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Less is more when it comes to kitchen playthings

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We have a cherry pitter. It was a wedding gift and why we even registered for one back then is befuddling now, but we were young and dumb and not very practical.

31M22ESKS6L._SL500_AA280_.jpg And yet ... it makes about dozen or so appearances every summer, when cherries are ripe for the eating. Our girls literally squeal at every punch of the handle. Whether it's the actual punch that delights them so or the knowledge that the slowly growing mound of seedless, juicy burgundy orbs will soon be theirs is beside the point. They love the cherry pitter. And we love the cherry pitter.

We had this in mind as we went about today's story on setting up your first kitchen. What do you need -- really need -- to be able to cook decently? You certainly don't need a cherry pitter. You don't need an ergonomic cake cutter, nor do you need about 80 percent of what's in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.

Chris Koetke (below), the dean of Kendall College and a great source for our story, told us he is a knife junkie, with a collection numbering in the hundreds. This was right after we admitted to him we have a drawer jam-packed with barely used gadgets (where the cherry pitter happily resides).

9-8-09 Hein kitchen 2.jpg

We're conditioned to want more, more, more. In Koetke's view, you need three knives and a sharpening steel. We might even argue that you only need one knife, a pot, a spoon. The rest is icing on the cake.

That said, the cherry pitter isn't going anywhere.

Let's hear it -- what can't you live without in the kitchen, and what won't you ever give up?

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on September 23, 2009 9:45 AM.

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