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Tongs


Chris Hennes
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huh. Who knew there was something to learn about tongs? I need to find me some of those gravity tongs. I use the OXO style, which are better than the ring style, but not by much imho. I find both to be a pain.

I'm not an addict like some people here but they are certainly indespensible in the right circumstances. Tonight, for example, I sauted a big pot of kale w/ olive oil and garlic--with tongs, of course. How else to grab bunches of unwieldy raw kale and turn it over in a hot pan, get the leaves coated with a bit of oil, so that it cooks down uniformly?


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By far the most commonly used tongs in US professional kitchens -- at least in the kitchens where tongs are allowed in the first place -- have got to be the relatively inexpensive, all-metal, totally utilitarian, hinged locking tongs made by Edlund. If you inspect a pair of line cook's tongs at random, I imagine these are what you're most likely to see.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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  • 3 weeks later...

"but guys like keller don't hire guys like me, who have been known to use tongs to scratch our butts, open beers, change light bulbs, and dispose of spent mousetraps ... "

that is just hysterical! I happen to be a product of the Keller kitchen, so I agree with Chang's comment. I have a hatred of tongs. there is nothing a spoon, one of these flat spatulas, and a finger cant do.

BTW, those flat spats are one of my favorite kitchen tools ever. And, every TFL alum Ive seen, i.e. Grant Achatz, Ryan Fancher, Eric Zeibold (and me :) use them in their kitchens.

- Chef Johnny

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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ChefJohnny, what exactly do you use the flat spatula for?

The spat is always in my bain marie with my spoons on my station. Its perfect for turning fish, as it is flexible and thin. I use it for turning and flipping things in the pan as well as delicate stuff such as making chips on silpats, etc. Its a little expensive, given what it is, but its well worth the money and durable as all hell. Ive had mine for about 3 or 4 years. When I took over at Dry Creek Kitchen, I got all my cooks one.

- Chef Johnny

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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You like the flat spatula more than the offset kind? Could you elaborate? I have an offset one that I bought for icing; now I use it at the stove a lot (mostly for very small things). The offset seems to make it easier to use. For larger delicate things I like a regular fish spatula, sometimes in combination with a spoon. And I still think tongs have a million reasonable uses, where they're efficient and won't do any harm.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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In my experience you have more control with a flat and they aren't as flimsy offset spatula's. They are also sometimes refer as a palate knife and I agree with Chef Johnny they are an invaluable cooking tool.

Edited by Qwerty (log)
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In my experience you have more control with a flat and they aren't as flimsy offset spatula's. They are also sometimes refer as a palate knife and I agree with Chef Johnny they are an invaluable cooking tool.

Exactly! I always have my palette knife. like i said, theres nothing a set of tongs can do that a spoon, palette knife and your fingers cant. and plus, tongs get disgustingly dirty, especially in a restaurant.

These are my everyday tools. The only thing not pictured are my spoons.

gallery_47876_4493_430348.jpg

Edited by ChefJohnny (log)

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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... theres nothing a set of tongs can do that a spoon, palette knife and your fingers cant.

The question isn't what can be done ... it's what's the most efficient and effective way to do it?

I like spoons and fish spatulas and palette knives for delicate things. But they're slower, they sometimes require two hands instead of one, and they force you to get your hands a lot closer to some things (a pan full of splattering grease, the edge of a burning hot roasting pan full of bones, etc.) than you might want.

I can be as delicate with tongs as I can be with chopsticks. And when that's not delicate enough (sometimes it isn't) there are other tools better for the job.

You have me intrigued by the straight spatula, though. Is there a reason to buy the $30 one you linked to? I see much cheaper ones in the pastry dept. and the restaurant stores.

Notes from the underbelly

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I think the argument would be that the same delicacy that calls for use of a palate knife or spoons should be applied to all things cooking, not just things that "require" it. It's part of finesse cooking...tongs are just inelegant.

I don't think that anyone is suggesting that a roasting pan full of veal knuckles should be removed with a palate knife...but I have to tell you that the kitchens I've worked in that forbid tongs also don't roast bones for veal stock.

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... theres nothing a set of tongs can do that a spoon, palette knife and your fingers cant.

The question isn't what can be done ... it's what's the most efficient and effective way to do it?

I like spoons and fish spatulas and palette knives for delicate things. But they're slower, they sometimes require two hands instead of one, and they force you to get your hands a lot closer to some things (a pan full of splattering grease, the edge of a burning hot roasting pan full of bones, etc.) than you might want.

I can be as delicate with tongs as I can be with chopsticks. And when that's not delicate enough (sometimes it isn't) there are other tools better for the job.

You have me intrigued by the straight spatula, though. Is there a reason to buy the $30 one you linked to? I see much cheaper ones in the pastry dept. and the restaurant stores.

i was first introduced to the palette knife at TFL. It was given to me by my sous chef. I guess I can try to justify it like this: its incredibly durable, its been burned, put through the dish machine, dropped in a fryer, etc. Im a firm believer in spending good money for a better product, instead of buying cheap and keep replacing.

Now, I can agree with some of the points you make above. And I guess I should have clarified my position. My views are coming from the restaurants I worked in, i.e. Michelin 2 and 3 star. So, there is literally nothing that is not delicate.

- Chef Johnny

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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  • 9 months later...

Chris Hennes:

My preference is a heavy-duty stainless steel tong, such as: Edlund or Vollrath, available at Wasserstrom. :cool:

Edited by TheUnknownCook (log)

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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The question isn't what can be done ... it's what's the most efficient and effective way to do it?
I'd argue that sometimes the most efficient tool for the job is not the most elegant tool available, but instead the tool that happens to be in your hand at the moment. You have a tong in hand? Then yes, it may be best to use the tong to stir the pot with it next. Inelegant, but the time wasted putting one tool down and picking up another it time lost. Were a spoon in hand, I would make the exact same argument. Some tools beg to multitask. Thinking multiple steps ahead might have a cook pick up a tool that can be used for more than one upcoming tasks in a row.

None of the above is to deny that frequently, the best tool for the next task is not in the tool your hand. I'm not a fan of driving screws with a hammer.

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to return from the fine art dept :raz:

I prefer the oxo with the plastic top, as I can use them in my non stick as well as any other pan. I used to have one of each, but when the metal one broke I just got an other plastic (or nylon or what it might be) instead. Often enough one is in the dishwasher anyways.

I can't recall ever ruining a food with one, I was surprised to see that Keller says no to them in his new book. I use them quite often. Of course, I don't usually cook from TFL book, in that case I'd not use them anyway, they'd be way unpractical. I kind of like the idea of the pallet knife though, I use them in painting and can totally see where they might come in handy, especially if they are really flexible.

I don't like the gravity ones, have one for salad that constantly snaps open in the drawer and blocks the whole thing, it's on it's way to the donation pile next time somebody comes around to collect such things. The oxo have a rubbery ring on the lock pin, (edit) they open by just pushing against anything, hip, counter, etc, and lock by dragging against something, belt loop, counter, etc. Quick and easy :biggrin:

That they are forbidden in a restaurant where a single dish might contain extremely expensive and carefully prepared things makes sense, squeeze a tad too much and that foie is a blob. They plate with tweezers after all! With tweezers.

While I occasionally like to prepare such fare, I prefer to go out and eat it in a restaurant. A once a year or so treat. That way I also get more than the one course I could prep myself over a day or three :laugh:

Edited by OliverB (log)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I guess it's a good thing I don't work in a restaurant, because I love tongs. I use them for all kinds of things. I have a galley kitchen, and at moments when I, my husband, our chronically-ravenous dog, and one or both of our cats decide we all have to be in the kitchen at once (even though I'm the only one COOKING), I'll use tongs for about anything - slicing butter, turning vegetables being sauteed, augmenting the use of a potholder or towel when I'm removing something from the oven, and yes, pulling out the oven rack. I can't always get to the drawers that have the other tools. They're great to stir with, too.

And if that makes me a lazy, sloppy, or inelegant cook, keep the adjectives coming, so what? I get dinner on the table with the help of my tongs, and much of the time, it's damn good.

They're also great for opening cabinet doors that I can't quite reach from where I'm standing, and grabbing small stuff off a high shelf. They are washed at appropriate times, especially after something like that. Can't beat 'em for turning cubes of meat being browned. And if during one of my klutzy moments, a stray piece of food escapes its pan and lands close to the flame, what else, pray tell, would be better?

I remember watching an episode of Iron Chef, and one of the chefs was using his chopsticks for just about everyting that didn't require a knife. I was impressed and envious at how adept he was at using them. I would go out on a limb here and suggest that the chef's chopsticks were a type of tong.

I have enough sense not to use them on fish or other delicate stuff.

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  • 1 year later...

I was going to put these in "unusual gadgets" but as this topic is specific to tongs, I'm bumping this thread up to show these new tongs "Clongs" I got a couple of weeks ago.

I originally saw these on an Australian site that was linked from a ForumThermomix topic and thought I would order them.

However, I dithered a while, actually a few months, then was pleasantly surprised to see them on Amazon.com

I ordered the 12 inch Clongs and after using them for a while, have ordered the 9 inch.

These are quite easy to use and require only one hand to lock and unlock them but they hold securely in both options - something not always true in other types of locking tongs.

These are quite easy to use for me, even with the arthritis in my right hand.

The bump in the shaft not only holds the tips off the counter but I can also "hang" them on the edge of a skillet and they stay in place - not possible with other type tongs.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The tips are just slightly rounded but where they meet they are almost flat. They are silicone and pick up slippery stuff fairly easily.

HPIM4002.JPG

HPIM4001.JPG

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have a silicone tongs that is terrible. It wont grip anything easily and as a result its tempting to mash the food. I need to check this new one out.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

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I have a silicone tongs that is terrible. It wont grip anything easily and as a result its tempting to mash the food. I need to check this new one out.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

I used them today to pick up shelled hardboiled eggs - slippery but easily retrieved.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 6 months later...
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