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The Chopping Block has been teaching home cooks how to cook for over 17 years. Since it’s our mission to get the country to cook, blogging gives us an outlet to share our food experiences not only with our students in Chicago, but the world.

Our staff shares their cooking adventures, techniques they’ve mastered and recipes, as well as family traditions and delicious dining experiences. Our readers get the inside scoop on sales and promotions, our favorite products, plus upcoming neighborhood events. Our goal is that every home cook, regardless of experience, finds The Chopping Blog a valuable resource.

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Return to College Cooking: Part 2

March 3rd, 2015 by Ben

In my recent return to college, I’ve experienced some of the highs and lows of cooking with the reality of college roommates in a small town on a limited budget.

kreamDuring my time at The Chopping Block, I made sure to fill the holes in my current collection of kitchenware. I added a new cutting board, knife, cast iron skillet, pastry blender, and of course, several jars of Famous Kream mustard (a must in every kitchen, in my humble opinion) to my stock, among other items. Since I moved to a smaller town, far away from Chicago and TCB, I knew that it would be harder to find high-quality items.

Now, hundreds of miles away, I can’t shop by for all the tools I need. This has caused the need for some creativity, such as:

  • Rolling pie dough with an empty wine bottle in lieu of a rolling pin while baking a pie to help promote a Mennonite cookbook the company I’m interning for just released. (I regret not grabbing a Le Creuset rolling pin right about now!)














  • Using my pastry blender to mash potatoes. (Oh, for a Rosle masher!)

Image Courtesy of Rosle



















  • Of course, using my Lodge cast iron for almost anything on the stovetop or in the oven, from frying up bacon for egg sandwiches to baking. It’s always good to have more than one, to keep sweet and savory separate.

Luckily for folks who frequent The Chopping Block, all tools will be 20% off in March, unless you buy three, in which case they will be 25% off! I wish I lived near enough to drop by to capitalize on the deal – then I could grab a shiny new masher!

What ways do you creatively use tools in your kitchen? Which tool have you always wanted to have around but never purchased?

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Ben Mast enjoyed meeting fantastic people and expanding his knowledge of cooking during his time as a retail associate at The Chopping Block. Now, he has returned to the small Mennonite town of Harrisonburg, Virginia to finish his degree in English and Writing. When he’s not cooking and studying, Ben enjoys spending time hiking, devouring fantasy novels, painting with watercolor, and playing tennis.

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