The Unconventional Gadget Ina Garten Uses To Boost Food Textures

Every chef has his or her favorite culinary tools and one of Ina Garten's is an unconventional kitchen gadget you may not have even heard of. The Barefoot Contessa took New York Times readers on a tour of her kitchen, and during her show-and-tell, Garten revealed she is a fan of the food mill. If you've never encountered this antiquated-looking contraption with a hand crank whose sole purpose is to puree foods, don't feel like the odd man out. 

The cookbook author explained that she "adores" the food mill because it helps her achieve just the right texture. Garten stated, "What I like is that something ends up with texture so it's not just like baby food." The food mill is French in origin and according to William & Sonoma, which used to sell the brand Garten likes, it has been dubbed the "mouli," which is short for Moulinex. 

How does it work and what is it for?

A food mill does double duty by simultaneously pureeing and straining food at the same time. This means you can skip peeling foods altogether. This gadget attaches to your mixing bowl and works like a potato ricer in that it has three discs that dictate the texture, which can range be coarse, medium, or fine. When you turn the crank, food is pushed through the little holes in these discs, creating the texture you want. 

Many people use their food mill to make mashed potatoes, and Garten is no different. When she whips up her goat cheese mashed potatoes or sour cream mashed potatoes, the chef breaks out this tool to get a creamy, smooth consistency. She also uses it for her roasted tomato basil soup. But don't stop there. You can also use it when making jams and preserves with your favorite fruits and veggies.

If you want to invest in a food mill, shop around. The price can range from around $25 to $225.