Kitchen & Gadgets

The 20 Most-Important Kitchen Gadgets

April 23 2012 - 4:13 PM


Today I was posed with the question, out of all of my kitchen gadgets, which are the most important ones and what could I do without. This was just on the heels of some sous vide scrambled eggs with the interviewer which she admitted were the best scrambled eggs she can remember. The interview was all about kitchen stuff and how much money it all costs. After the hour and a half it left me thinking. Do I need that Sous Vide Supreme? The air-drying dish rack? My wine decanters? My Le Creuset terrine? In a nutshell, I need probably none of it. It doesn’t mean I’m getting rid of all of it but in the grand scheme, a cluttered kitchen is a less useful kitchen and given all the products I’m playing with, from the Sodastream to the Cuisinart Soup Blender, how do I manage? Where do I draw the line?

As I’m unlikely to solve this problem this moment, I will start simply with what I do need. Things I will find in my kitchen no matter where I move or how much or little space I have. So in the order of importance, here is the list of the top 20 most important kitchen tools. Feel free to disagree!

1 – 8″ Chefs knife. This is your food processor. There’s actually very little you can’t do with a good knife (sous vide scrambled eggs aside).

2 – Cutting Board. A couple actually would make the most sense. I like a wooden one for veggies and bread and can serve on it but I want a germ-phobic sealed board for meat, poultry, fish, etc.

3 – Non-stick omelet Pan. 8″ a good one. Don’t use it over high heat and don’t heat it empty. That’s how you ruin the non-stick coating.

4- stock pot– From pasta to soup, it’s needed.

5- peeler– you can use your chefs for this, especially if you’ve got awesome knife skills… but I don’t and potato peeling kind of sucks to begin with.

6- 12″ fry pan– NOT non-stick. A good pan to brown and sear meat, fish, develop a nice fond… The non-stick is not used for much… stick to this workhorse pan.

7- 3 qt wide saute pan. More surface area to cook down a tomato sauce faster, or make meat balls, or risotto. The other workhorse pan.

8- White nesting work bowls. They nest to take up less room. They hold ice and water to cool blanched veggies, they hold ice and water to quickly chill a bottle of white… and you can mix stuff from pancake batter to salad.

9- glass measuring cup. And you can drink your coffee out of it. Enough said.

10- measuring spoons. Since we’re all anal about something.

11- Glass casserole. Doubles as a service piece. I’ve roasted chicken in mine one day and then made lasagna in it the next.

12- covered ceramic bowl. Microwave safe is the charm here. I cheat and steam green beans in it… then toss them in oil (in the aforementioned white bowl and then flash them in the 12″ pan…) return to the ceramic bowl to serve. You can also reheat anything in it. It’s not plastic so it makes it extra microwave-safe.

13- blender. You can’t chop as finely as a blender. From soups, to sauces, to smoothies to crushed ice cocktails… It really does something you couldn’t really otherwise do…

14- food processor. Chef’s knife could do pretty much anything a food processor does but you don’t have that much time.

15-strainer. A strainer and a food processor might make up for a blender in the soup dept. But in reality you chuck all the good fiber this way. Get the blender and save the strainer for draining pasta and rinsing canned beans.

16- toaster oven. Reheating pizza and crispy things that the microwave might ruin as well as toasting toast. And it saves energy over using the full sized oven.

17- dutch oven. someone is reading this and saying, “Where’s the slow cooker?” This is the slow cooker.

18- pepper mill. fresh cracked pepper should be in or on almost everything you cook. This isn’t to be used for spices… smash those with your chef’s knife.

19- french press. You can make soup in it… and tea. It makes great-tasting coffee. I guess unless you throw your beans in your pepper mill, you’ll be using the grinder at the grocery store. Big whup.

20- hand mixer/stand mixer. This is really on this list as something most people would likely use. I never use mine.I would likely take a hand mixer over the stand but maybe someone will give me a good reason to opt for the stand. I don’t bake but someday I will. Most stand mixers have endless other gadgets to attach- from sausage stuffers to pasta rollers. It’s a toolbox in and of itself.

What did I miss?

(small kitchen image via shutterstock)

–Josh Brusin