In the past I’ve been guilty of purchasing every neat kitchen gadget I come across at TJ Maxx but a lot of these gadgets are one trick ponies and take up way too much real estate in your kitchen. When I moved in with Dan I was faced with downsizing my collection of tools and found myself going back to these basics over and over again.
If you are just beginning to cook or if you’re a well seasoned chef these are the items you need in your wheelhouse to make cooking as simple and delicious as possible.
- Good Sharp Chef’s Knife
If your knife can’t cut cleanly through a tomato or pepper then it may be time to replace it. A little over a year ago I was fed up with the dull knives I was using at my mother’s house and decided to invest in my own chef’s knife. I found mine on sale at Tuesday Morning and it has changed my life in the kitchen ever since.
Chef’s knives come in different sizes and you should try it out in person before purchasing. Places like Bed Bath & Beyond or Williams Sonoma will let you hold the knife before purchasing. You want a knife that is not too heavy and feels balanced in your hand.
I’m petite so I went with an 8” knife and I find it’s perfect for me. I’d also like to point out that you don’t need an entire knife set! Most of them are crazy expensive and if you’re not deboning a fish or creating art out of fruit then most of the set will go unused.
- Cast Iron Skillet
This is one kitchen tool I always dreaded using because of it’s weight and cleaning time! Recently though I discovered Flavicity’s video on how to clean and care for a cast iron pan and it’s my preferred pan ever since.
It’s perfect for getting a crispy spice rub crust on protein, making a buttery golden panini, cooking a steak indoors, and so much more!
The reason cast iron is so great is because it is able to retain heat and cooks food evenly. It also browns food better than other pans.
- Non-Stick Pan
Although my cast iron skillet is my go to, there are a few things I would never cook in it like eggs or delicate shellfish. For those tasks I use a non-stick pan.
I use a T-fal because it’s super easy to clean but any non-stick will do.
Remember the non-stick coating on these is delicate so you don’t want to use any metal utensils with it. I always use my wooden spatula with it.
- Wooden Spatula
I have an entire set of wooden cooking utensils but the only one I ever use is the spatula. I love it for its flat bottom that is great for scrambling eggs or to release the brown bits when deglazing a pan.
Even Dan who doesn’t have a lot of experience cooking considers it his favorite.
- Stainless Steel Tongs
A good pair of stainless steel tongs are a necessity for me. I use them for flipping meat, taking hot bread out of the oven, or serving pulled pork.
I prefer them to be completely stainless steel because over time the ones with silicone tend to collect gunk in them. Stainless steel is also a non-reactive metal making it ideal for cooking because it won’t cause any changes to acidic food like tomatoes.
Tell me what’s your most used kitchen tool?