Cooking

4 Reasons to Stock Up on Wooden Chopsticks

Why these the batons in your takeout bag are the real kitchen workhorses

That crinkly sleeve of wooden chopsticks sitting at the bottom of your takeout bag? Consider it your new BFF in the kitchen.

Save those little suckers, says Abe Conlon, the chef behind Fat Rice in Chicago: "They have greater sensitivity than the hand might possess." More than cake testers and wide spatulas, too.

Here are four ways that chopsticks can make baking that cake or frying up a storm a little easier:

① Testing cakes: Why does Conlon prefer thicker, fibrous testers? "It almost mimics the feel of a tooth," he explains. A stainless steel cake tester is smooth and thin, meaning nothing sticks to it, whereas chopsticks' natural grooves and imperfections pick up more of how a cake will actually feel in your mouth, according to Conlon.

Grilling with finesse: Soak the sticks in water overnight, then clamp them together to flip fish on the grill. They're sturdier than kebab sticks--and using them means one less grill juice-encrusted metal mess to clean up after an afternoon spent in smoky conditions. Simply toss 'em and you're done.

Safely testing oil: Chopsticks naturally hold a little moisture, so dip them in hot oil to measure the temperature in a pinch (rather than flicking a little water). The increasing size of the bubbles working their way to the surface will let you know the oil is ready.

Scrambling with ease: "Scrambled eggs are great with chopsticks," says Conlon. They're also great tools for sautéing, frying and generally any cooking that requires poking and prodding ingredients quickly over high heat. "You can cook with more agility, as opposed to having a big old strainer or spoon."

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