A Spider Strainer Is Better Than Any Colander In Your Kitchen
Did we mention it's super cheap?
Test Kitchen Pick: Food Network Kitchen staffers share the kitchen tools they can't live without — both at work and at home — plus, their tips and tricks for using them like a pro.
Food shows make cooking look so easy. They always have the perfect tool for each task and seem to effortlessly throw together meal after meal. There are a few secrets to making TV magic, and one of them is a tool than costs less than $10: a bamboo handled spider skimmer.
A bamboo handled spider skimmer is that little tool you often see in Food Network shows — a small, wire basket attached to a long wooden handle that’s most frequently used to scoop food from hot liquid or to skim fat from broths or soups. It’s my absolute favorite tool in the kitchen because it never lets me down. It has so many uses! Frying shallots or pickles, soft boiling eggs (which we do a lot of in my house); it’s also great for delicately flipping chicken cutlets to get the perfect golden brown crust. One of my favorite hacks is to use it to rinse berries for my kids after school or to strain steamed veggies.
I started using my spider skimmer in culinary school and haven’t turned back since. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t matter if you buy an expensive one or cheap one — they all work the same. Yes, I’m serious. I've used a lot of them. You can spend $5 or $50 and the functionality is identical. The $50 spider is certainly better for the camera, but at home I stick to my trusty $5 spider and it’s just as reliable. It’s versatile, and I love it because it allows me to work quickly with precision, without having to switch from tool to tool.
Whether I’m using it as a strainer, a spatula, a skimmer or anything in between, my spider strainer is truly the trustiest tool in my kitchen. I can’t wait to find more uses for it and I hope I never have to cook without it! If you don’t believe me, just keep a look out the next time you watch one of our cooking shows. I bet you’ll start to notice a spider skimmer sneaking into every shot.
Mary Beth Bray is a culinary producer at Food Network and her credits include Valerie’s Home Cooking, Dinner at Tiffani’s, Martina’s Table and Tia Mowry at Home. Her love of food started in Texas, blossomed in France and became a career in New York City. She can usually be found in her compact kitchen in Brooklyn or if it is summer, on a beach somewhere.