Cooking in Chile: essential kitchen utensils

The other day as I was commenting to my friend E. the deliciousness of freshly fried sopaipillas, mostly the fact that I love them so much simply because they are fried, she said to me, “Chile has completely changed my concept of cooking.”

I couldn’t agree more. I realized this when I was shopping for kitchen utensils recently. My host mom set me up with some plates and glasses and silverware, so I was more worried about cooking items. In the states the first thing I would have bought would probably have been pots and pans.

In Chile of the two items that topped my list, one doesn’t even exist in the US (or I’ve never seen it at least) and the other is not very common.

What are they, you are asking yourself?

First, I present to you the tostador and no, this is not a toaster (although that is also called a tostador) but a piece of metal you put over a gas burner to toast bread. It looks something like this:

The second is an hervidor de agua, what we would call a hot pot in the U.S. They are not that common in the US, maybe because we drink less tea and drink real coffee versus nescafe which requires a coffee pot. But I am in love with my hervidor because it boils water in like 30 seconds, and considering I’m not a morning person, I am usually running late and absolutely need a jolt of caffeine (even if it’s nescafe) before I rush out the door.

And here is the hervidor (who I like to cal Val, because the brand is Valory): I of course also bought pots and pans, but I am missing another essential Chilean kitchen item: a microwave. I made lentils last night (recipe here in Spanish) but now have no way of quickly heating them up.

Chile has also changed the things I cook and eat, but I’ll save that for another post. Now I’m hungry and have to think of a creative way to heat my lentils.


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