Name a simple very useful cookware item you for some reason don't have and thus must improvise every time you need it

This is a riff on the other thread about what useless cookware item do you own.

I don’t have that thing you use to cut the foil wrapping that seals the top of a bottle of wine or olive oil. (Foil cutter? Is that its name?) I struggle with knife points, the tip of the corkscrew, my fingernails. I am 100 percent certain I could buy one very easily and cheaply, and I have no idea why I don’t. I could use one most every day of the week.

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I don’t have a pie server. I don’t eat a lot of pie, but when I do I usually end up using a spoon to scoop up the filling that doesn’t come up when I lift a slice.

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I will play. This actually does not technically qualify your question, but it is damn close. I recently bought a Japanese style fish grill pan


So technically, I do have this cookware now, but as you can see, it is still in its package.

I bought it to specific grill dried fish, not fresh fish. So my usage is very obscure from other people’s point of view. Anyway, I used to grill my dried fish using a pair of tongs.

I have one of those! I use it to grill salted fish. It ends up being faster than heating up the oven broiler.

Although if I had a salamander grill I wouldn’t have need for one of these.

I can’t tell because of the packaging, but how is your Japanese fish grill different from any stove top grill? I use my stove top grill about 3 or 4 times a week, including to make toast for bruschette.

Funnily, I’d already been living in Italy for quite some time before it occurred to me I needed a really good pasta hook. I’ve since bought a couple of wooden ones and has made my every day life soooo much easier.

As for pie servers, most Italian “pies” are crostate, meaning they are very thick, cookie-like crust bottoms with jam toppings, and more crust on top, so no pie server needed.

What is a pasta hook?

My is more like a fish grill basket

You put what ever you want side this grill basket and you heat the basket on top of a heat source and you can flip and turn the basket.

I looked online and see that they are called “pasta rakes” and “pasta forks” and “pasta scoops.”

Mine doesn’t look like this, but most do, in either metal, wood or plastic:

I see now. That would be very useful, even for fresh fish.

Google informs that the useful pasta cooking utensil that I now own is called a mestolo per spaghetti – simply, a spaghetti ladle. It measures portions of spaghetti (linguine, bavette, etc) as well as lifting pasta out of boiling water. I don’t use a colander as much as I used to.

YES! Oven mitts. I don’t know why, but I still fuss with towels. It’s pretty stupid.

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I do too. And agree there is no rationality, especially sincee I frequently set the towels on fire. :anguished:


I stopped bothering with this step, though I do have some of those special cutters around here somewhere. I just use my rabbit-type cork extractor right through the wrapping, and the cork is easily pulled through it. The ragged ends of the seal are now very easy to peel back-- if you even want to…

I have one and never use it, so I guess it should really go in the other thread. I just use a knife to get off the foil and corkscrew away.

Well I am probably deficient in these skills or dexterity or something, since I always spend more time than I like dealing with the foil (on olive oil bottles too). But I have never mastered being able to open a carton of milk either – you know, the waxy cartons you fan open at the top and it says “Press here” – ? If I could find a tool for that I would buy it in a flash. Luckily, where I live now, at least a third of the milk is sold with a fixed plastic spout and a screw-off csp.

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I don’t have a flour sifter. So I use a stainless steel mesh strainer and shake it onto wax paper when I bake something that calls for sifting (every 2 or 3 years.)

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Me three! Also the setting-on-fire-thing. I did that once and it has been enough to make me super-cautious in the decades since. I won’t say I NEVER grab a towel anymore to pull out an oven rack - but it doesn’t happen very often, and I’m super-sensitive to where all its edges are.

Actually I need new potholders as we are currently down to just one pair of oven mitts. Somehow all my potholders seem to have disappeared in the last move. This has caused a resurgence of risky-towel-in-the-oven behavior, I must admit.

Oh well. I still have my step-mother’s handmade dishcloth, as well as several I made. I’ll just have to buckle down and make myself some new potholders as well.

A rolling pin. My lovely marble one has gone on a walkabout (rollabout?). And as we rarely have wine in the house, I have to improvise with other bottles.

I also seem to have lost my bread knife (have resorted to a serrated steak knife, which kind of works).

Edited to add: a cheese knife / slicer. Gotta add all of these to my holiday wish list, I think.

I’ve actually found that even with a regular corkscrew I can usually get away with skipping the step. The cork seems to poke through the foil quite easily.

What, you’re dispensing with a foil cutter? What’s next, no dusting brush on the corkscrew, no saber for Champagne, no decanting cradle, no silver tastevin?



I rarely iron my sheets anymore. The horror.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2