By heaven, you can spend as much as you could dream of to stock your kitchen with gadgets. Sadly, not all are worth your money, space and effort. Here are a few things I've discovered in my years of cooking so far!

The Essentials

  • Pans: one small omelet pan, one 12-inch non-stick saute pan, 1-12 inch regular saute pan
  • Pots: two small saucepans with lids, two large sauce pans with lids, one large stock pot
  • One all-purpose lid (this is a 12 inch lid with ridges that will slot onto smaller pots - you want this for your large saute pans)
  • Sieve with handle
  • Metal colander with small but numerous holes and TALL feet (you don't want your pasta, etc getting filthy backwash from the sink it rests in)
  • 2 all-plastic high heat spatulas you can throw in the dishwasher
  • Wooden spoons of assorted sizes (3)
  • A strong, all-metal garlic press (plastic ones will break under pressure)
  • A wide vegetable peeler (it should handle carrots and butternut squash)
  • Knives: 1 sharp paring knife, one serrated small knife, a long carving knife
  • a ladle
  • an all-metal whisk with close tines
  • sharp kitchen shears
  • a heavy plastic spatula
  • long-handled tongs

Affordable Next Steps

This is invaluable and quite affordable. This solves your problems of mincing multiple cloves of garlic as well as ginger, which is incredibly tedious otherwise! It is also perfect for emulsifying salad dressings - you can't go back to shaking once you've tried this.

  • a microplane. There is no excuse not to own one. It solves this issue of zesting citrus forever. It also shaves hard cheeses (Parmesan!) and chocolate. Tip: get one with a handle - the ones without handles always get bent or hurt you.
  • a reamer. This will juice a single lemon or lime in no time, saving you trips to the gym.
  • a mandoline. A good knife will, of course, do you, but having this is incredible when you have to slice anything THINLY. I use it for potato slices, apples, fennel, etc. It turns a 20 minute job into 2 minutes. They are now quite affordable. The parts will go in the upper rack of your dishwasher.
  • a meat tenderizer. Even if you don't eat meat, you will want to bash something flat at some point (it's great for crushing many cloves of garlic - or a whole head. Of garlic.). A good heavy metal one will be more reliable and even than bashing things with the bottom of a water glass wrapped in plastic wrap (which is what I always used).
  • a rice cooker. This may seem decadent since it's a "one project" device, but I assure it it is not. It will free up a burner for you and you will never burn your rice with inattentiveness nor turn it out raw.
  • 6 6-ounce ramekins. Not only came you bake in these (individual cakes, souffles, pate), but you can use them for food preparation and put ingredients in each dish. So useful.
  • an immersion blender. Get a good name brand since others can fall apart (viz: my mom with a broken wand, knee deep in puree). If you've ever had a recipe say "working in batches, transfer soup to blender and puree. Then return to pot and reheat," you need this. You simply plunge the device into the pot and you have puree in a matter of moments. Brilliant.

Worth the Expense (When your ship comes in)

  • The Food Processor

Yes, it is wonderful. It turns out perfect pastry dough, makes hummous and baba ganoosh (which the mini-chopper can't hold), slices various small vegetables. I love mine - there really isn't a substitute since it saves an incredible amount of time and has n=so much capacity. You want a 12 or 14 cup model. More or less isn't optimum.

  • The Juicer. if you make Mediterranean food, you need this. I regularly juice 6 or more lemons in no time with mine. It's a one-project device, but a wonderful time saver. Make sure to get one that properly separates the seeds from the juice.
  • The Standing Mixer. This is the Cadillac of the food world - Kitchen Aid is The Only Game in Town. It is $$$. But you will whip out cakes and doubled cake batters in no time. It will save MUCH grief in the creaming stages. It also handles bread dough like a pro. Also, it comes with various lovely attachments like the food mill and ice cream maker. Mine is red. I love it. It was a gift I didn't deserve.
  • The Ice Cream Maker. This is basically a motor with a removable bowl you allow to live in your freezer. Simply make the ice cream custard, place in frozen bowl, put in motorized chamber and you have ice cream. It's amazing. Also no substitute for this.
  • The Waffle Iron. Again, there is no substitution for this. Get a high quality one. A tip: I have Belgian waffle maker and while I'm not complaining, I now wish I had a regular (thin) waffle maker since this one makes very deep waffles and eats up batter, yielding fewer waffles. Plus, I like thin crispy waffles!




Add a New Comment

tag your recipe!
Your recipe will appear automatically under one of the side menus by adding one or more of these tags:
appetizers breakfast breakfast-eggs desserts desserts-tips desserts-web drinks drinks-hot drinks-summer drinks-wine drinks-na meat-beef meat-pasta meat-pork meat-poultry meat-web salads-green salads-green salads-vegetable salads-bean salads-hearty salads-meat salads-dressings seafood sides-vegetable sides-starchy sides-bean sides-web soups soups-web meatless-beans meatless-pasta meatless-rice meatless-soups meatless-soy meatless-vegetable meatless-web
chinese indian italian korean mexican middle-eastern spanish tips
spring summer fall winter

To edit this wiki, make sure you are signed in and then click "edit" at the bottom of the page.

To create a link to another page, copy and paste this code into the editable window:

[[[page-title| Link Text]]]

If the final link appears in blue, you have correctly established a link.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License