Silicone began its spread into American kitchens in 1993, when nonstick SilPat baking mats were introduced from France. Heat-safe to varying degrees, depending on the thickness and rigidity, silicone is naturally nonstick, nonslip, nontoxic, and nonbland. It can be produced in any color of the rainbow. There are silicone muffin pans at this point. And tongs, spoons, and spatulas that don’t scratch nonstick surfaces. And flexible, grippy oven mitts and cutting boards that won’t go slip-sliding away. And colanders and steamers that collapse into space-challenged drawers or cabinets. One superhelpful application: silicone pastry and basting brushes. They clean up a lot better than the greasy boar-bristle brushes of yore.