Having baked my way through numerous kitchens now, I can say that there isn’t all that much to be gained from the ultra high-end oven, the super spectacular refrigerator, or the German dishwasher. Yes, they’re nice, but somehow the same work gets done with GE. Or, as the case has been in some of the lower rent districts of my early apartment life, Magic Chef.

What makes working in a kitchen better, and easier, to me are the small touches in the name of organization and ease. I’ve reminisced often about the pleasures of my cooking school at Tante Marie’s, the lovely kitchens that were not state-of-the-art but didn’t need to be. One aspect, though, of kitchen life there always gave me pause, and that was the scooping of sugar and flour. Especially flour. There were no scoops in the buckets, and sometimes a random spoon or more often, a stray measuring cup, would be left behind to Tante Marie’s irritation.

The scoop just gets the work done better, more efficiently, and with less mess (and less irritation) than with a spoon or measuring cup. You can scoop more at once, and the shape of the scoop contributes to a smoother transfer from scoop to measuring cup or bowl than a spoon or another measuring cup.

My mother has always kept her flour and sugar in enormous Tupperware-style bins, down low enough in a pull-out drawer that all we have to do is pull it out, lift the lid, and scoop away with the metal scoops. Her metal scoops are special because they are originals from her father’s candy store. So of course any aluminum or stainless steel metal scoop I see of that nature sends my mind directly to Geo. Abowd & Son Confectioner, and next thing you know I’m buying it. Thankfully they’re never very expensive. See some good ones in a bunch of sizes here and here.

Someday I’m going to step up to the big bins for my flour and sugar, like Mom. (for now I’ve got pretty cannisters that look good but the width of the tops are just too narrow for easy measuring). At least I’ve graduated from measuring directly from the paper bags the flour comes in; that’s a mess all its own. Meanwhile, I do have my metal scoops, exactly one of the easy small touches that keeps things moving along in my kitchen. And looking beautiful while they’re at it.

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