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10 Easy Pieces: Editors’ Favorite Hand-Operated Kitchen Tools

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10 Easy Pieces: Editors’ Favorite Hand-Operated Kitchen Tools

November 14, 2018

There’s a class of kitchen gadgets that are so souped-up, overcomplicated, and employ an excess of tech, that they leave you wondering if you’re really cooking at all. Then there’s the old-fashioned, hand-crank-able tools that can get a whole group involved, if you like, and by the time you’re through, you can be certain you’ve really made the ice cream, apple pie, pasta, bread, butter, or mayonnaise yourself. Here, in our editors’ picks edition, are our personal favorite hand-operated kitchen tools.

Margot likes the food mill, and swears by her mother&#8
Above: Margot likes the food mill, and swears by her mother’s old Foley Food Mill (“metal with a red wood handle, for making applesauce”). This one, the All-Clad Food Mill, comes with three sieves—fine, medium, and course. With a turn of the crank, the inner blade pushes food through leaving fiber, skins, and seeds behind; $129 at Williams-Sonoma.
&#8
Above: “My flour sifter looks exactly like my mother’s did without a few decades’ worth of dents (I’m sure mine will develop similar battle scars over time),” says Michelle. “No kitchen tool I use reminds me more of the epic Christmas cooking baking sessions of my childhood.” Her pick is the classic Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Hand-Crank Flour and Sugar Sifter; $9.95 at Amazon.
My own favorite family cooking activity from my childhood was making fresh pasta. When my brother and I were young, we had rare moments of total teamwork as one of us would feed the dough through the top while the other cranked the lever. The maker we had then was the Atlas 0 Aluminum Pasta Maker. It&#8
Above: My own favorite family cooking activity from my childhood was making fresh pasta. When my brother and I were young, we had rare moments of total teamwork as one of us would feed the dough through the top while the other cranked the lever. The maker we had then was the Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker. It’s $79.95 at Crate & Barrel.
Julie&#8
Above: Julie’s latest discovery in the world of crank-by-hand kitchen tools is the new Churncraft Butter Churn made with cast metal, stainless steel shafts, precision gears, bronze bushings, and a wood handle; $240. For more see Churncraft: The Classic Butter Churn Updated. Another option is the Paderno Butter Maker ($149.95 at Williams-Sonoma).
A few of us on the Remodelista team are among the anti-microwave set. But we still like popcorn, and we aren&#8
Above: A few of us on the Remodelista team are among the anti-microwave set. But we still like popcorn, and we aren’t about to buy one of those plastic popcorn machines. The Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker has old-fashioned appeal, and if you get good at working it, makes kettle corn too; $29.95 at Williams-Sonoma.
Another pick from Julie, the stainless steel Rotary Cheese Grater that, in addition to cheese, can be used for grating chocolate or nuts; $ at the MoMA Design Store.
Above: Another pick from Julie, the stainless steel Rotary Cheese Grater that, in addition to cheese, can be used for grating chocolate or nuts; $25 at the MoMA Design Store.
From Fan: &#8
Above: From Fan: “When I worked at Martha Stewart Living, there was one year when everyone was given a citrus press for the holidays. I tossed mine aside on my desk for a few weeks, then finally brought it home, where it remained in my drawers for a year or two. I had no need for one. But then I added a recipe to my rotation that required lemons, and I plucked it out and, lo and behold, it worked like a charm. I had no idea that using one would be so satisfying—and yield so much more juice than squeezing the fruit with my own hands.” For something small like Fan’s own press, there’s the aluminum Lemon Squeezer for $27.50, or for the citrus obsessed, the Matte Silver Citrus Press (pictured), is $192, both from Shed.
Annie&#8
Above: Annie’s pick: “This Amish Hand Mixer reminds me of my grandmother, and making apple pie crust the old-fashioned way.” It’s legitimately from the Pennsylvania Amish and is made from stainless steel and zinc die-cast, with plastic handles; €105 at Manufactum. You can also find one from the Ohio Amish, the Old-Fashioned Traditional Egg Beater, for $74.95 at Garret Wade, or source a similar vintage one from Etsy.
Annie also likes the Westmark Stainless Steel Herb Mill for the quick and effective mincing action of a handful of herbs with just a few twists of the handle; $.64 at Amazon. (Photograph from Father Rabbit in New Zealand, which typically stocks the mill, but is currently sold out.)
Above: Annie also likes the Westmark Stainless Steel Herb Mill for the quick and effective mincing action of a handful of herbs with just a few twists of the handle; $17.64 at Amazon. (Photograph from Father Rabbit in New Zealand, which typically stocks the mill, but is currently sold out.)
The German Jupiter Mincer made with stainless steel casting is designed for mincing meat or prepping raw fruit and vegetables. Since it&#8
Above: The German Jupiter Mincer made with stainless steel casting is designed for mincing meat or prepping raw fruit and vegetables. Since it’s German, this one also comes with an attachment for Spritzgebäck, a German style of shortbread biscuit; €170 at Manufactum.
Another tool from my own childhood, the White Mountain Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker, the exact one our parents used to keep us kids occupied on weekend cabin trips with family friends. The hours it takes for the ice cream to form ensures that everyone gets a turn, and it helped make us appreciate dessert on another level. You can find it for $loading=
Above: Another tool from my own childhood, the White Mountain Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker, the exact one our parents used to keep us kids occupied on weekend cabin trips with family friends. The hours it takes for the ice cream to form ensures that everyone gets a turn, and it helped make us appreciate dessert on another level. You can find it for $128.87 at Amazon.
My good friend is a pro at making her own mayonnaise. She uses a slender jar and an immersion blender, but try as I might, the oil and egg never really emulsify like hers does. For those of us less skilled, the Paderno World Cuisine Fresh Mayonnaise Maker ensures professional quality mayo; $loading=
Above: My good friend is a pro at making her own mayonnaise. She uses a slender jar and an immersion blender, but try as I might, the oil and egg never really emulsify like hers does. For those of us less skilled, the Paderno World Cuisine Fresh Mayonnaise Maker ensures professional quality mayo; $122.29 at Amazon.
For coffee aficionados, the only way to grind fresh coffee beans is by hand. A manual, as opposed to electric, grinder works without raising the temperature of the coffee bean, and thus, preserving oils and flavors. The Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder is the manual grinder that a few of us on the Remodelista team swear by; $57.50 at Williams-Sonoma.
Above: For coffee aficionados, the only way to grind fresh coffee beans is by hand. A manual, as opposed to electric, grinder works without raising the temperature of the coffee bean, and thus, preserving oils and flavors. The Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder is the manual grinder that a few of us on the Remodelista team swear by; $57.50 at Williams-Sonoma.
For something similar to the Finnish-made meat grinder in our lead photo (from The Theater Crowd: Bar & Co. in Helsinki), the Weston Manual Tinned Meat Grinder is made with adjustable burrs and heavy duty nylon auger bearings; $.83 at Amazon.
Above: For something similar to the Finnish-made meat grinder in our lead photo (from The Theater Crowd: Bar & Co. in Helsinki), the Weston Manual Tinned Meat Grinder is made with adjustable burrs and heavy duty nylon auger bearings; $27.83 at Amazon.
From Justine: &#8
Above: From Justine: “I love pie, but when it comes to this Thanksgiving dessert, I’m like Goldilocks: Not too sweet, not too tart, just right. Therefore I always make all the pies for Thanksgiving. This peeler really cuts down on the time it takes to make the two apple pies required to feed my large extended family.” The classic Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Apple Peeling Machine is $19.99 at Amazon.
After recently spending time in Italy, I rediscovered my love for truly exceptional tomato sauce, and subsequently the tomato press, an Italian household staple. The Reber Storcator Rosii Manual Inox Nr. 5, shown here, is available through Enorom in Italy. There&#8
Above: After recently spending time in Italy, I rediscovered my love for truly exceptional tomato sauce, and subsequently the tomato press, an Italian household staple. The Reber Storcator Rosii Manual Inox Nr. 5, shown here, is available through Enorom in Italy. There’s also the bright red Italian Tomato Press from Williams-Sonoma for $39.95 or the Tre Spade Manual Tomato Press for €73 at Manufactum.

For more of our favorite kitchen tools, see our posts:

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