Handy Little Sticks

Chopsticks are not just for eating your Mongolian beef or sushi, those little bamboo sticks can come in very handy in the kitchen! Here are some ideas:

Deep frying is normally done at between 360 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, but without a thermometer it can be difficult to tell if the oil if ready for frying. Next time try this trick; when the oil has preheated, dip a chopstick into the oil. If the oil around the chopstick starts to bubble steadily, then the oil is hot enough for frying. If no or only a few bubbles show up, then the oil is not hot enough. Lastly, if the oil bubbles very vigorously, it is too hot and needs to cool off a bit.

The chopsticks are also great for turning over frying items, such as chicken or onion rings. The extra distance their length gives reduces the chance being spattered by hot grease. You can buy a pair of longer (15 inches) chopsticks for cooking at an Asian food market or kitchen-supply store.

Use chopsticks for coating or dipping items. Chocolate covered pretzels are much easier to make when using chopsticks to hold the pretzels and dunking them in chocolate. Dipping shrimp or vegetables in batter (especially tempura) can be very messy. The chopsticks can be used to dip into the batter as well as place the item in the oil. Chopsticks are perfect for coaxing stuck toast from the toaster especially since wood does not conduct electricity.

Chopsticks also work miracles in tight places. Olives in long skinny jars are easily removed with chopsticks as well as a lost sock behind the dryer!

Long hair is not always convenient when you are working in the kitchen; chopsticks to the rescue. Try twisting the entire length until it tries to twist back on to itself. Pull the loop end up (the end without the tips of hair) and insert the chopsticks to secure your coiffure.

Lastly, they make great magic wands for your Harry Potter wannabes!