My best friend in the kitchen

My favorite cooking aid (no, I don’t mean aide, as if I had an assistant in my kitchen!) is a hand-wound kitchen timer. I could hardly do anything without it.

My tiny kitchen can only be reached by going from my studio proper through the garage. I have to turn a couple of corners. And it’s just big enough for me to stand in.

This means that if I’m going to avoid overcooking something, I have to stand there right next to the stove (two-burner hot plate, actually) watching it. There’s not really enough room for me to even read a book. Boooring; we all know what the watched pot never does. And as soon as I walk away, of course, that’s when the broccoli becomes mush or the tortillas in the toaster oven turn to charcoal. More likely, it’s because I go back into the studio and get distracted doing something else until it’s too late.

The timer solved everything. I start something cooking, pick up the timer and set it, then carry it with me back to the studio where I can check my phone messages, fold a bit of laundry or something. Five minutes later or whatever the timer dings and I go get my perfectly steamed broccoli.

By the way, I love that it’s the low tech kind that you just twist a dial to start, not a digital one that you have to choose which buttons to push. Twisting a dial is such a no-brainer.

What is your favorite cooking implement, aid, or reference?