A manual shows readers how to save money and space by using substitute tools to complete a variety of kitchen tasks.
Cooks with cluttered kitchens, rejoice. They may not need all those single-use gadgets that are taking up valuable space in their drawers and shelves. MacLeod’s (The Waste-Wise Kitchen Companion, 2017, etc.) efficient and detailed A-to-Z reference book outlines numerous substitutions for various kitchen tools, from the everyday (grill tongs stand in for a bottle opener) to the unusual (an electric doughnut cooker replaces an aebleskiver pan for preparing Danish pancakes). The alphabetical organization makes it easy for desperate cooks to discover information in a flash, and many of the suggested substitutes are genuinely clever, such as transforming an open waffle iron covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil into a food warming tray or crafting a DIY fat separator out of an empty yogurt container or freezer bag. MacLeod also provides answers to questions like whether readers can use a slow cooker as a rice cooker or a coffee grinder as a spice mill (yes to both, with some caveats). Bakers should be delighted with the extensive list of baking pan equivalents; also included is a table of volume and liquid measurement equivalents. There’s a “Hints from Heloise” quality to many of the tips, which are likely to spark memories in some readers of common-sense kitchen lessons taught by mothers or grandmothers. The manual also offers an entertaining look at more specialized culinary tools and techniques. Readers may not know what a tava is (it’s a “flat cast-iron pan used for cooking Indian flatbreads”), but it’s nice to know they can utilize a cast-iron griddle or a comal instead. (And if they don’t know what a comal is, there’s an entry for that, too.) On the other hand, a few recommendations are so obvious that it’s hard to imagine they need mentioning, but anyone befuddled by the lack of a plastic bag clip will likely be glad to learn that it’s OK to employ a clothespin or a binder clip to keep chips from getting stale.
A practical, no-fuss guide that should help cooks streamline their kitchens and find solutions to culinary dilemmas.