notice when I bake cookies (usually chocolate chip or peanut butter) the recipe often says "place on baking rack to cool". Because I don't have one, I just place them on a plate after removing them ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Cleaning a Sieve

Is there a better way of cleaning a sieve, other than stabbing at it with a brush, in a manner such as this ? I can't help but think there must be....
17
votes
4answers
11k views

Blowtorch - hardware store vs kitchen store. Is there a difference?

When looking for a blowtorch for the kitchen, you can buy some reasonably expensive tools. When looking for a blowtorch for plumbing, you can buy some reasonably cheap tools. The price is different. ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Do honing steels wear out?

We have a knife set that's approximately 15 years old, and as we were honing a knife tonight, a question arose. Do honing steels get worn down over the years? Should they be replaced? If so, how ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

How many ceramic knives do I want?

I've heard that ceramic knives are the new thing. It's far easier, though, to find metal knives that look and feel nice. So, budget notwithstanding (within reason) and assuming that I have to buy a ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is the dishwasher not recommended for my All-Clad MC2 line of pot and pans?

I just looked on the All-Clad website (faq 7 and faq 13). It says that because the MC2 has a brushed aluminum alloy exterior, it mush be hand washed. Why is the dishwasher bad for it? It's just soap ...
16
votes
13answers
88k views

Is there something better than mineral oil for cutting boards?

I've been using mineral oil to oil my wooden cutting boards ever since I found out this was a good thing to do. I had a couple of bamboo boards up until I bought a really great John Boos carving ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it really necessary to wash a skillet that will be heated up again soon?

I made some eggs in a cast iron skillet yesterday and didn't wash the skillet. Today I want to make eggs again. Is it really necessary for me to wash the skillet before making more eggs? It would ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Can you hone a knife properly by using another knife?

I recall seeing this in movies. Can it be called the poor man's steel?
15
votes
5answers
5k views

How do you clean a pizza stone?

I have a charcoal grill (Big Green Egg) that has a ceramic insert that can be used as a heat shield or as a pizza stone. My stone is black from drippings and smoke. I'd like to cook some pizza on ...
15
votes
7answers
4k views

What to look for in a mandoline?

I've bought two mandolines recently and I've returned the first and will return the second. The first was a stainless steel contraption that: Broke my food instead of slicing it. Was ever so hard to ...
15
votes
5answers
524 views

How can I measure the performance of my stovetop pots and pans?

Am I looking for the ratio of burnt dishes to fine dishes? Well-cooked to not? My general happiness? When should I replace a pot or pan? I am unsure where to begin.
15
votes
3answers
500 views

Timing an oven to start while I am out - but what about preheating?

Many ovens have a timer which allows you to set the start time, so you pop your item in and later in the day it will automatically start cooking it unmanned. But all the oven cooking I can think of ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Can I clean enameled cast iron with steel wool?

I've got a new enameled cast iron skillet that I've been cleaning with stainless steel wool along with a standard dish rag. It occurs to me that scratches in the enamel might eventually cause ...