Cooking Equipment

The culinary arts require many tools to assist in the preparation of delectable food products. Whether your question is about equipment, appliances, or utensils, this is the place to ask it.

10,251 Questions

If one is superstitious over which shoulder should one throw salt?

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Traditionally and according to superstitions and folklore, the left shoulder.

How do you sharpen a knife properly?

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No matter how good a knife is and how well you maintain it, in the end you have to sharpen it.

Professional chefs need to sharpen their knives on daily bases. Obviously, home cooking is less demanding.

Contrary to the popular belief, butcher's steel is not a sharpening device, but is designed to realign the deformed edge, which (deformation) is the primary reason of the knife dulling.

Knives hold a straight edge at the molecular and super-molecular level. Unless damaged by abuse, knives will dull when the fine edge becomes bent or rolled back upon itself, although the degree of bend is invisibly small. Stroking the knife's blade (both sides on European blades; Japanese blades are usually one-sided) on a honing steel at an angle of between roughly equal to the actual angle of the blade, will often renew an edge to its original sharpness by straightening the edge.

For chefs' knives, you should hone your knife nearly every time you pick it up -- 20 or so strokes will do. Note that honing an edge on a steel does not remove metal from the blade as does actual sharpening. If you must actually sharpen, the best way is to send the knife to a pro, and pay them to do it right. If you need to sharpen the blade yourself, here's the most detailed procedure I know.

You can of course omit some parts and still get good results. First, determine the angle of the edge of the blade. You can get this information from the manufacturer, or you can try and observe it very carefully. Know that the very edge of the knife is almost never the same angle you see from the back of the blade to the edge -- the edge is typically different. As a last resort, re-grind the edge to a known angle, around 20 degrees, using a grinder -- something better left to a professional.

I like to use 3 whetstones: one course carborundum water stone, a fine water stone, and an Arkansas oil stone. All of these are easily harder than the metal of the knife blade itself. Work from the coarsest stone to the finest. If you can, avoid working much with the coarser stones, as they remove a lot of metal from the knife. Wet the stone and rinse it thoroughly to make sure the pores on the stone aren't already clogged with metal. Place the stone on a damp dishcloth (s it doesn't slide), on a flat surface. Rest the edge of the knife on the stone at the angle of the edge, so that the sharp edge is pointing away from you, and place your fingertips lightly on the flat of the blade, so that you can exert an even, very gentle pressure along the length of the blade (instead of exerting all the pressure from your grip on the haft alone). Slide the knife back towards you (blade pointing away) slowly and evenly, being careful to maintain that exact angle.

Whetting the blade at too large an angle will result in a dull knife; using to fine an angle will result in a knife that starts sharp but dulls very quickly. As you draw back, be careful to follow the curve of the blade (if any) -- you don't want to change the geometry of your knife. Very few knives of any kind have a perfectly straight-edged blade. I like to do about 10 strokes, then turn the knife over and repeat for 10 more strokes on the other side. On the coarse stone, do this until the knife blade is uniformly even and sharp. DO NOT USE THIS TECHNIQUE TO REMOVE NICKS -- you can tear up your whetstones and it's almost impossible to remove enough metal to take out a nick -- that needs to be done by a pro. The coarser the stone is, the more it will leave the edge microscopically uneven. An uneven edge can cut like a micro-serrated edge, but will feel uneven, and will quickly dull as the serrations and uneven spots wear down, and the blade evens out. As soon as you can, shift gears down to a finer stone and repeat the process.

Remember throughout that your goal is to change the knife as little as possible. You want to leave as much metal on the blade as you can, and never change the curve or shape of the blade. The edge you're working towards, when viewed from the front or back of the blade, should be neither concave nor convex relative to the original shape of the knife (except for some oriental blades, which are designed as convex blades on one side, and require a different technique). The Arkansas oilstone uses a fine mineral oil instead of water, and is extremely fine. Use it to finish your blade, and feel free to spend quite a few strokes on this step. At completion, hone the knife on a sharpening steel before finishing. Note that you cannot indefinitely sharpen a knife to regain the edge. Eventually, the thickness of the remaining blade will increase as more and more metal is removed, and sharpening the knife from thick stock down to a fine edge will no longer be possible with this method. At that point, a pro will need to re-grind the blade. As this actually does change the geometry of the blade, you should start thinking about replacing the knife. Note that a professional sharpening and a re-grinding are not at all the same thing. If the knife is good quality steel and new its a case of maintenance, use a high quality knife honing steel, a few strokes every single time before you use the knife and during if doing a lot of cutting, will keep the knife razor sharp.

If the knife is already very dull (shame on you!!!) a carpenters sharpening flat stone is very good at reviving a knifes edge, just be aware that the angle you sharpen a knife at is crucial. Take it to a professional sharpener, then maintain the edge as above. Sharp knives cut people far less than blunt knives, because less pressure is used to cut. Care for your knives and they will last a lifetime.

Notes regarding the Diamond Hone. It looks like a steel but it's not. As diamond is a lot harder than steel, using a diamond hone will remove steel from the blade. Don't use this tool for honing; use it ONLY for actual sharpening.

Can you put cheese in a garbage disposal?

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Coffee Grounds Down Garbage Disposals
  • From what I've read, yes, and no. I hate getting rid of the grounds from my french press, so I've done a bit of online research. If you have a septic tank, the answer is no. Solids of any kind contribute to the build up of sludge in the tank, which means having it work less efficently, and having it cleaned out more often. If you have a sewer connection, as long as your pipes aren't prone to clogging, I can't see any harm if you flush it well with water. But it could get trapped in the bend under the sink too. So it depends on how your pipes are connected.
  • Garbage disposals are the real question mark. I've found two websites that encourage regular grinding of coffee grounds as a way of scouring and freshening up the drain. At least one manufacturer's site says grounds are perfectly fine. On the other hand, some sites put coffee grinds on the same level as corn husks, which I know from direct observation to be a bad idea in the disposal.
  • Why don't you start a compost pile and use the grounds there? I take grounds from anybody I know for the pile. Wish I could get more. Makes it smell good, too.
  • I just add more water to my french press and then swirl and toss out the door or window into the bushes. Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen.
  • Doesn't hurt a thing.
  • I've been putting coffee grounds down the disposal for years with no problems. Only have it pumped out on ten year basis. Two in the house and 1000 gallon septic tank. Why have a disposer if you can't flush all your garbage?
  • It really just depends on your plumbing system. I have a french press and an espresso machine. I find that the best way of getting rid of the french press is simply dump in in the trash if the grounds are only slightly moist. Otherwise compost piles are great and the coffee grounds work great for keeping some animals out of your garden. As far as the espresso machine portafilter is concerned. I found a mini puck dispenser at a specialty coffee supplier that sits on the counter. It looks much like the ones you see in coffee houses with the padded bar in the middle to hit the portafilter on to remove the espresso puck.
  • Garbage disposals are not for flushing your excess food down the sink, it is for disposing of the small bits of food that may not make it down the sink AFTER you have scraped off all you can...
  • Coffee grounds form cement in a garbage disposal (description of repair person). Had to dispose of the disposal. I suspect inadequate water flush contributed to the problem. We were conserving water in the middle of a drought. Not willing to take the chance and do it again tho.
  • DO NOT PUT COFFEE GROUNDS IN YOUR DISPOSAL. A plumber is at my house this very instant cleaning coffee grounds out of my drain. A couple hundred bucks gone because of coffee grounds.

What are some good containers for holding water?

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a beaker or a measuring cup are a few of the simple ways to collect rain water.


How much does a 40 pound propane tank weigh?

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a typical steel "30 pound" liquid propane tank weighs about 25-28 pounds empty.

propane tank markings (on collar)

propane weighs about 4.125 pounds per gallon and a "30 pound tank" will

hold about 7.5 gallons so a full tank will weigh about 55 pounds or so.


What are the disadvantages of a solar cooker?

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The cost of it and places that don't get much sunlight in the winter can't make as much electricity.

From: Coolgirl1869

Solar power is great overall, but some disadvantages are that solar panels, installation, and repairs are VERY expensive. Also, the weather can effect the efficiency of the solar panels. Solar panels can only process energy throughout the day, even though it usually has enough power saved up to run everything all through the night, which is another disadvantage. And pollution levels can also effect the solar panels efficiency.

Is George foreman alive?

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Yes, according to Wikipedia , George Foreman is still alive.

How do you sharpen knives?

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Ski edges can be sharpened (tuned) easily and cheaply using a file and a file guide, which you can purchase from most shops.

The guide makes sure the file is set to a specific angle, as you pull it along the edges of your skis a few times, until you can see that the edges have been sharpened. There's no need to overdo it, as ski edges do slowly wear down with every service. Angles vary between 1 and 3 degrees, but 1 is a good standard for recreational skiiers.

After you have sharpened your edges, you need to dull the edges at the front and back of the ski, a few inches around where the ski profile comes to its widest point. This is done by pulling a diamond stone over a few inches at the front and back once or twice. If the edges aren't 'de-tuned' at these points, your ski will want to turn all the time, instead of just when you apply pressure in a certain direction.

There are other steps you can take, such as polishing your edges, but it isn't greatly noticeable in performance for a recreational skiier.

Shops will use machines that basically do the same thing, but more precisely.

Note: If you do your edges at the wrong angle/ file away too much, you will have a problem! Use a tool for the job or:

If you are still unsure how to do the edges yourself, ask an expert at a ski shop/ ski service shop to show you how.

Why the handles of utensils are made of bakelite?

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Plastic/bakelite is there to insulate the handle so you don't scorch your hand. Which you would do if handle was metal, or you forgot to use a cloth.

Why are saucepans made with a flat bottom?

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The flat bottom does two things for you: makes it easier to transfer heat into the food in the pan, and keeps the pan from falling off the burner.

Is Revereware oven proof?

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Yes, up to 350° maximum. If the handles have been replaced with the Bakelite ones then no.

What are the 5 classification of tools and equipment?

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1. Measuring tools example : ruler

2. Cutting tools example: scissors

3. Drafting tools example: Tailor's square

4. Marking tools example: Tailor's Chalk

5. Sewing tools example: Needles