4. Great gadgets escape a junk-drawer fate
As American cooks have become more sophisticated, gadgets have kept pace, going beyond carny-barker/infomercial gimmickry to a much more useful zone. As with personal electronics, real form-and-function strides have been made. Exhibit A: surgical-sharp Microplane tools. The original handheld Microplane rasp’s acid-etched, laser-sharp blades—a legacy from the brand’s woodshop origins—make zesting a lemon a pleasure. Microplane’s box grater—cool enough looking to keep on the counter, not to mention stable and comfortable under the hand—is the best of its kind, reducing a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano to piles of lacy shavings in mere moments. Our own Test Kitchen grates frozen ginger with Microplane graters, and even frozen buns for instant breadcrumbs.