If you are singing the theme song to this show, then you are probably my age.

This post is not about clumsy French cartoon detectives, but about gadgets.
Just like inspector gadget, cooks need gadgets to make cool things happen in the kitchen and sometimes what appears to be cool, turns out to be useless. Every once in a while I will be featuring a little gadget post where I tell you what tools I find indispensable. Enjoy.


Good Cook Silicone Spoonula Shown Here.

I love to say Spoonula. Made of Silicone, that resists temps of up to 450 degrees ℉, which enables you to use it in hot pans without melting it. This is probably one of the most used tools in my kitchen. The round and slightly concave shape makes it a perfect tool for sauteing or mixing anything in a bowl. I use a non-stick skillet frequently and cannot handle scratches on the surface. Not only does this shorten the life of the pan, but I am not sure I want non-stick coating particles in my food. If you cook in my kitchen and use a metal tool with my non-stick pan, watch out! The groovy thing is that you can buy one for $3 instead of the average price of $14. The more expensive versions have wooden handles, which can be practical if you tend to burn handles. I also highly recommend regular silicone spatulas of all shapes and sizes.


My favorite style. Pointy tip.

Several styles.

Cooks can be very serious about their knives. This is not a knife to be serious about. I was introduced to this, my favorite knife, by a Thai friend years ago. This knife goes against everything that knife purists value, the “tang” does not go all the way to the end, it is very light and it is made of regular stainless steel, no high carbon here. Years ago, my chef professor in culinary school gave it to me as the “grand prize” for doing well in his class. It is not that I wasn’t grateful, but I already owned 4 and they cost about $2-$4 a piece. If you have a Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese community nearby, you can find these knives. Or you can click here to order online and pay a little more. I love my KIWI knives because they are super easy to wield and sharpen and if one happens to fall to the ground, I will not cry because of a severed toe or because I broke the tip off a $100 knife. They also stay sharp for a long time. I cannot guarantee that these knives are not being made by children in dark caves, but I do know that Thai people can cook and you will find  KIWI knives in every Thai kitchen, not to mention most Asian kitchens around the world, with the possible exception of Japan. Regarding the “easy sharpening part” without further ado, I introduce the…


Chef’s Choice 480

I am frugal. I have tried many affordable sharpeners over the years and I am sticking with this one. I scoured the web for the one I own, which I purchased at Target for about $8, but I can’t seem to find it. The closest item is the one shown in the photo at $9.99+, which is not terrible. If you happen to be at Target, look for the $8 version. I am hard pressed to believe it is not the same item. I use this sharpener all the time with my KIWI knives and with my higher end knives as well. There is nothing worse in a kitchen than a dull knife and a dull host.


By |2018-10-03T16:38:12-04:00May 20th, 2010|


  1. Carrie Gray May 20, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Three things: #1: Microplane Zester: excellent for creating fluffy clouds of shredded cheese. #2: Five pairs of tongs (tonight I ran out because I use them so often for so many things). #3: An olive oil mister (from Williams Sonoma) great for spraying your favorite olive oil on broiling pans, meat, bread, tomatoes, potatoes, etc.

  2. Christin May 20, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    These are great tips Claudia! I need a knife sharpener and will look for the one you suggest…

  3. realfoodies May 20, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Yes, Carrie, I too, love the MIcroplane. Was going to blog about it today! I use it for citrus a lot too. I love the tongs as well. I used my Misto yesterday, but don’t remember to use it as often as I should. I cheat sometimes and use the spray olive oil from TJ’S. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Nathalie May 20, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    I really, really enjoy your posts. I particularly love your tip on the knives. I actually have been researching knives and lately have been working the nerve to bid on some high priced Japanese chef knives on EBAY. Thanks for saving me some dough. I am going to check out the Kiwi knives.

  5. shannon May 20, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    You can get the “spoonula” in a 3 size set at BBB for under $15 AND they come in beeeeUtiful colors! I have a lovely sky blue and a Fire Engine Red set, and who doesn’t love anything that has to do with firemen?? 🙂

  6. shan May 20, 2010 at 10:16 PM

    My favorite gadget, if you can call it that, is the foldable/ bendable cutting mats. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you can use them alone or on top of your regular cutting board. They are great for when cutting raw fish or meat, and if chopping something fine or extra juicy you just lift and fold a bit to make your own “funnel”

  7. Kelly O May 21, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    I am going to buy some KIWI knives. I am rockin the Wustoffs right now and they are getting old…

    I love my teensy glass bowls from BBB or Sur La Table. I have two sizes. One is about 2 tablespoons big and the other probably 4.

    I measure out all my dry goods into them and get all prepped to bake or cook. It’s great when you have someone helping you in the kitchen. They measure everything out and you just grab and go. Plus you feel quite fancy with all your teensy bowls lined up…like you’re on TV. 🙂

  8. Ana May 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Spoonula,spoonula.. Yep. I love saying it and using it.

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