Kitchen scales are very handy to have around the kitchen, and you can use them for everything from measuring out small amounts of coffee for a french press to weighing out large quantities of flour when you’re planning to do some bread baking. As long as yours is accurate – and you can always double check the accuracy by measuring something with a known weight – just about any kitchen scale will do until you have to measure something big. Most kitchen scales measure only small quantities. They may be sensitive enough to detect a few tenths of an ounce, but they top out at a few pounds, which can be frustrating for bakers and cooks who work in larger quantities. The OXO Good Grips 22-lb Food Scale is a kitchen scale that has double or triple the range of the average kitchen scale and can handle bigger cooking projects easily.
Cook’s Illustrated recently (March/April 2013) gave this scale a try and found it to be accurate and easy to use at a wide range of test weights. It is sensitive enough to measure 1 gram or 1/8-oz weights in addition to the heavier things. The OXO scale is easy to read, with a large backlit display. The display on the scale also pulls out, which makes it easier to see underneath large bowls, platters or anything else that might stick out over the display of an ordinary scale and make it difficult to read. It also measures volume in cups and mL for water-based ingredients, as well as giving dry measures in grams/kilograms and ounces/pounds. The scale has a very low profile, so it is easy to store, but it does have a larger footprint when it is in use than many small scales have. However, if you know you’ll be doing some heavy measuring with big baking, cooking or canning jobs, a scale that is slightly larger but a lot stronger is probably the perfect tool.
You can eat around the core of an apple if you’re having on for a snack, but when you are baking with apples, you will find that you almost always need to remove the core before you start to cook. There are many different ways to remove a core. For instance, you can chop up the apple and slice out the seeds and core with a knife, or you can use a melon baller to scoop it out. It is often quicker and easier to use a tool made for the job, like an actual apple corer.
These gadgets slide right down into the center of the apple and pull out the whole core in one fell swoop, but anyone who has used one know that some models work better than others. I had a slippery one that I put up with for years, even though my hand would slid right off the handle when it got apple juice on it. I replaced it with an OXO Good Grips Corer, which has a non-slip handle and small serrations along the cutting edge to grip the apple while cutting. This model also happens to be Cook’s Illustrated top choice (in a 2007 test) for a corer for its strong performance and very comfortable grip, and the CI stamp of approval is always something that I take into consideration when looking at new gadgets to add to my kitchen collection.
Pie servers are triangular spatulas that are supposed to make it easy to lift a slice of pie easily from a pie plate by offering more support than simply trying to balance a heavy slice of pie on the blade of a thin knife. Most pie servers are made of metal and are fairly stiff, but when it comes to pie servers, stiffness is not necessarily a good thing. A very stiff server can be difficult to wedge underneath a slice of pie and can easily crack a delicate crust, making your beautiful pie look less than presentable when you are plating it. This Oxo Flexible Nylon Pie Server is a great example of a server that is sturdy and flexible. A flexible pie server that has a some give to it will slide down the side of your pie plate and bend to fit smoothly underneath that slice without cracking the crust, and the OXO version is strong enough to lift any slice easily
The sides of this particular server are serrated and can help you cut through a bit of crust if necessary, but you’re far better off going with a knife for cutting and then using this server as just a server (which is true of most pie servers). If you do need to cut through something with this server, serrations are better for cutting through a stubborn graham cracker crust than a real pastry crust.