Before my husband and I got married, we went through Target with one of those fancy wedding registry scanners, adding kitchen tools galore to our registry list. I wasn’t much of a cook at the time (fancy dinner was spaghetti with jarred sauce) and I had no idea what I would actually need for our kitchen. Many of the items I still have and use – like the measuring cups and spoons, the silicone spatulas, and the super adorable nesting bowl set. Some of the items slowly made their way to the Salvation Army in the form of donations. For example, never did I use the egg slicer. I’ve never sliced an egg into rings in my life, and I don’t intend to start now. I’m not sure what possessed me to put that on our wedding registry. A few items didn’t make it at all – like the super trendy glasses we wanted that were terribly constructed and broke when being hand-washed. After three shattered in this manner, I threw the rest away. They were too dangerous!
Now that I cook almost daily, I realize how silly I was to add so many trinkets to our list. There are only a few kitchen tools that I use every day. Today I’m sharing 5 Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without!
1. My 8 inch Wusthof Chef’s Knife. My husband got me this for Christmas in 2014, and I have used it almost every single day since. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny. I never listened to people who told me to invest in a good chef’s knife until I actually got one. It is a lifesaver in my kitchen. I have cut myself so many times with other knives, but not a single time with this one. It’s the perfect weight so it doesn’t slip off of what I’m chopping and slice open my finger. It’s extremely sharp, which is much safer than cutting with a dull knife. If I didn’t have this knife I’m fairly certain I would have been to the ER by now to get stitches. If you don’t listen to anything else I say in this post, GET A GOOD KNIFE. It will completely change your cooking experience.
2. My Bamboo Cutting Board. Mine was slightly different than the one I’m linking to on Amazon, but that’s because I got it on sale at Publix on a random day and it’s been so long I’m not sure what brand it was. Mine has a groove just like this one and is the same size. My bamboo cutting board is the perfect accompaniment to my chef’s knife. I am chopping, dicing, slicing, or mincing something on it daily. Because it’s bamboo, it doesn’t dull my knife. I wash it in warm water and soap, and it dries almost immediately. I’ve had the same one for about two years now. It’s starting to show its age, but I’m confident it has at least another year, possibly two, of use before I need to replace it. **IMPORTANT** I only cut veggies and fruits on this board. I’m vegan, so that’s not an issue. My husband, however, is not. This is the one kitchen tool that I am very strict about – no meat can ever be cut on this board. I have a cheap plastic cutting board that can be used when necessary for that type of food. I would never feel like the cutting board was actually clean if it was used for meat, even if it had been washed.
3. My Vitamix. Again, not a cheap tool, but it is one that I use daily. I saved for several years before finally purchasing one. I bought one of the certified reconditioned ones so that it was a little bit less expensive. I love my Vitamix. I’ve made smoothies, spreads, sauces, and soups in it. It makes dressings, dips, “cheese,” and batter. It even makes ice cream from frozen bananas! This is one of two kitchen tools that never gets put away. It has a permanent spot on my counter, because I got tired of getting it out every single day to use it. There are other high-speed blenders on the market, so if you can find a better deal go for it. As for me though, I’ll never give up my Vitamix.
4. My Ikea Cookware Set. When I got my cookware set from Ikea, the pots and pans I was using were seriously banged up. I had one lid between 4 pots, and most of them were scratched beyond all recognition. I paid $80.00 for my cookware set a few years ago and I LOVE it. The one I’ve linked to above is the closest thing I could find on their website. It has the same number of pieces that mine does, but the handles on the pot lids are slightly different, and it’s a bit more expensive. Of course, I bought my set in store and a few years ago. Prices may have gone up since then. I use the skillet and the medium pot the most, but every single size pot has been well loved since I got them. I purchased the middle of the line set – not the really cheap ones, but not the ones that would make me go broke either. They cook food wonderfully, and they are so easy to clean. Even when I’ve burnt something onto them (and believe me, I have) a soak in some warm water lifts the food right off. They conduct heat well and are just marvelous. I don’t use any other pots.
5. My Rice Cooker. This rice cooker is the only item on my list that I don’t use daily. However, I do use it at least once a week. I am literally always cooking rice. Before owning this kitchen tool, I didn’t eat much rice, because it would inevitably get burned to the bottom of my pot. I hated cleaning rice pots. This rice cooker makes it so easy for me. It’s the only thing that stays out on my counter next to my beloved Vitamix. Get a rice cooker. It will save you so much time.
I get seriously jealous when I watch Food Network and they show beautiful kitchens. The kitchen in our rented condo is small, and it has white laminate countertops. Yes, I said white. And laminate. The countertops are horrendous. They show every crumb and spot, and they’re annoyingly hard to clean. The only way to get them stain free seems to be with bleach, and I really hate the smell of bleach. The cabinets are small, the refrigerator is tiny, and there is simply not enough room for two people to be in there at once without someone getting burned or stabbed by accident. Because of the state of my kitchen, I spend a lot of time dreaming about what kind of room I’d like to cook in someday.
I want REAL countertops. And they had better not be white. I want a stainless steel, double door refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. I could fit so many vegetables in there you guys! I want an island. A beautiful, modern island that you can pull bar stools up to for breakfast or socializing. I want a dishwasher that actually cleans dishes (my current one doesn’t at all). And I’d really, really love a stove with more than four burners and double ovens. I’ve been playing around with this Build Your BlueStar site all night, thinking about what kind of range I would buy for my dream kitchen. There’s so many options y’all!! I could have a skinny oven, a wide oven, or one and a half ovens. I could have a combination of burners and charbroil/griddle stations. I could cook ALL THE THINGS with one of those ranges. And I could make it red. Or blue. Or pink! Well, maybe not pink. My husband wouldn’t really go for that last one. 😉
Before I started cooking seriously, I surveyed kitchens from a purely aesthetic point of view. Now I want function and prettiness. Someday, this will happen.
What kitchen tools are your must-haves? Do you have a dream kitchen? Tell me about it! And if you don’t have a dream kitchen, check out BlueStar Cooking. You’ll get the kitchen dreamin’ bug instantly.