I guess you could say I am more of a traditional kind of cook. I don’t use a lot of gadgets. Sure, I might drool over a stand mixer with a pasta attachment, but realistically I know I won’t use it. I tend to avoid things that only have one use or are redundant because of something else I already own. I might be more careful about the clutter in my kitchen because I don’t have a lot of counter or cabinet space, I am not sure, but I try to make sure that the kitchen tools I have are necessary items I actually use on a regular basis. Here are a list of some things that I’ve been able to function without:
A food processor. I know some people swear by them, but I already have a blender. I haven’t found much that I would use a food processor for that I can’t do with my blender. The average person doesn’t need both, and you’re way more likely to have a blender.
Zester. If you have a fine plane on your cheese grater, you’re probably set here.
Any kind of specific slicer. I was given a cheese slicer once, and that was pretty cool. But it broke and I really haven’t felt the need to replace it, because I also have a knife, which actually slices cheeses better than the cheese slicer did. They make strawberry slicers, and again, I have to wonder—how hard is it to just use a knife and slice them? It isn’t like it takes all that long, and a knife is easier to clean than one of those slicers. At least something like an apple slicer cores the apple when you cut it, and I guess if you were often eating apples that would make sense for you.
Rice cooker. That probably sounds like blasphemy coming from me, but I prefer a pressure cooker. It serves the same purpose, but it isn’t a one-trick-pony. If counter space wasn’t a premium, I might think differently, but for now any taste difference doesn’t justify having both things lying around my house.
There’s probably more, but it’s hard to come up with stuff that’s NOT in my kitchen, you know? If I am going to buy something for the kitchen, it is going to have to WORK for that valuable counter or cabinet space. So far, these are the things that I have found are totally worth it:
good pots and pans. I don’t know if you’re into copper or stay cool handles or whatever, it doesn’t matter to me. With the different brands and sizes available, it’s not hard to find something that works well for you. Get good ones, because it will make food easier and faster to cook. Plus, they’re usually expensive for a reason—they last! Invest in a set with a variety of sizes and lids so that you have options when you’re cooking. Although sets don’t necessarily come with a wok, I recommend one of those as well.
good measuring tools. Don’t buy cheap measuring cups where the labels or measurements wear off after a few washes. Get the good ones. Also get a liquids measuring cup that you can see from above as well as alongside. You’d be surprised how quickly that comes in handy.
Good, sharp knives.You’re going to be cutting things in just about every recipe you make, so be sure to have a set of great knives. Make sure they are comfortable to hold and use, and can cut a variety of items. Invest in a knife sharpener and you won’t need to replace them for a long time to come.
Quality Cutting Board. With the good, sharp knives you bought, you’ll need some cutting boards. I like the kind you can throw right into the dishwasher. I have a color coding system to help me remember which type of food I cut on each (red for red meats, green for veggies, etc).
On any given day, those are probably the only things I am reaching for to make myself a meal!