Cooking Tools

Cooking School Basics

In my search for information to teach my children about cooking, I located a book originally printed in 1896 called The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer, now reprinted by Dover Publications. It is interesting to note that the original book was updated and revised through 1990, the thirteenth edition!  Fannie Farmer wrote the original edition teaching the reader cooking methods and techniques and sharing over 1200 recipes.  (Is Martha Stewart our modern Fannie Farmer?).  I will be sharing some of Fannie’s insight with you through the year.  Remember she wrote in 1896!

Fannie Farmer’s list of equipment, with my description in parentheses:
Steel fork
Mixing spoon
Cake spoon (slotted spoon)
Small wooden spoon
Case knife (similar to today’s dinner knife)
Vegetable knife (paring knife)
Double boiler
Potato ricer
Wire whisk in small granite saucepan
Dover egg-beater (do you remember the beater that you turned the handle manually?)

In cooking with my Little Chefs we find some of these useful, while others we do not use. Here is our list of the common tools we use. The list for common equipment can be found here.

Colander Used to drain pasta or vegetables that are in water.
Cutting Board Used to cut food upon.
Flexible spatula Used to move mixtures from a mixing bowl to a baking dish.
Graduated measuring spoons Used to measure small portions.
Graduated dry measuring cups Used to measure dry and semi-solid ingredients.
Kitchen Timer Used to time cooking lengths.
Liquid measuring cup Used to measure liquids.
Microplane For obtaining zest from citrus
Oven Mitt To protect hands when handling hot pans.
Parchment Paper To line cookie sheets for easy clean up.
Pizza wheel Used to cut pizza, quesadillas or french toast. Great knife substitute for kids.
Potato masher Used to mash potatoes.
Rolling pin Used to flatten dough.
Slotted spatula Used to flip foods or remove food from a cookie sheet.
Spider For removing hot foods from a liquid.
Tongs For gripping and lifting.
Whisk To combine dry ingredients, beat eggs, incorporate air or make a vinaigrette.
Wooden spoon For mixing and stirring during cooking and baking. Clean by hand.

Yes we do use other cooking tools once in a while, but these are the common tools we use almost every time we cook. Do you commonly use any tool not listed?


  • Print this file containing the chart above.
  • Find and label all of these tools in your kitchen.
  • Cut out the squares and play a matching game with a friend. Flip all the squares over and line them up. Take turns flipping two squares over trying to match the tool with the purpose. When you get a match remove the match from the game and continue until there are no matches left.

Cooking tools game


I am a mom to Five Little Chefs who love to cook and create anything with their hands. Watching over 10 additional hands keeps me busy but is so much fun! We laugh and cry everyday, but then want to do it again the next day. That is how we know we are enjoying life!

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