Cheap and cheerful, an all-round pair of tongs that you can use to turn meat and pick up pasta is one of the best things you can have in your kitchen.
– When you add food to the deep fryer or to a pan of hot oil, always use a long tongs so that you don’t burn yourself. Hold the food on the tongs in the oil for a second or two before releasing it – the food will get a coating that will stop it sticking to the other food in the oil. Fry a cube of bread in the oil to check the temperature – the oil is hot enough when the bread becomes golden within 30 to 60 seconds.
– Keep your tongs on the bar above your cooker if you have one. You will use it for everything, turning meat and chicken without puncturing it, pushing vegetables underwater so they cook evenly and lifting meat out of a casserole so you can reduce the sauce further.
– Use your tongs to measure portion sizes (just remember how many tongs’ worth you usually give everyone and who said they didn’t get enough last time).
– A cheap pair of tongs that you can also use for both pasta and turning meat is perfect. If it has rubber grips at the tongs end, it will stop the pasta falling back into the water (see our photograph).
– Try to get a tongs with a handle that is a comfortable length for you. When you are in the shop, find a saucepan that is the same depth you use for boiling pasta, and pretend to lift the pasta out with the tongs. Does it feel comfortable? Do the tongs reach to the end of the saucepan?