Included In Your Kit
KEY: GOOD ★★★ FAIR ★★ POOR ★
1. OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated September 2011
Best Buy - Recommended
We compared cutting performance, durability, and user-friendliness. We diced onions, chopped chipotle chiles, minced herbs, and hacked up chicken thighs. Each board ran through high-heat commercial dishwashers 40 to 75 times and suffered a fall from the counter after testing.
DIMENSIONS: 14.5" x 21" • WEIGHT: 3.85 lbs • PLASTIC • DISHWASHER SAFE
2. Anchor Hocking Custard Cups, Set of 4
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated January 2016
Best Buy - Recommended
STAIN AND ODOR RESISTANCE ★★★
We compared seven widely available sets of prep bowls, filling and emptying them with a variety of different foods. We noted accumulated stains and odors and the bowls’ condition after repeated washing. A nudge off the counter helped assess durability. Microwave-safe and/or oven-safe bowls earned extra points.
DIMENSIONS: 3.75" x 2" • CAPACITY: 6 oz • GLASS • MICROWAVE SAFE • DISHWASHER SAFE
3. Now Designs Ripple Kitchen Towel
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated June 2014
We quantified absorbency by dangling an inch of each towel into a tub of water for 15 minutes, weighing the towels before and after. We also used the towels to wring water from frozen spinach, hold hot baking dishes, and dry slim, delicate champagne flutes. A set of 26 full laundry cycles mimicked 6 months of weekly washing and helped us test longterm durability.
1 TOWEL • COTTON, RIBBED WEAVE • SIZE: 25" x 18.25"
4. Progressive International Flexible Chopping Mats, Set of 4
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated August 2005
We cut up chicken and vegetables and transferred the ingredients directly from the mats into a pan. Thicker, stronger, and dishwasher-safe cutting mats performed best.
DIMENSIONS: 12" x 15" x 0.1" • WEIGHT: 12.8 oz
Food Prep Tips
Setting Up Your Cutting Station
ANCHOR YOUR BOARD
A cutting board that slides all over the counter is not only annoying, it is also unsafe. If your cutting board doesn’t have nonslip grips on the bottom (our Best Buy does), place either a square of wet paper towel or a small piece of shelf liner between the counter and the cutting board.
ORGANIZE YOUR PREP
Organizing your prepped ingredients into little bowls isn’t just for TV chefs; it’s a great idea for home cooks, too. This setup makes it easy to grab an ingredient and add it to a hot pan at just the right moment.
KEEP IT TIDY
Don’t push vegetable trimmings to one side of the cutting board. This reduces the usable work area on your board, and those trimmings always have a way of getting back under your knife. Designate a small bowl or plastic grocery bag for trimmings.
Safe Food Handling Tips
SEPARATE RAW AND COOKED FOODS
Keep raw and cooked foods separate to prevent the spread of bacteria. Never place cooked food on a plate or cutting board that has come in contact with raw food, and wash any utensil that comes in contact with raw food before reusing it.
PUT UP BARRIERS
Items that come in contact with both raw and cooked food, like scales and platters, should be covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to create a protective barrier. Once the item has been used, the protective layer should be discarded.
DON'T RINSE RAW MEAT AND POULTRY
Avoid rinsing raw meat and poultry, as doing so is likely to spread contaminants around your sink. The only exception is brined food, which needs to be rinsed before cooking. Cooking food to a safe internal temperature will effectively kill surface bacteria.
Bacteria can live on the edges of a box or salt shaker. To avoid contamination, we grind pepper into a clean small bowl and then mix it with salt. We reach into the bowl for seasoning without having to wash our hands every time. Then the bowl goes into the dishwasher.
DON'T RECYCLE USED MARINADES
Used marinade is contaminated with raw meat juices. If you want a sauce to serve with cooked meat, make a little extra marinade and set it aside before adding the rest to the raw meat.