I'm a big fan of keeping unnecessary tools and gadgets out of my kitchen, but I find that there's one item I don't mind owning a few extras of: measuring cups and spoons. The reason is simple. There are very few recipes that require just one teaspoon of something or don't need more than one measuring cup. These utensils are used daily in my kitchen, if not several times a day, and they don't take up a lot of space. So why not have a few extras around?
That said, I do try to strategize my measuring devices to avoid using too many. I always measure out the dry items first, for instance, because I can usually use the spoons again for the wet stuff without washing them before hand. And if a recipe calls for both oil and something sticky like molasses or nut butter, then I always measure the oil first so that the sticky stuff doesn't, well, stick. I've also been known to utilize the fact that 4 tablespoons equals 1/4 cup as a way to not dirty a measuring cup.
But often I'm happy that I have more than one tablespoon in my kitchen. While I have adapted Deborah Madison's pan of soapy water trick to quickly wash and reuse utensils, the truth is just dried items are often slightly damp no matter how much I wipe them with a towel. Besides, it's really not that much of a bother to wash an extra measuring cup or two.
How about you? Do you keep it minimal or do you like to have a few spare measuring cups and spoons around?
(Image: Dana Velden)