My sister-in-law Kelsey asked me to write a post about the top ten things I think everyone should have in their kitchen. I’m pretty passionate about some of my kitchen tools and have been known to travel with them to less-than-well-appointed kitchens (like the one in Gavin’s bachelor apartment).
I honestly think you probably need more than ten things in your kitchen, no matter how simple you’re going, so I’m going to split things out into sub-categories (not all will have ten things). This one is going to be the tools section.
1. OXO tongs. Or really any kind of nylon/silicone head tongs that are decently long and sufficiently grippy. These can be used for TONS of things and in fact, I gave them to all of my bridesmaids as part of their wedding gift. Honestly, I wish I had a second set, and so does main-dishwasher Gavin. These also make a great spaghetti server, way better than those dedicated spaghetti ones.
2. Paring knife. I have one of these knives (they come in tons of colors, mine is orange) and they are not only affordable, but also a Cooks Illustrated top choice.
3. Chef’s knife. This is the other knife you really need and will make your big tasks, like cutting five pounds of potatoes, much easier. Pick one that you like the feel of in your hand and that is reasonably-priced, not the cheapest thing you can find. That’s not going to last or be pleasant to use.
4. Box grater. I’m so passionate about the need for grated cheese that I convinced Gavin to buy one of these for his apartment before we got married. I like the box style because it’s the easiest to use, although slightly more annoying to store. Yes, you can buy your cheese pre-grated but then it’s covered in that powdery stuff and your macaroni and cheese will not taste as good. Plus you can use this to slice cheese, grate parmesan or lemon zest finely, turn potatoes into hash browns, or grate carrots for carrot cake.
5. Heat-resistant spatula. This is useful for scraping AND cooking, which makes it a winner. I have a few, but my favorite is definitely this one from OXO. (Noticing a trend?)
6. Good-quality flipper. This doesn’t get quite as much use as some of my other tools, but if you ever want to make anything remotely pancake-y or burger-y, a spatula is the best tool for the job. Again, OXO makes a great one.
7. Cutting boards. I have a giant wooden one that lives on my counter and I love and some smaller plastic ones for raw-meat-jobs, but I would really recommend one wood and one plastic. Wood is better for your knives and is both more enjoyable and beautiful but I just feel better about putting anything with raw chicken juices on it directly into the dishwasher.
8. Measuring spoons and cups. I like metal ones, but almost anything will do. Just make sure the labels for the measuring spoons look like they’re going to stick around (embossed or raised letters are a good bet) or you’ll be confused someday. Having a 1/4 teaspoon is nice, but you can usually eyeball it anyway.
9. Peeler. You can definitely make tons of things without a peeler, but you’re also limited to buying baby carrots and eating your potatoes with the skins on. I like big carrots and sometimes I even like my potatoes peeled. So I think a peeler can be handy.
10. Mixing bowls. It’s nice to have a set with a small, medium, and large. Ours nest and have air-tight lids, so we can also use them for food storage, which is nice, but (kitchen hack alert), a plate works pretty well as a lid for most bowls.
There are obviously tons of other things I own and love (meat thermometer, kitchen scale, even a cherry pitter), but I think you could definitely make the basics with these ten things!
If you could add one more thing to the list, what would it be?