Shopping for cooking gear can be breathtakingly expensive. Copper pots! French sauté pans! Espresso machines! But sometimes it can be pleasantly cheap, especially if you like to hang out at hardware stores and garage sales and thrift shops. Sometimes even the fancy cooking stores have stuff that you can actually buy these days, like these seriously fun nonreactive silicon stir sticks from Sur La Table. Do they do anything a normal wooden spoon doesn't already do? Of course not, but they're cool and they won't melt or scratch pots and they're $6.95.
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Another thing they have going for them is that kids love them. "It's just like a paint stick. Awesome," said one such kid recently, when dragged into the store in search of far more boring stuff. "Jackson Pollock," murmured the other kid appreciatively, the one who still throws spaghetti on the ceiling to demonstrate Newton's law of something-or-another, despite repeatedly being told that it is not a good way to test the doneness of pasta. In any event, a good way to get your kids to stir the risotto.