Back to the basics: 10 recommended kitchen items for the home cook

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About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she traded her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters, cloth diapers and a laptop, serving as editor at Simple Bites.


All photos are by Aimée.

“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.”

-Barbara Costikyan

Ever wonder how your mother or grandmother functioned without all the modern day conveniences and kitchen gadgets that are now available?  You know what?  I’ll bet she did just fine.  In fact, she was probably just as efficient in the kitchen as the average home cook today.

Everywhere you turn, companies hawk every gadget imaginable, trying to convince us that this tool or this utensil will transform us into Martha Stewart on Christmas Day.  While I fully believe that having the right tool for the job can make cooking more enjoyable and productive, I also think that the typical kitchen is cluttered with useless gadgets.

Some of these gizmos, such as an apple peeler/corer actually take more time to assemble, use, disassemble,wash, dry and put away than if you were doing the job by hand with a paring knife!

I already had an idea for this article when Tsh announced her Back to Basics series, and in doing so, she confirmed that a roll call of useful kitchen items was, indeed, an important step in equipping our kitchens for back to basic meal planing and preparation.

It’s time to clear the clutter and trinkets that you seldom use, and invest in a few high-quality (but not necessarily high cost) items for daily use that will last you a lifetime.

My Top Ten Kitchen Items

Here is a peek into my kitchen and the items I rely on every day for my cooking and baking. There is nothing overly extravagant, like a Pacojet ice-cream maker (please, Santa), but these items are all as dear to me as a close friend, and make daily cooking a pleasure.

You’ll notice I’ve left out some obvious essentials on the list such as measuring spoons and cups, a can opener, a wooden spoon, and the like, because to me these are staples–like your kitchen table and chairs–and I think I can safely assume that every kitchen has them.  They haven’t evolved much over the years, probably because they continue to serve their purpose in the best possible way without getting over-complicated.

Also, I’ve assigned a ball-park value to each item to give you an idea of what you should expect to spend on these items. Remember prices may vary from country to country, and bargains certainly can be found on all items.  Don’t rule out second-hand shopping; good quality items such as All-Clad or Le Crueset cookware can have more than one life.

under $20 $
$20-$50 $$
$50-$100 $$$
$100-$150 $$$$

1.  A Good Knife – $$$

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good quality knife. A sharp knife will save you so much time and is the best investment you can make in your kitchen. I recommend starting with a 6-1/2″ chef’s knife and a small paring knife, as about 90% of all knife work can be completed with this pair.

2.  Melamine Mixing Bowls – $$

These nesting mixing bowls are durable, lightweight and heat resistant. I love color, and these bowls are a fun and cheery way to mix up anything! Rubber base rings grip the counter, making these my choice over stainless steel mixing bowls.

3.  Tongs – $

Perhaps one of the most useful kitchen tools ever, I refer to my tongs as my third hand because I reach for them so often during the day. If you think tongs are just for turning meat on the BBQ, then you need to play around with them a little more.

Try using them to loosen boiling spaghetti (eliminating those unfriendly octopi), toss a salad, turn cubes of browning stew meat or chicken, fish out deep-fried nuggets, and do virtually anything that is too hot or icky to do with your bare hands.

Tip: Don’t leave the tongs in the kitchen once dinner is ready! Bring them to the table and use them to dish up your meal in an efficient and tidy way.

4. Stainless Fry Pans – $$$

If the house was on fire, I would probably grab the kids and my All-Clad pans from the kitchen before leaving. Heavy enough to sear a steak or dissolve sugar, these versatile stovetop-to-oven fry pans just might actually make my food taste better. I’ve disturbed them nearly every day from where they sleep on my pot rack, yet then show almost no sign of wear and tear.

5.  Large Cutting Board – $$

Essential for any kitchen, an all-purpose cutting board can never be too big. My hefty wooden board has many different uses, ranging from basic everyday food prep to cheese board at a party.

Tip: Bigger is better! As long as you have storage space for it, your cutting board can’t be too big. Often I’ll have at least three different items in various stages of preparation in three corners of my large board.

6.  Silicone Spatula – $

The perfect balance between firm and flexible and available in every pretty color imaginable: it’s the spatula all grown up. Heat resistant to 800F, these spatulas were probably invented by someone who often absentmindedly set the spatula down on the hot stove next to the pot. Guilty!

The silicone head won’t scratch non-stick cookware, and is easily removed and tossed in the dishwasher for proper disinfecting.

7. Fine Mesh Sieves – $


Perfect for straining sauces, sifting flours or passing delicate purees, these durable sieves are irreplaceable in my kitchen and are always within my reach. I use them for countless other purposes such as rinsing rice and beans, washing berries, and straining pulp and seeds out of citrus.

It’s convenient to have this first-class tool in a few different sizes, but a standard five-inch size will accommodate most cooking uses.

Tip: Just washed your sieve, but now you need it to sift some dry ingredients? If the oven is on, pop it in for a minute or two and it will dry in a jiffy.

8.  Immersion Blender – $$$

Where would I be without this hand blender to puree soups, whip up batches of creamy salad dressing, emulsify sauces, blend together smoothies, and puree baby food? There is no question that this tool simplifies my life in the kitchen. Best feature: the removable head allows for a quick clean-up. After a knife, this just may be a kitchen’s second-most versatile tool.

Note: Most hand-blenders (or stick blenders, as they are also known) also come with several handy attachments, like a whisk and a chopper/mini food processor.

9.  Dutch Oven – $$$$


I *heart* my Red Le Creuset 7 ¼ quart Round French Oven. Pasta sauces, bold curries, meaty stews, delicate custards – you name it. This pot is never empty in my kitchen and never wears out. It functions as slow cooker, rice pudding pot, lazy paella pan, and just about every one-pot wonder you can imagine. A beloved wedding present, I know this high quality pot will outlast me in the kitchen.

10.  Baking Sheet – $

Yes we’re cookie fiends around here, but our baking sheets get much more action then just gingersnaps and shortbread. On any given day they could be occupied by stale bread, drying in the oven for breadcrumbs, catching vegetable peelings, or holding a mountain of shish kebabs headed for the BBQ.

Tip: Visit a restaurant supply store to find the really big cookie sheets (15″x 20″); otherwise don’t invest tons of money on expensive sheets. I find the older and more warped they are, the better cookies they make!

Bonus!

11.  Braun Aromatic Coffee Grinder – $$

A worthwhile investment for the serious home cook, my little coffee grinder works perfectly for grinding spices and hasn’t been used for coffee in some time. Without it, making those batches of homemade garam masala would be a lot more work. If you buy your spices whole and prefer to grind them yourself, this is a time saving tool for you.

Tip:Switching from a curry to cinnamon? Simply pulse some coarse salt through it to remove odours and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Baker’s Dozen! One last item for the serious baker…

12.  Stand Mixer – $$$$$

If tongs are my third hand, this beauty is my third arm. This cherished wedding present does it all — from the softest pizza dough to the fluffiest butter cream, with countless batches of cookies in between.
Some of its features include:
325-watt mixer with 10 speeds;
5-quart stainless steel bowl
Tilt-back head for easy access to mixture
two-piece pouring shield with large chute for adding ingredients
Includes flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip

Depending on your style of cooking, upbringing, or ethnicity there might be a few items missing from this list that you can’t function without.

Take a slow cooker, for example; although I seldom use mine (I received as a gift), it has been called the working woman’s best friend, and has probably saved the day for many a busy woman balancing work and home.

How about a wok? For some, the wok could star in the preparation of several meals a week, yet for those who seldom cook Asian-inspired dishes, it may collect dust for a year.

Each household has their own beloved ‘top ten’ kitchen items, and today I am sharing mine with you. I hope you don’t come away from this post thinking, “Aimée says I need to have a spice grinder”, and then go purchase something that you’ll never use. Instead, let my list free you to embrace the ‘less is more’ motto, and stock your kitchen with a few key items that are invaluable for cooking.

Make sure that any additions to your tools are indeed saving time, and not overly gadgety. Remember, it’s about getting back to basics — I’m sure your grandmother would approve.

What do kitchen item do you reach for every day? What is your most prized tool? Feel free to share your ‘Top Ten.’

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Comments

  1. I LOVE my chopping mats – they are so much more convenient than a cutting board! They are flexible enough for me to roll them up with everything inside and the load slides into a pan or a pot. For such a clumsy cook as I am these are magnificent.
    .-= Emma @ Baby-log.com´s last blog ..Toys That Last – Sassy Me In The Mirror =-.

  2. I love, love, love my Kitchen-Aid mixer, too! I was so nervous when we spent the money, but it has become an investment that sees a lot of action – well worth it.

    Jamie
    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..Help Design My Book Cover! =-.

  3. I think that having a good chef’s knife and cutting board can not be overstated here. I use mine nearly every day.

    A garlic press and rasp are two other things that are handy, but not necessary.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Adrenal Fatigue: Symptoms and Diagnosis =-.

  4. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    I have a deep and enduring love for my silicone spatulas (especially the one that is slightly curved so it can be used as a spoon). I use them all the time because I don’t have to worry about them melting if I leave them in the pot, and they are amazing for scooping out that last little bit of batter.

    And I grew up not having good knives in my kitchen, so when I got a good chefs knife for a wedding present it was like a whole new world of cooking opened up to me.

    And I definitely agree with you about not having too many extraneous gadgets, however for someone who has apple trees and cans applesauce and apple pie filling, an apple-peeler-corer slicer really is nice to have, and can be fun for the kids to do too.

  5. I received a set of 10 glass Duralex nesting bowls when we got married 12 years ago. I’m pretty sure not a day in the kitchen goes by that I don’t use at least one of those bowls. The ginormous one is great for mixing bread, while the small ones are perfect for getting all your ingredients in place before you start cooking. Great post!

  6. I Love Love Love my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It was a wedding present and let me tell you getting a kitchen aid as a wedding present is pretty impressive when you only have 4 couples you invite to the wedding! I may have made the wedding day a little happier! :) I use it weekly when making home made bread dough and couldn’t imagine baking anything from scratch with out it!

  7. avatar
    Brittany says:

    My cast iron skillet and vintage Pyrex mixing bowls (my current favorite is a large yellow beauty) rate at the top of my list of must haves in a kitchen. It may seem silly to some, but having beautiful, function, and largely vintage items to cook and eat food with make me so happy. It is the little things in life…

  8. I received my Kitchen Aid mixer in college as a birthday present. I loved to bake even when I didn’t cook very much:). It’s hands-down my most prized kitchen tool.

    I have wanted to switch over to stainless pots and pans for a while (in order to get rid of the Teflon). Is that going to be a shocking experience for me? Will everything stick? I’d love to see a post about how to switch and tips for using stainless.
    .-= Stacie @ newmommyhelp.net´s last blog ..Feel Like A Failure? You Are Significant. =-.

    • It might take a little getting used to, but I think you would like stainless. The trick is to heat the pan first, then add the appropriate grease (butter, oil, etc), let it heat and then start cooking. If you add an egg or salmon fillet to a luke-warm pan, it will stick.
      .-= Aimee´s last blog ..In Which I Meet Food Bloggers =-.

    • avatar
      Brittany says:

      I made the switch at the end of the year and it did take a bit of getting used to…I definitely found that using a well oiled pan made a big difference. I have also rediscovered the joy of using a cast iron skillet for cooking – it is naturally non-stick (or close to, anyway). I then use a nylon scraper designed for The Pampered Chef’s stoneware for anything that does stick and it comes right off!

  9. I am a working mum and would definitely include a slow cooker in my top ten kitchen appliance list! I would recommend it for anyone who regularly spends most of the day out of the house and wants to come back to a meal all ready to eat, with little danger of it becoming overdone. Very easy to use and clean, I think a lot of stay at home mums would find a slow cooker very useful too…

  10. Wow, Aimee! What an INCREDIBLE list! I have been meaning to get an immersion blender for years. I guess I need to move it up on my wish list!

    I have a great pair of kitchen shears that I use for many, many things throughout the day – cutting pizza slices down to size for little hands, snipping chicken breasts into strips, chopping bacon down to size . . . it’s one of my most-used throughout the day, to be sure.

    Again, FANTASTIC list. Thank you for sharing it today!
    .-= Megan at Simple Kids´s last blog ..What We’re Reading Wednesdays: Riley And Rose in the Picture =-.

  11. Oh yes, the stand mixer and Dutch Oven are very close to the top of my list, as well as my chef’s knife.

    I also have a large indoor grill that is great for getting meats on the table in record time. Of course, I can’t forget the slow cooker. Great list!!
    .-= Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last blog ..Hey Mom, What’s for Lunch? =-.

  12. My favorite item in the kitchen is not a tool but it’s something I couldn’t live without…………….my CAST IRON pans. I use them almost everytime I cook; from making grilled cheese, stirfrying veggies, making chili and baking cornbread in the oven. They are a great investment and so durable. They last forever too, they only get better with age.

    On my wishlist is a KITCHEN AID mixer :)
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog .. =-.

  13. Great post! I love kitchen tools that make life easier!! I love my {pampered chef} garlic press, my crockpot, and my santoku knife.
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..Who’s who? =-.

  14. We could so use a good set of knives… It might be a little dangerous for a while after being used to ours for so long though!
    .-= PS~Erin´s last blog ..Spending Hiatus: Flea Market Confessions =-.

  15. I agree 100% with your list. I feel hamstrung when cooking in a kitchen that doesn’t have a nice big sharp chef’s knife (my mom’s didn’t).

    Some of the items I love (and my mom didn’t have when I was growing up):

    * Baker’s bench knife (great for dividing dough portions and clearing wooden bread board)
    * Plastic bowl scraper (works much better than spatulas to get the batter out of the bowl – cheap and doesn’t take up any space)
    * Microplane grater (awesome for lemon zest and chocolate)
    * parchment paper (OK, not really a “tool”, but great when baking cookies and other sticky stuff)

  16. I SO agree with the Kitchen Mixer love. I use mine all the time and the cobalt blue color I will never tire of! I also use my kitchen shears frequently and find them so versatile. A new item I’d add?: a pizza cutter–invaluable with kids for cutting pizza, sandwiches and the like.
    .-= Kimm´s last blog ..Five Dollar Topiaries =-.

  17. avatar
    Nicole W. says:

    Great list! The coffee grinder took me by total surprise. Thanks for the tip on how to clean out the grinder! I buy my spices at a local spice shop and I am wondering if grinding your own makes a big difference.

    For my list I would have to add Silpat silicone baking sheets. They have saved me a lot of clean-up heartache.

  18. I’m not sure this even counts, but — Toaster Oven! My family didn’t have one growing up, but it’s been a life saver now that I’m trying not to use my microwave. And my rent house oven is a horrible old leaky thing with terrible temperature regulation. This summer I’ve baked plenty of meals for two in the toaster oven instead of heating up the whole house with the big oven.
    .-= Jessie´s last blog ..Craft Room, Finale =-.

  19. What a great list! I would also recommend people buy the best they can afford. TJMaxx is a great place to find high end kitchen gadgets for less. I bought my kitchen aid on ebay the professional model for just over $100 dollars including shipping the only thing I missed out on was picking a fun color!
    .-= shelle´s last blog ..one year ago =-.

  20. I really wanted a stand mixer for a long time. Now that I have it… I rarely use it! But I thought it stood for being a mom or a grown up or something (perhaps because MY mom loves hers and uses it all the time). Mine is that same one in the photo, but you can look for deals on those things. I got mine for $130 on sale. Which, yes, is expensive, but if you love it, it’s worth it.

    I have a colander on a stick sorta thing that I use everyday (not mesh – perhaps I should have gotten one of those). I strain my oatmeal so it isn’t super sticky (yes, I do have some weird issues). Looks like I’m missing a bunch of these key items! Melamine bowls. Want some.

  21. #9… i heart mine too (it’s aqua). what a versatile pot! i use it always but you could never tell… it’s so great! i also “heart” my pancake batter dispenser. sure… i could live and cook without it but i am so glad i don’t have to. aside from making perfectly round little pancakes, it fills muffin tins, cake pans and fillings beautifully! everyone should try to get that little item in their kitchen too :) thanks for posting… it was a fun checklist.

  22. I need to buy an Immersion Blender, but I don’t know which one to buy. I would like to make smoothies and homemade baby food. Do you have any suggestions?

    • I was happy with my $19.99 Braun version, w/o any attachments. Alas, I drove it to it’s grave, but not before it gave me many years of baby food and the like.

      I now have a Cuisinart, (pictured in the header photo) and it’s a lot more heavy duty, although more expensive too.

      It sounds like you could get by with the simplest model. Happy shopping!
      .-= Aimee´s last blog ..In Which I Meet Food Bloggers =-.

  23. Love the list!

    My addition, like another commenter, would be Silpat silicone baking sheets. I use them all the time for everything from sweet potato fries to almond roca. They live in my oven drawer atop the cookie sheets they fit in or have been cut to fit.
    .-= Gina (caleeo)´s last blog ..How Sweet Is This? =-.

  24. One of my favorite things is a glass batter bowl with a lid. It is terrific for mixing things up because I can hold the handle. I use it to prep things, then I can cover it and stick in in the fridge if needed. I didn’t register for it, but it ended up being one of my favorite wedding gifts.
    .-= Clutching to the Vine´s last blog ..Sticking to Routines =-.

  25. When we were diagnosed with Celiac disease almost two months ago, I had no choice but to get rid of many of my baking pans, utensils, cookie cutters and other contaminated kitchen items. I have only replaced a few (I do think less can be more in the kitchen), but I could not live without whisks. For gluten-free baking, they are a must. another must for me are ceramic or earthenware bowls. I like to mix in bowls with weight, and they are nicer to the earth than plastic. The kitchen Aid mixer and All-Clad pans are tops for me, too. Quality vs. quantity is best – the metal measuring cups are far, far better than plastic, even if they cost twice as much!
    .-= Casey´s last blog ..Simple Kids Showcase =-.

  26. avatar
    Denise C. says:

    I love anything kitchen related! Great list! Here are my top 10:
    -My 6 qt. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
    -My Set of ALL CLAD pots and pans
    -My coffee maker, a very important tool! :)
    -Good cookie sheets
    -Silicone mixing spoons
    -My Wustof Knife Set
    -My Kitchen Aid Food Processor (though I’d love to upgrade to a Vita Mix)
    -My Dutch Oven (great for everything!)
    -Deep Mixing Bowls (preferably not breakable since my kids are in the kitchen “helping.”
    -Best of all- MY HANDS!!! A cook’s best tool is her/his hands!
    :)

  27. Nice list! I love my Kitchen-Aid and immersion blender. I don’t know how I cooked without them. Thanks for the tip on drying out strainers. I’ll have to remember that one!
    .-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..All We Ever Wanted Was Everything =-.

  28. Love the article! I agree these are all essential tools for successful cooking without fumbling through the kitchen. All these commercial kitchen utensils can be found at Mission Restaurant Supply. The neat thing is that these are all commercial quality items offered at low prices with no minimum order and open to the public.

  29. What immersion blender do you recommend? we have had several and they ALL broke almost instantly or didn’t have nearly enough torque to do any real damage.

    Also, a 6 1/2 inch chef’s knife is too small for a lot. And I would argue for a serrated knife before a paring knife (since you can technically use a chef’s knife to peel/pare, but it is hard to cut bread with a chef’s knife).

    Also missed is a colander. I love my “over sink” colander – fantastic for washing veg as well as draining pasta.

    And would argue for a wooden spatula over a silicon one but I suspect that is a matter of personal prefernence.

    • Thanks for your comment, Siobhan!
      We used a Braun immersion blender in the professional kitchen for foaming sauces, making emulsions and such and they always enjoyed a long life. At home I have Cuisinart. What kind of damage are you talking about? It is a small, hand held blender, after all!

      Most people are terrified by my 7 1/2 inch chef’s knife and I think 6 1/2 is a good place to start. Once one is comfortable with that size, then perhaps consider a bigger knife, if one feels the need.
      Also I find I reach for a paring knife about 50x more than a serrated, then again we don’t eat a lot of bread! Or pasta for that matter.
      .-= Aimee´s last blog ..WFD? Peach & Ginger Glazed Salmon with Baby Beets =-.

      • RE: Immersion blender – what we found was that since the goal of the blender is to blend food more finely while still in the pot, it was hard to find a blender that did a good job – two main examples are tomato sauce and broccoli soup. The first blender we got couldn’t actually cut up anything fine enough. The second one we bought broke almost immediately. The third one was a very expensive gift ($99!) cordless with all sorts of attachments. The damned thing could not get a job done without running out of juice.

        So we just bought a decent stand blender and between that and the food processor, are able to get sauces and soups blended down. It has been frustrating b/c I love the concept – but have been very disappointed in the execution.

        RE: Knives. A few years ago, my husband took a professional chef knife training course and that has strongly influenced how we use knives now. I agree that big knives seem intimidating, but they are really better and easier to use properly. btw, the 6 inch knife in our kitchen is now being used by our 5 yr old (well supervised) to learn how to cut food properly. Get ‘em while they are young, right?

  30. One of my top ten kitchen must-haves is my salad spinner. I reach for it all the time!
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Washington DC Trip =-.

  31. Great list, I concur w/ everything *except* the Kitchen Aid mixer, but only b/c I’m NOT a baker. That said, it’s LONG been on my kitchen gadget wish list. I covet an Apple Green one w/ every bone in my body. LOL. What keeps me from buying it is that I don’t think I’d use it on a monthly basis, let alone weekly or daily.

    Good knives are a must. Buy the BEST knives for your kitchen you can afford. Start w/ a paring knife and a chef’s knife for sure. Don’t forget a sharpening steel though! Oh, and if you can afford it, a serrated bread knife is a nice thing to have too.

    I’d agree w/ one of the comments about re: KITCHEN SHEARS
    I use mine every single day. Great for cutting pizza slices into bite sized bits for the toddler, cutting veggies, meat, etc. as well as opening boxes, etc.

    Good quality pots & pans are essential to a good meal IMO. Not all non-stick pans are bad though, and certainly not all are created equal btw. I have a few non-stick pans by All-Clad and I love them. But then, I love my All-Clad stainless pots/pans too. Your tip for heating them BEFORE cooking in them is spot on!

    Two last things in *my* kitchen that I can’t do w/o and that’s
    1. A good wine/bottle opener
    2. A funnel/strainer (pouring liquids from one container to another is kind of difficult w/o one, at least for me.

    Cheers, and thanks for this great list!
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Counting, Always Counting =-.

  32. Great list. My only addition is our grill…not really a kitchen item, but definitely a fave for cooking!

  33. I agree with all of your choices, especially the Kitchen Aid mixer. I splurged on the professional model years ago and will replace it immediately IF it ever goes out on me. I have to add one more “item” to my perfect kitchen,my daughter. She and I have had some wondeful times amongst the egg shells and flour. I hope we have the opportunity for many more memories. The kitchen is one of the richest places to make a memory because all of the senses are engaged. p.s.

  34. Love this list. :) Couldn’t agree more about the immersion blender– have had mine about a year (this one– not too expensive, nice looking, easy to clean).

    I also love:
    -a good whisk
    -mini food chopper and food processor
    -plastic chopping mats– one for each purpose (vegetabes, meats, bread…) and easy to store
    -crock pot
    -colander!

    I can’t afford a Kitchen Aid and haven’t a clue where I’d keep one in my little condo, but I do lust anyway. :)
    .-= liz (perspicacious.org)´s last blog ..an attempt at batch cooking =-.

  35. How do you find GOOD knives? There are all kinds of knives out there and I always seem to find inferior (although not inexpensive) ones. Are there specific brands to look for? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Cindy

  36. Great List!

    For the new mom, who has to feed a toddler, I would be lost with out these three:

    - Pizza Cutter
    - Shears
    - Cheese Grater

    You can see what I mean here – http://www.goodtrueandbeautiful.com/2009/04/three-heroes-in-my-kitchen.html
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Is This What They Meant? =-.

  37. I think I have to go with my microplane grater. I thought they were cool so I put it on my wedding registry. I use it sooo much! I’m always really attracted to recipes with citrus, so I think that’s why.
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..Clare =-.

  38. 1. Stand Mixer! If my husband would have left me at the altar, I would have happily married my favorite wedding gift — my Kitchenaid mixer because I LOVE it. I use it almost every week to make pizza dough for homemade pizza night! In fact, I just used it a couple days ago to make dough for my Huckleberry Pizza.
    2. Microplane grater — This is another key Huckleberry Pizza tool, because it grates dark chocolate into a delightfully fine dusting of deliciousness! I also use it for zesting garlic cloves and whole nutmeg.
    3. Dutch oven — Mine was a surprise Christmas gift last year, and I love it. Mine is a Martha Stewart, and I’m no Dutch oven expert, but it seems every bit as sturdy as the Le Creuset.
    4. Pizza cutter — I agree with Sharon up above. It is invaluable for cutting food into toddler sizes.

    I love the tip about how to dry a sieve quickly! I’ll be returning to this post at Christmas to help me write up my list for Santa!!! Those melamine mixing bowls are fab…
    .-= Shannon @ AnchorMommy´s last blog ..Huckleberry Pizza =-.

  39. Great list!!! One item I’m almost embarrassed to admit I use regularly, and could probably live without, is my George Foreman Grill. I use it for grilling small quantities of meats, but I also use it as a Panini/Sandwich press, for grilled cheese, etc. Its easy clean-up and low heat output make it a quick grab in the summer when I don’t want to heat up the whole kitchen. It also was a life saver for while when my son would try to stick his fingers into the open flames on my gas stove…. this is when I discovered the sandwich press powers!

  40. I’ve had a kitchen aid stand mixer for several years and have used it… once! Can you tell I’m not a baker.? At least my husband (the buyer) has used it a handful of times. I do LOVE my melamine nesting bowls – my favorite christmas gift a few years back – the bright colors sill make me smile.

    And I’m with Cara – we loved our Foreman Grill to death so spent the big bucks on “The Griddler” which stays on the counter and gets used multiple times a week. And I am a “make from scratch” kind of gal.

    Love the strainer in the oven tip – we’ll use that one a lot!
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..A Tomato Story =-.

  41. “Ever wonder how your mother or grandmother functioned without all the modern day conveniences and kitchen gadgets that are now available? ”

    Yeah. I grew up seeing my mom and grandmother doing their best in cooking, even when it comes to the simplest dishes. I rarely see them use kitchen gadgets but they manage to cook real good food. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and for the tips.:)

  42. What a wonderful list!! I just can’t live without my knives. I simply have two, an 8″ chef and a paring knife…Sabateur…and they do everything. I was a little surprised that you indicated that a quality knife could be $50-$100. Mine are a bit over that, and the Shun I got my mom was more than that as well.

    I’d add my cuisinart. I shred, chop, grind, blend, knead, cut, slice, mix, and puree in this thing. It is like my one bowl tool. And I’d also add my Le Creuste cast-iron skillet. Doesn’t let anything stick!

    Thanks for such a wonderful post!
    .-= Abbie´s last blog ..6 Great Places to Start Organizing Your Health =-.

  43. I totally agree with your kitchen essentials and have all of them minus the all clad. I do wish I had better pans…sigh! I might add a microplane zester. I lost mine on a job and haven’t replaced it and I am missing it often.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Corn and Zucchini Chowder =-.

  44. My cast iron skillet! I HEART my skillet. I bought 3 of them at a yard sale for $25 total and they are one of the best kitchen investments I’ve ever made. Seasoned and washed correctly (never use soap), I can now scramble an egg and have no sticking AT ALL and also no horrible non-stick surface with its questionable human health safety. Cast iron will merely add iron to your diet and we all need that! Plus, the old ones are reused, limiting the amount of new things we put on the planet, and also just better than the new cast iron skillets made today. They also make FABULOUS corn bread in the oven. While some smooth surface stove makers say not to use them, I’ve never had a scratch or problem on my stove. Worth every penny!

  45. I didn’t have time to read through all 44 comments, so apologies if someone else mentioned this. But if you’re going to invest in a good knife, then protect your investment by getting an end-grain cutting board (as shown in all the photos) to go with. It will keep your knife sharper for longer and make cutting easier because it’s the perfect counter-surface. Cutting mats and cheaper wooden cutting boards… not so good, unfortunately. They can even make nicks in your blade.
    .-= rachel´s last blog ..new photos of the boy =-.

  46. I recently bought a large, wooden cutting board and I love it! Now I need the good knives to go with it. The Husband and I have many knife sets that we should be purging since they just aren’t up to par.

    I have to say that some of my essentials are definitely my garlic press, lemon zester, and food processor. I tried to use my grandmother’s old mixer the other day, but it just seemed too small for what I needed it for. I think it’s time to save up some money for a good one.

    Oh, and even though most kitchens have one, a RELIABLE oven is a definite must. Mine can be hit and miss and I’m just starting to figure out how to work with it to get quality results, but there’s still the odd occasion when it decides to turn itself off halfway through a turkey.

    xx
    K
    .-= Kristilyn´s last blog ..Three for the show! =-.

  47. Excellent View!These are possible only when we have a good quality cabinets in the Kitchen.Thank you.

  48. I have to say my George Foreman lean mean fat reducing machine is a great item for my kitchen! I have the original version, and it works so well. I would love to upgrade to the new version because they are easier to clean, but mine still works so well! I use it at least once a week for meat, chicken, or bacon (good for fish too!) and I’m going to experiment with making paninis on it soon!
    And I was happy to read everyones comments here as I am compiling a wedding registry list! Its been helpful to make sure I have the essentials on my list! Thanks!

  49. Something that I haven’t seen anyone mention – maybe it’s assumed, but I use it at least as much as my baking sheets: a glass 13×9 baking dish. Couldn’t live without it!

  50. This list is great! I agree with just about everything on it. I’d like to add a rubber spatula in addition to the silicone spatula; it works so much better for baking. I don’t know what I’d do without it!

    Thank you for the tip on the baking sheets as well! The two cheap one’s I had from college recently had to go because they were rusting (which probably isn’t safe). Where does one find a restaurant supply store? Are their any store or brand names or a website you could recommend?

  51. With good kitchen items, it is much easier to enjoy the process of cooking and to make tasty and well prepared meals for the whole family. Fry pans, knifes, blenders… Everything can be useful in a kitchen. Some of the tools that usually get my special attention are kitchen blenders. I always recommend them.

  52. Good 8″ knife & cutting mat and Y-shaped vege peeler get used daily. Add to these my 2- qrt Dutch Oven & 10″ cast iron skillet w/ lid & I can do any stove top cooking or roasting I need to do. Stick blender to puree or mash, a silicone spoonula and mesh strainer. I don’t bake sweets, so that’s all I use but have a baking dish for reheating leftovers.

  53. I love this page and the kitchen articles that it shares. It is so true! Stainless steel pans are the best! They are easy to clean and things don’t get burned!
    Truly,I fall in love with every kitchen item that this webpage shows.
    I am just recently going to move into my brand new home and i’m excited cause i’m setting cabinets from this company http://www.cabinetdiy.com/
    I’m sure I want to add some of this kitchen items to my wish-list.

  54. avatar
    RTA Kitchen Cabinet says:

    - I love this page and the kitchen articles that it shares. It is so true! Stainless steel pans are the best! They are easy to clean and things don’t get burned!
    - Truly,I fall in love with every kitchen item that this webpage shows.
    - I am just recently going to move into my brand new home and i’m excited cause i’m setting cabinets from this company http://www.cabinetdiy.com/
    - I’m sure I want to add some of this kitchen items to my wish-list.

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