My husband can fix anything. And to prove it, he has thousands of dollars of tools in the garage. I remember the first time we bought him nice tools — the kind that come with a lifetime warranty and of which his friends would be jealous. He almost cried. But I said, “Look. I’m tired of buying you cheap tools that break within a year. I want you to have good tools that won’t break on you when you need them most. It’s worth paying the premium.”
What, you ask, does this have to do with food? Well, I am by no means a professional cook. Nor do I have an extensive kitchen budget. But, sometimes having the right tool makes all the difference. Over the years, I’ve slowly been investing in my kitchen. These are the things I now believe my kitchen would be incomplete without, in order of most to least used (although all are used regularly!).
Without a doubt, the MOST used item in my entire kitchen. I use it like a skillet, a wok, and a sauce pan. I cook with it on the stove or in the oven. It’s easy to clean and even easier to use. Talk about cooking food evenly! That’s All-Clad’s specialty.
Cast iron. Need I say more? Perfect for frying up bacon and other tasty goodies.
I got this cutting board as a wedding present 12 years ago. It has survived daily use and abuse. It’s large enough to cut up multiple items at once. It hasn’t cracked, even though I’m only mildly good at oiling it.
While I wish for a VitaMix or a Bosch, I settle for my good old Oster. This one has an all-metal drive, so it actually LASTS. Honestly, I can’t complain. I’ve used it for just about every imaginable blender task from blending smoothies to grinding grains, and it’s held up remarkably well. During the summer it gets used almost every morning to make a giant smoothie.
Perhaps the most versatile tool in my kitchen, thanks to its many attachments. I use it not only as a standard mixer, but also as a food processor, a grain mill, and an ice cream maker.
I love glass bakeware, particularly the kind that can go from the oven to the serving table to storage in the fridge. To do that, it has to be 100% glass, including the lids. I’ve got a set of 6 of the smaller 12oz size, and I use them as my standard food storage container in my refrigerator for leftovers. Nothing’s easier than whipping out the leftovers and popping them in my counter-top convection toaster oven for a quick lunch for the kids. I also collect old Pyrex casserole dishes for the same purpose, but they don’t sell those new with glass lids anymore. That goodness for Good Will and other thrift stores!
Believe it or not, I actually paid money for nice, stainless steel measuring cups & spoons! Why? Because I was tired of having my old ones break apart or bend out of shape. The spoons are stamped out of a single piece of heavy steel, so there’s no rivets or joints to wiggle loose with time. Plus they feel NICE (I mean *really nice*) in your hand.
If you’re interested in finding out more about any of the above products, just click on the product name and you’ll jump to Amazon where you can read customer reviews, buy the product, or search for similar products more suited to your own kitchen needs.
I’m still hunting for the perfect set of knives and general kitchen utensils. Right now I’m using an old Cutco set that was my grandmother’s before she passed away. They’re okay, but I’m certain there are better ones out there!
I also know that if I regularly baked, I’d probably really want a good set of stainless steel bake ware. But, baking is not something I do that much of right now, so my bake ware is a hodge podge of stuff I’ve collected or been given. For a good listing of kitchen tools, appliances, bake ware, and more, check out my Resources Page.