A common question asked of those who like to cook is, "What's your favorite kitchen tool?" And, rather generically, I can't pick just one. There's almost nothing a sharp chef's knife can't do, I use a metal strainer on almost a daily basis (drain pasta, wash fruits and veggies, sift powdered sugar over something sweet), and my kitchen shears do what my chef's knife sometimes can't (and more!). But lately, I think my favorite tool is one that I didn't know I needed until it was sitting on my kitchen counter.
I'd had a kitchen scale on my wish list for ages, and I'd seen a couple different ones recommended by different people, but I never really pushed anyone to get one for me and never bothered to buy one for myself. Then I was reading Molly's book, and she mentions a kitchen scale as a tool you should have in your kitchen because a pound of chocolate is always a pound of chocolate no matter how you cut it up. That did it. And when the boyfriend asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I enthusiastically told him, "kitchen scale!"
I ended up with an OXO Good Grips kitchen scale (the first one he brought home actually didn't work, so we exchanged it for the OXO). I LOVE having this thing around. Cook's Illustrated usually provides weight amounts for their baking recipes, so I'm glad I can be extra accurate now. Pretty much any recipe that lists how many ounces of anything, I can be anal retentively accurate. I LOVE THAT. The other night I was making a pie crust, and I ran out of flour (I know!), so I just added on a bit of cake flour to make up the last few ounces I needed. That would have been much harder to do had I been using measuring cups. Also, have you ever wondered how much that single 30g serving of cereal is? I now know that it sure ain't much, but I am now limiting myself to one serving of cereal in the morning (in a much smaller bowl). I also use it to weigh packages and figure out postage so I can use stamps instead of going to the post office to mail a slightly large envelope.
Alton Brown always talks about buying tools that are multi-taskers, and this scale certainly is. Even if I don't use it every day, it's always helpful when I do use it and I'm SO glad it's there. It's my new favorite kitchen tool. What's yours?