A kitchen utensil is a small hand held tool used for food preparation.
Common kitchen tasks include cutting food items to size, heating food
on an open fire or on a stove, baking, grinding, mixing, blending, and
measuring; different utensils are made for each task. A general
purpose utensil such as a chef's knife may be used for a variety of
foods; other kitchen utensils are highly specialized and may be used
only in connection with preparation of a particular type of food, such
as an egg separator or an apple corer. Some specialized utensils are
used when an operation is to be repeated many times, or when the cook
has limited dexterity or mobility. The number of utensils in a
household kitchen varies with time and the style of cooking.
A cooking utensil is a utensil for cooking. Utensils may be
categorized by use with terms derived from the word "ware":
kitchenware, wares for the kitchen; ovenware and bakeware, kitchen
utensils that are for use inside ovens and for baking; cookware,
merchandise used for cooking; and so forth.
A partially overlapping category of tools is that of eating utensils,
which are tools used for eating (c.f. the more general category of
tableware). Some utensils are both kitchen utensils and eating
1.3 Stainless steel
2 Diversity and utility
2.1 Before the 19th century 2.2 19th century growth 2.3 "Labour-saving" utensils generating more labour
3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links
An exhibit of
Israeli Defence Forces
In the European Union, the construction of kitchen utensils made of
aluminium is determined by two European standards: EN 601 (Aluminium
and aluminium alloys — Castings — Chemical composition of castings
for use in contact with foodstuffs) and EN 602 (
Biodegradable plastic utensils made from bioplastic
Plastics can be readily formed by molding into a variety of shapes useful for kitchen utensils. Transparent plastic measuring cups allow ingredient levels to be easily visible, and are lighter and less fragile than glass measuring cups. Plastic handles added to utensils improve comfort and grip. While many plastics deform or decompose if heated, a few silicone products can be used in boiling water or in an oven for food preparation. Non-stick plastic coatings can be applied to frying pans; newer coatings avoid the issues with decomposition of plastics under strong heating. Glass Heat-resistant glass utensils can be used for baking or other cooking. Glass does not conduct heat as well as metal, and has the drawback of breaking easily if dropped. Transparent glass measuring cups allow ready measurement of liquid and dry ingredients. Diversity and utility
Various kitchen utensils. At top: a spice rack with jars of mint, caraway, thyme, and sage. Lower: hanging from hooks; a small pan, a meat fork, an icing spatula, a whole spoon, a slotted spoon, and a perforated spatula.
Before the 19th century
"Of the culinary utensils of the ancients", wrote Mrs Beeton, "our
knowledge is very limited; but as the art of living, in every
civilized country, is pretty much the same, the instruments for
cooking must, in a great degree, bear a striking resemblance to one
Archaeologists and historians have studied the kitchen utensils used
in centuries past. For example: In the Middle Eastern villages and
towns of the middle first millennium AD, historical and archaeological
sources record that Jewish households generally had stone measuring
cups, a meyḥam (a wide-necked vessel for heating water), a kederah
(an unlidded pot-bellied cooking pot), a ilpas (a lidded
stewpot/casserole pot type of vessel used for stewing and steaming),
yorah and kumkum (pots for heating water), two types of teganon
(frying pan) for deep and shallow frying, an iskutla (a glass serving
platter), a tamḥui (ceramic serving bowl), a keara (a bowl for
bread), a kiton (a canteen of cold water used to dilute wine), and a
lagin (a wine decanter).
Ownership and types of kitchen utensils varied from household to
household. Records survive of inventories of kitchen utensils from
The up-to-date kitchen fireproof ware in 1894
The 19th century, particularly in the United States, saw an explosion in the number of kitchen utensils available on the market, with many labour-saving devices being invented and patented throughout the century. Maria Parloa's Cook Book and Marketing Guide listed a minimum of 139 kitchen utensils without which a contemporary kitchen would not be considered properly furnished. Parloa wrote that "the homemaker will find [that] there is continually something new to be bought". A growth in the range of kitchen utensils available can be traced through the growth in the range of utensils recommended to the aspiring householder in cookbooks as the century progressed. Earlier in the century, in 1828, Frances Byerley Parkes (Parkes 1828) had recommended a smaller array of utensils. By 1858, Elizabeth H. Putnam, in Mrs Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant, wrote with the assumption that her readers would have the "usual quantity of utensils", to which she added a list of necessary items:
Mrs Beeton, in her Book of Household Management, wrote:
The following list, supplied by Messrs Richard & John Slack, 336, Strand, will show the articles required for the kitchen of a family in the middle class of life, although it does not contain all the things that may be deemed necessary for some families, and may contain more than are required for others. As Messrs Slack themselves, however, publish a useful illustrated catalogue, which may be had at their establishment gratis, and which it will be found advantageous to consult by those about to furnish, it supersedes the necessity of our enlarging that which we give:
1 Tea-kettle 6s. 6d. 1 Colander 1s. 6d. 1 Flour-box 1s. 0d.
1 Toasting-fork 1s. 0d. 3 Block-tin saucepans
3 Flat-irons 3s. 6d.
1 Bread-grater 1s. 0d.
5s. 9d. 2 Frying-pans 4s. 0d.
1 Pair of Brass
Candlesticks 3s. 6d. 1 Ditto and Steamer
1 Mustard-pot 1s. 0d.
6s. 6d. 1 Salt-cellar 8d.
1 Bottle-jack 9s. 9d. 1 Large Boiling-pot
1 Pepper-box 6d.
6 Spoons 1s. 6d.
10s. 0d. 1 Pair of Bellows 2s. 0d.
1 Candle-box 1s. 4d. 1 Dripping-pan and
1 Plate-basket 5s. 6d.
6 Knives & Forks 5s. 3d. Stand 6s. 6d. 1 Cheese-toaster 1s. 10d.
2 Sets of Skewers 1s. 0s. 1 Dustpan 1s. 0d. 1 Coal-shovel 2s. 6d.
1 Meat-chopper 1s. 9d. 1 Fish and Egg-slice
1 Wood Meat-screen
1 Cinder-sifter 1s. 3d.
1 Coffee-pot 2s. 3d. 2 Fish-kettles 10s. 0d.
The Set £8 11s. 1d.
— Isabella Mary Beeton, The Book of Household Management
Parloa, in her 1880 cookbook, took two pages to list all of the essential kitchen utensils for a well-furnished kitchen, a list running to 93 distinct sorts of item. The 1882 edition ran to 20 pages illustrating and describing the various utensils for a well-furnished kitchen. Sarah Tyson Rorer's 1886 Philadelphia Cook Book (Rorer 1886) listed more than 200 kitchen utensils that a well-furnished kitchen should have. "Labour-saving" utensils generating more labour However, many of these utensils were expensive and not affordable by the majority of householders. Some people considered them unnecessary, too. James Frank Breazeale decried the explosion in patented "labour-saving" devices for the modern kitchen—promoted in exhibitions and advertised in "Household Guides" at the start of the 20th century—, saying that "the best way for the housewife to peel a potato, for example, is in the old-fashioned way, with a knife, and not with a patented potato peeler". Breazeale advocated simplicity over dishwashing machines "that would have done credit to a moderate sized hotel", and noted that the most useful kitchen utensils were "the simple little inexpensive conveniences that work themselves into every day use", giving examples, of utensils that were simple and cheap but indispensable once obtained and used, of a stiff brush for cleaning saucepans, a sink strainer to prevent drains from clogging, and an ordinary wooden spoon. The "labour-saving" devices didn't necessarily save labour, either. While the advent of mass-produced standardized measuring instruments permitted even householders with little to no cooking skills to follow recipes and end up with the desired result and the advent of many utensils enabled "modern" cooking, on a stove or range rather than at floor level with a hearth, they also operated to raise expectations of what families would eat. So while food was easier to prepare and to cook, ordinary householders at the same time were expected to prepare and to cook more complex and harder-to-prepare meals on a regular basis. The labour-saving effect of the tools was cancelled out by the increased labour required for what came to be expected as the culinary norm in the average household. See also
Food portal Technology portal
Chef's knife Cookware and bakeware Kitchen knife List of eating utensils List of food preparation utensils List of Japanese cooking utensils Measuring cup Measuring spoon
^ "Kitchen utensils". GBS. ^ Thompson 1969, p. 232–239. ^ Parloa 1908, p. xxvi. ^ a b Vargel 2004, p. 579. ^ van Rensselaer, Rose & Canon 1919, p. 233–234. ^ Thompson 1969, p. 232–233. ^ a b van Rensselaer, Rose & Canon 1919, p. 235–236. ^ Thompson 1969, p. 236–239. ^ a b van Rensselaer, Rose & Canon 1919, p. 234–235. ^ van Rensselaer, Rose & Canon 1919, p. 236. ^ Breazeale 1918, p. 36–37. ^ van Rensselaer, Rose & Canon 1919, p. 232–233. ^ Beeton 1861, p. 28. ^ Schwartz 2006, p. 439–441. ^ Carlin & Rosenthal 1998, pp. 42–32. ^ Kreidberg 1975, pp. 164. ^ a b Volo & Volo 2007, p. 245. ^ Williams 2006, p. 67–69. ^ a b Williams 2006, p. 68. ^ Beeton 1861, p. 31. ^ Quinzio 2009, p. 133. ^ Breazeale 1918, p. 36. ^ Williams 2006, p. 53.
Beeton, Isabella Mary (1861). The Book of Household Management.
Wordworth Reference Series (republished by Wordsworth Editions, 2006
ed.). London: Samuel Orchart Beeton.
Breazeale, James Frank (1918). Economy in the Kitchen. Cooking in
America (republished by Applewood Books, 2007 ed.). New York: Frye
Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1-4290-1024-5.
Carlin, Martha; Rosenthal, Joel Thomas (1998). Food and eating in
medieval Europe. Continuum International Publishing Group.
Kreidberg, Marjorie (1975). Food on the frontier:
Brooks, Phillips V. (2004). Kitchen Utensils: names, origins, and definitions through the ages. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-6619-3. Matranga, Victoria K. (1996). America at Home: A Celebration of Twentieth-Century Housewares, International Housewares Association, ISBN 978-0-9655487-0-0 Schuler, Stanley; Schuler, Elizabeth Meriwether (1975). "kitchen utensils". The householders' encyclopedia. Galahad Books. ISBN 978-0-88365-301-2. Byrne, David; Wheeler, Mike (1995). Kitchen Utensils. Science in the kitchen. Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-12457-8. Studley, Vance (1981). The Woodworker's Book of Wooden Kitchen Utensils. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 978-0-442-24726-3. Shrock, Joel (2004). The Gilded Age. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-32204-4. Klippensteen, Kate (2006). Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen. Kodansha International. ISBN 978-4-7700-3016-0. McGee, Harold (2004). "Cooking Methods and Utensil Materials". On Food and Cooking: The Science and lore of the Kitchen. Simon and Schuster. pp. 787–791. ISBN 978-0-684-80001-1. Hancock, Ralph (2006). "metal utensils". In Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom. The Oxford companion to food. Oxford Companions Series (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280681-9. Lifshey, Earl (1973). The Housewares Story: a history of the American housewares industry. Chicago: National Housewares Manufacturers Association. pp. 125–195. Parkes, Frances Byerley (1828). Domestic Duties ; or, Instructions to Young Married Ladies on the Management of their Household, and the Regulations of their conduct in the various Relations and Duties of Married Life. New York: JJ Harper. Putnam, Elizabeth H. (1858). Mrs Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant. New York: Sheldon & Co. Rorer, Sarah Tyson (1886). Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual of Home Economies. Philadelphia: Arnold and Company. Wilcox, Estelle Woods (1877). Buckeye Cookery & Practical Housekeeping: Tried and Approved, Compiled from Original Recipes (reprinted by Applewood Books, 2002 ed.). Minneapolis: Buckeye Publishing Company. pp. 364–365. ISBN 978-1-55709-515-2. Ettlinger, Steve (2001). The Kitchenware Book. Barnes & Noble Books. ISBN 978-0-7607-2332-6. Campbell, Susan (1980). The Cook's Companion. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-28790-8.
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