Favorite Things: Kitchen Shears

I am the type of person who will pull hard on a plastic clothing tag to try unsuccessfully to remove it, until I’m forced to walk across the room to a pair of scissors, which snips off the tag cleanly and swiftly. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I tend to keep pulling on the tag before resorting to scissors, sometimes to the detriment of the fabric or my hand.

In the kitchen, I don’t try short cuts in lieu of kitchen shears because I know that certain tasks can’t even try to be done without them. Tasks like cutting the back out of chicken, or cutting a chicken breast, bone and all, in half. Tasks like snipping the little stem off of a grape leaf, which refuses to be pulled off without the shears and their sharp, swift excision. You can snip, snip, snip in a rhythm that will have the typically big batch of leaves all cleaned up in no time.

Your shears, like your knives, must be sharp! And heavy duty, like your sheet pans. There are times when regular scissors have to do, but a strong, sharp pair of shears will find you more often than you might think.

Shun makes an excellent product and I think it’s worth it to invest (about $50). These come apart and can be thoroughly washed and kept nice and sharp. Wusthof also makes great pull-apart shears for about $30, and some other shears for far less ($15). They are not going to do as much for you, but they’re better than standard scissors and much better than none at all.

We’ve all been clamoring for stuffed grape leave rolls, the ultimate spring Lebanese dish. I’m so happy to say that this week we are making a big, succulent batch. But we’ve got to do some snipping of the little tough stems that are left on the jarred and of course are present on freshly picked grape leaves. Believe me, I’ve tried to get away with stemming without the scissors, and it isn’t pretty!

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  1. Diane Nassir on May 21, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Maureen, the memories you bring back–My mother had two grape vines which she had my dad plant so that she had fresh leaves–I remember helping her pick them–she told me which ones were the candidates (the new, young, spring green, fully out, rather than the old, tough dark green leaves). But then on my own, I would pick a bunch of grapes, beautiful deep purple, and go thru the process of washing them, and squirting the grape out of the skin–a lot of work for a little girl used to eating edible skin, store-bought green grapes.
    And, what Lebanese yard would be complete without lemon trees–we had two!

    • Maureen Abood on May 21, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Wonderful memories Diane!! The grape leaf-selection criteria is passed down from generation to generation!

  2. Roger Toomey on May 21, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Getting a little ahead talking of leaves rather than shears, but we always felt the leaves from wild grapes had better flavor than domesticated grapes. We picked like mad in the spring so we could have enough in the freezer to last for the rest of the year.

  3. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) on May 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    My Dear Cousin, This post, like all of yours, touches my soul and floods my heart with tears of joy, tears born of recognition and of connection! Now you have brought me to my roots, not just of my childhood in my Mother’s kitchen in Lynwood, CA., but of my contemporary and ancient roots in Lebanon, to which I have never been in the tangible world.

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Maureen Abood in the kitchen

I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!

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