Newsday food writer Erica Marcus takes a trip to Ideal Restaurant Supply in Carle Place and offers tips for buying kitchen supplies. Credit: Randee Daddona

The vast Carle Place showroom of Ideal Restaurant Supply Company, founded in 1911, is stacked to the rafters with professional food-service equipment and kitchenware. The public is welcome to shop there, too, and home cooks will find treasures they didn’t know they needed. Here’s a small sampling of great buys that will pay culinary dividends for years to come:

MIXING BOWLS: You can’t have enough lightweight stainless-steel mixing bowls and, when they nest so neatly, seven take up the same amount of space as the biggest one. Toss a crowd’s-worth of salad in the largest—19 inches across. The smallest will hold enough egg wash for a batch of scones. In between, beat eggs, whip cream, dry-rub meat, dredge cutlets, make an ice bath. $1.50 to $25.95

VEGETABLE PEELER: Odds are, you’ve had the same dull, flimsy, vertical swivel-bladed vegetable peeler ever since—well, it’s been a long time. And whenever you tackle a mountain of spuds for potato salad, for instance, you end up nursing a sore finger and a grudge. Time for an upgrade. In terms of expense, after, all, a peeler is one of a cook’s most inexpensive indispensables. And if you are going to use it mainly for big round things like potatoes, apples or a butternut squash, then you will find a Y-blade —the hands-down favorite of professional chefs—superefficient. $2.95

ELECTRIC KITCHEN SCALE: Perhaps it’s been all the pandemic baking going on, but American cooks are finally more comfortable with measuring dry ingredients by weight. It’s fast, easy and most important, accurate. In contrast, a cup measure of flour can vary widely depending on how it was put into the cup. $44

DISHES FOR BAKING (AND MORE): You’ll never see a better selection of ramekins and small bowls. Use them for crème brûlée and chocolate lava cakes, but also for serving nuts or olives and for organizing ingredients before you make your way through a recipe. As for the gratin dishes, spoon in some leftover mashed potato or mac-and-cheese, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, brown for a few minutes in a hot oven and wait for applause. $1 to $10

MICROPLANE RASP: Sure, you can use the small holes on an old-fashioned box grater to shred Parmesan, citrus zest and more, but the high-tech Microplane rasp has photo-etched (i.e., ultrasharp) teeth that cut like knives, resulting in a greater volume of fluffier, tissue-thin wisps. The Microplane was invented in 1991 at Arkansas company Grace Manufacturing as a wood-carving rasp; three years after production started, the wife of a Canadian tool catalog company used it to zest oranges for a cake. The rest, as they say, is history. $13.95

TONGS: For flipping or lifting foods, spring-loaded tongs give you greater control than turners or forks. Use them for bacon, holding a piece of meat as you sear it on all sides, or transferring spaghetti into a pan of sauce. Shorter tongs allow more precision; long ones are best for the grill. $11 to $14

DINNERWARE: A restaurant supply store is a great source of sturdy, value-priced plates, bowls and co ee mugs, and it’s the place to buy the indestructible retro-style dinnerware popularized by diners and luncheonettes. The Homer Laughlin China Co. (est. 1871) in West Virginia, which also produces Fiesta ware, was the original manufacturer. $1.50 (for a saucer) to $20 (platter)

PAN SCRAPER: This little devil possesses the perfect blend of stiffness and flexibility to scrape hardened dough o counters, the dried remnants of eggs out of a skillet or, with the help of a little Goo Gone, stubborn labels off bottles and ceramic serving pieces. $1.95

UTILITY SCISSORS: These elegant Chinese shears will take apart a chicken or fish, cutting right through the bones. They make lighter kitchen tasks—such as cutting parchment paper and twine, snipping chives—a breeze, and are just as useful cutting through flower stems and cardboard. $5.95

PERFORATED SPOONS: Separating foods from a liquid habitat is the job of many kitchen tools, from olive spoons to colanders. These heavy-duty stainless-steel perforated spoons are perfect for extracting vegetables from boiling water, lardons from molten pork fat or giving any pot a good stir. With their industrial chic, they may find their way to your table, too. $9.95 to $10.95

Ideal Restaurant Supply is at 125 Voice Rd., Carle Place; 516-482-7000,

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