Tools such as frying pans, plates, utensils, and oven mitts are a given but many kitchens are packed with infomercial choppers, celebrity-endorsed grilling machines, fruit-leather making dehydrators, and specialized gadgets (looking at you cherry-pitter!) that make your counter look more like a garage sale. Let’s slash through the superfluous to get to the juicy core of what you really need in your kitchen. Don’t throw away your spatulas and whisks; do, however, invest in these five tools and gadgets so you can get to the basics and have enough space to cook like a pro.
Cast Iron Skillet
Now you’ll have to build up some bicep strength for this one, but it’ll be well worth it. These heavy skillets are made for searing and high temperature cooking. They’re also excellent tools for imparting flavor once you’ve used them long enough (and cleaned them with just salt and water, never soap.) With this beauty, you don’t need a grill to get that caramelized crust; just a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and the self-restraint to not flip a burger patty until it’s ready.
“Hot-weather soup maker”, “sauce-helper”, and “smoothie god” are just some of the names we lovingly shout as we’re stroking our blender. While you don’t need a machine with 15 settings, opt for something with enough power to annihilate harder to blend foods such as nuts to make nut butters. With a blender, throwing together pesto, gazpacho, and post-gym recovery drinks becomes a breeze.
One Sharp Chef Knife
You know how most people mangle their phalanges? Dull knives are always to blame. Resist getting a wood block set of 12 for cheap. Instead, opt for one sturdy chef’s knife that feels good in your hand. Just learning a few simple cutting techniques guarantees smooth sailing come prep time. Evenly slicing foods isn’t just for aesthetics either; precise cuts means even cooking which later translates to good eatin’.
You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that this gadget is a favorite among the bridge and canasta-loving types. But grandma’s on to something! You see, a crock pot is like having an extra set of hands to do the cooking while you’re out frolicking the fields. Throw in stew ingredients and let it simmer, or toss in a few servings of oats and water for a make-ahead breakfast; whatever you put inside the crockpot will come out succulent on the other end, with no real help from you.
We’ve all been at the sad end of trying to cover a salad in dressing in a shallow bowl; spinach on the floor and despair in our hearts. The solution? A nice big mixing bowl. As great for tossing salads as it is for mixing dressing, perfect for stirring pancake batter, and serving family-sized portions come dinner time, whether it’s wood, glass, or metal, one big bowl is a tool that’ll go a long way.