I Couldn’t Do Without . . .

by Daisy

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This gigantic plastic bowl.

This cheap, mass-produced plastic bowl is one of the most useful things in my entire kitchen.

It’s lightweight, somewhat flexible so I can squeeze it into one side of my divided sink, easy to clean, and LARGE.  I use it every time I put up fruit or vegetables, and I can toss it around the garden for gathering produce.

I know it is probably not the safest thing in the world because it’s plastic, but I don’t store or serve from it, and its usefulness outweighs those concerns.  I have other big, but heavy bowls, and they just don’t get used as much.

What simple item do you have in your kitchen that you would hunt down for days if it went missing?


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Cinnamon Vogue July 10, 2013 at 7:39 am

For years I have had this square ceramic bowl which is 5 x 5 x 3 inches high, which I use to heat up rice in the microwave. Rice seems to warm up evenly in this bowl. If I put the rice on a plate and microwave it, some parts get warmed while other parts remain cold and dry. I think the high walls make the difference.

This bowl is used for everything else too, like soft boiled eggs, red lentil soup, Singapore Laksa, to mix marinades, small salads and so many things. It’s also great to eat out of. I try to fit each meal into this size bowl and no more. Great way to keep potion size consistent and not eat too much. Now if I can find a similar bowl at Williams Sonoma I will replace it, but until then this cheap $1 store ceramic bowl will have to do. It works.

Deborah July 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

my favorite paring knife

Dana July 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I don’t know if this counts as simple, but my stick blender. I use this on a daily basis almost, to make baby food, puree soups, potatoes, etc. I love this thing!

Patty July 11, 2013 at 6:16 am

My 3-qt pot. I use it for rice, pasta, small batches of soup, tea, and lentils. After its washed, I put it back on the stove because I know I’ll be using it the next day.

KimH July 11, 2013 at 6:42 am

I couldnt do without my food processor.. I use it almost daily to shred, slice, or finely chop a zillion veggies.
I also have a plastic tub I keep in my sink that I cant do without.. It doubles as a large bowl when it doesnt have dishwater in it. 😉

Amanda Q. July 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

I live with my sister and her kids. We had this cheap little bowl that came from the $1 bin at Tar-jay. It was handy because it was very deep, not too wide, had a nice handle that was easy to grip and a nifty little pour spout that didn’t leave any dribbles down the side. And we were all heart broken when someone accidentally left it over the vent for the oven and it melted 🙁 We actually even used it for a little while after that incident, but popcorn kept falling out of the hole and making a mess. I bought while I was in college and it lasted a good 4 years or more. we have since “replaced” it with a couple more, but they just don’t stand up…

robin July 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

Really old, very large Tupperware bowl. It has the same uses and purposes as your plastic bowl. In fact, today it is gong to gather raspberries from the orchard.

Taylor-Made Ranch July 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I have the coveted huge plastic bowl like you describe, so I understand your attraction to it – I love mine too! But if there was only one thing in my kitchen that I’d search for days if it went missing – it would be my wooden spatula. It’s perfectly seasoned and I use it. A LOT. I have other wooden spatulas but this one is my go-to for making yogurt or chocolate pies, sauteing veggies or almost anything else.

~Taylor-Made Ranch~
Wolfe City, Texas

Gina July 13, 2013 at 3:33 am

My kids love apples but rarely will they eat them whole and I have an apple chopper-thing that divides an apple into 8 slices. It was brought as a gift for me when we knew the kids were en route to us. At the time I thought it was a pants gift but now I know its’ true time-saving value. I buy them as new mummy presents!

Ellen Peavey July 13, 2013 at 5:35 am

My sharp tomato knife, got to have it.

Kristine July 13, 2013 at 6:06 am

I have several tools I wouldn’t do without for long but one that people often don’t think of and I highly recommend is an old fiberglass cafeteria tray. If you see one at a thrift store or yard sale, grab that puppy! I’m sure I haven’t even discovered all it’s uses yet. Cutting up a juicy piece of meat? Put the cutting board on the tray and those juices are captured as they run off the board. Cutting up watermelon? Use the tray. Picking through dry beans? Tray. Carrying beverages or foods to the yard? Tray. Laying out sandwich fixins? Tray. Filling jars with dried foods? Tray to capture the bits that miss. Filling zip-style or vacuum seal bags with liquid ingredients for the freezer? Tray – for carrying and initial freezing. Canning and want to keep from dripping water off jars and tools until it runs across the counter? Trays. (I have more than one) Messy and big jobs constantly have me grabbing one of those large, sturdy, shallow lipped trays. I keep a couple standing right with my cutting boards.

judith July 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

A sharp knife. But I love my juicer quiet a bit too.

Jayne July 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

OH, Kristine! Now I have ‘tray envy’. I can see all the practical things to be done with it. I will definitely keep my eyes opened and hope I spy a couple soon! I also have a plastic/slightly flexible bowl envy, thank you very much for this post (LOL) I have wrangled stainless steel into my sink bowls….and the racket is terrible. Let the thrift store search begin: flex-plastic bowls, old cafeteria trays. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

Sharon July 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

My “go to” bowl is a 1 quart stainless steel one that belonged to my grandmother. It is just the right size. Round and deep, perfect for whisking eggs, whipped cream, salad dressing, etc. Also my favorite to make fresh tomato salad in, tuna salad, egg salad. I would be very sad if anything happened to it. My second best is a wooden spoon. I have a whole crock of them on the counter…….but I reach for the same one over and over again, for almost everything.

Lisa July 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

I have to have my mother’s pastry cutter! It is very old, with a peeling red and white painted handle (I roll the handle around in my palm a few times before every use to get the chips off!), but it is so well made. The blades are thicker than the cheap-o new versions. I use her old pie crust recipe too, which has helped pies win many year’s worth of prizes at fairs!
Something the family has come to depend on is our Mr. Coffee electric iced tea maker! In the summer we make at least two batches a day in it. When you drink a lot of iced tea doing it the traditional way just won’t work! The best part is when it’s done brewing, it’s cold enough to drink right away.

Mayo Earnest July 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

I have all the standard kitchen stuff, but the one thing I’d hate to be without is my old-fashioned glass citrus reamer. Around the pointy reamer thingy in the middle is a little rim with a few gaps in it. This little dike with the occasional breach holds back the seeds while I pour out the juice. I like it because I can really bear down vertically to get the juice out of the fruit, which is easier on my old wrists.

Olivia July 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I have cleaned my kitchen of all sorts of appliances and junk that I thought I would use….and didn’t.
My favorite is my cast iron cookware, one piece was my grandmother’s, several were my mom’s and I have a couple of pieces I’ve used for over 40 years.
Also, have a set of metal mixing bowels…..can’t destroy them.
Also, my spatulas, I have several and they are wonderful for getting the last of the food from a bowl.
My favorite appliance is my dehydrator.

I like to keep it simple

Melissa July 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

My oversized cutting board. We have very little counter space, and a large single sink. This cutting board fits perfectly in the recessed lip of the sink and still leaves room for me to run water. I not only increase my work surface, I can also shift it about 1/4 inch and anything liquid-y I’m working with runs straight into the sink without being so angled the food rolls away, plus I can just scrape the scraps right into the sink. Pressing tofu, cutting juicy fruits and veggies, peeling, shucking corn, canning, you name it.

Barbara July 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

It’s amazing the little BIG things that one can be so thankful for! You might laugh, but the most useful thing I had for years in my kitchen was a white plastic rectangular container that meat came in from the grocery store! Anyone else would have certainly pitched it, I am sure, but I kept it. I used it over and over again whenever I cooked or baked to put in butter wrappers, eggshells, dirty utensils, eggs to keep them from rolling around, measuring cups and spoons, etc. – anything to keep my counter clean and organized. When ready to clean up, all I had to do was pitch the throwables and put the rest in the sink to wash up. I also used it when picking green beans or berries. It was so handy! But why do I say “was”? Well, my dear husband had taken out the vegetable peelings in it one day last summer to throw into the garden, and it never came back. I haven’t seen it since. Who knows where it ended up! I still miss that plain old plastic meat container, but now use a couple of smaller ones in its place.

Janae July 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

My pampered chef rubber spatula! I love then! They last forever and they are so handy! Couldn’t live without it!

Lee July 13, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Kristine, your tray can also be used for sledding in winter!

Hmm, other than my knives, I have to say I use the heck out of my vegetable peeler; it’s one of the handy Y-shaped ones from Ikea. And on the more self-indulgent side, I love love love my SodaStream.

jana wilson July 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

Plastic colanders! When I’m in “full production” mode, I have 5 colanders and 3 large plastic bowls in constant rotation. On normal days, I’m using 2 or 3 and washing the others. They make great blackberry picking accessories too…you can get a good grip, thanks to the slits/holes, they’re lightweight, and you can use them as leverage to push those thorny branches out of the way when you’re reaching in for a plump, black berry!

Gerry Hooks September 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

We used the school trays when in college for sledding back in the 60’s.

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