When is a spatula not a spatula? Give up? When someone takes that classic kitchen utensil that we all thought was perfect and fuses it with another to make it even better. I'm talking about the Chopula, a spatula with one slightly sharp side intended for impromptu chopping and one of Dreamfarm's many duh-inducing creations.
Reinventing the wheel -- or more accurately, reinventing the pizza wheel -- is what this funky Australian kitchen inventor and innovator does on the regular, and it has me rethinking my entire collection of tools. The Chopula in question is ideal for when I need to downsize a hunk of zucchini already in the frying pan that missed my chef's knife on the cutting board. Or to break up some frozen meat as it sizzles and defrosts in the skillet.
Dreamfarm has taken a pass at nearly all of our most-used kitchen tools and in many cases improved on the design in small ways that make a big difference. Take the Clongs: Classic tongs are firmly in my top three most-grabbed cooking utensils, but they get greasy and since you can't hold them forever, they usually end up on the counter leaving a trail of whatever they've been tonging. Clongs have a simple dent in the shaft so the tips stay up in the air when you set them down or to rest them securely on the side of a pan. It's a simple edit, but one you'll tip your cap to every time you don't have to grab a paper towel.
Others in the line include a one-handed pepper mill for when the other hand is busy, spoons with handles that rotate on hinges that transform into a ladle with a simple twist or two (see image below: I absolutely love this one) and pizza scissors made for cutting and serving pies on any surface, including a stone.
I got a chance to try some of Dreamfarm's kitchen tool updates and innovations, many of which induced an immediate "now, why didn't I think of that?" If I had one critique, it's that some of the tools (including the Chopula) were a little on the light side, but all were solidly constructed with high-quality rubber and silicone. The spoons and ladles with hinges had good weight and seemed especially sturdy, which is great because they would be prone to breakage otherwise.
I liked most of the Dreamfarm gear so much I made a list of my favorites. To the people at Dreamfarm, keep dreaming, because if it makes my life in the kitchen easier -- and cleaner -- I'll jump at it every time.
You can nab a set of five Dreamfarm utensils for $60 or see the full line of intelligent cooking gadgets at the Dreamfarm store on Amazon.
Read more: Essential cooking gear for your college dorm
A spoon that turns into a ladle? Yup, I want that. If you're making soup or sauce you start with a spoon for sautéing but inevitably end up needing a ladle. Now you've just got one utensil to pull out since the handle swivels to make this one into whatever the moment calls for. The bowl of the spoon is also a measuring cup and the spoon features a built-in spoon rest. By my count, that's three fewer things you'll need to wash when dinner is done.
If you make pizza on a stone you'll need to transfer it to another dish to slice. Not so with a Scizza, which will slice the pie and even pick up a slice to serve yourself -- or a guest if you're feeling generous.
That dent in the shaft not only keeps the tips off the counter but allows you to rest the utensil on the side of a fry pan. These have rubber tips but Dreamfarm makes a 100% metal set of Clongs, perfect for the grill.
I can't tell you how useful it is to be able to break up food while it's in the pan. The sharp side of this tool is sharp enough to slice through most veggies and break up frozen meat with ease but not so sharp that you need to worry about cutting yourself. It's also got the signature built-in "spoon rest" so no part of the actual spatula blade touches the counter.
This isn't the first one-handed pepper mill in the history of pepper mills, but it is a really nice one and very easy to use and fill. It sits flush and stably on the counter and it's a snap to fill and operate. I also really like how it looks and feels in my hand. A squeeze mill is great if you're one of those chefs who regularly needs a third hand. The brand makes a cheaper plastic model, but I say spring for the wood handles.
This is sort of the simpler version of the above tool. It doesn't flip into a ladle but it is a sturdy spoon with an arch in its handle so it rests above the counter. For super drippy stuff like sauces, you may still want a spoon rest, but for veggies, eggs, meats and the like, you'll save yourself a wipe or wash. The spoon's head doubles as a measuring cup (tablespoon), into which you can pour ingredients while it's sitting stably on the counter.
This cheese knife doubles as a fork so you can slice off a hunk and then spear it with the end instead of picking it up with your hands (like you know you always do).
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