I love a good kitchen gadget- give me an apple peeler-corer, or an egg slicer or a whipped cream maker and I'll be entertained for hours. But the truth is that you don't ever really NEED any of those things, and you can get almost any cooking task accomplished, as long as you have a few solid and high-quality basics: a chef's knife, a paring knife, a serrated knife, and a good pair of kitchen shears. And (arguably) the greatest of these is shears.
You can use a sharp pair of scissors to do almost everything in the kitchen- butcher a chicken, mince herbs, snip the ends off green beans, cut parchment paper or twine, open packages, or `even cut wire or trim flower stems in a pinch (just don't tell my mom I do that). The trick is to get a good-quality stainless steel pair that come apart, so you can throw them in the dishwasher after every use without fear of rust, and sharpen the blades just like knives when they get dull from cutting wire (even though your mom told you not to). I also like pairs with non-slip handles (for when your hands are covered in chicken goo) and built-in bottle openers, for enjoying a tall frosty one when you're done. Here are three worthy pairs. Owning any of them would be shear luck.
Top left, Titanium kitchen shears, $13.50, from Williams-Sonoma; Right, Wusthof come-apart shears, $19.95 from Amazon.com; Bottom left, Shun Classic 'Taskmaster' shears, $39.95 from Sur La Table.
6 hours ago