It may hard to believe, but I haven’t always been the domestic cook.
Nope, this girl right here used to eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’d make boxed foods, eat sandwiches for dinner, and more cereal.
It was only until 4 craz– I mean, glorious years ago when I first met Scott that we started cooking together in the kitchen. Salad and skinless chicken breast was our main specialty — lots of salad. Somehow in the last 4 years Scott has lost all abilities to cook and I find myself in the kitchen for, eh, 50% of the day it seems.
Good thing Andrew has taken up the curiosity of helping me in the kitchen so I don’t feel so alone. Sometimes it results in more of a mess than I’d like, but it’s for the greater good.
When I reflect back on where I started (cooking skinless, tasteless chicken breast to nutrient-dense foods like a whole roast chicken and eating the dark meat plus the skin) to where I am now, I’ve come to realize that cooking isn’t about the fancy tools (or the fancy meals as a matter of fact — more on that later).
Sure, the fancy gadgets like a high powered blender or a kitchen aid stand mixer make kitchen projects much easier, they really are all just extras in my book. Your great granny probably didn’t have those tools, right?
It makes me so sad to think that people are afraid to get in their kitchens because they believe it takes all these special talents and tools to make homemade, nourishing foods happen. So I’m here to tell you that is simply not true — all you need is a few simple tools to make a real food kitchen function.
1. A Quality Sharp Knife
This. This right here is a MUST for any kitchen. I just recently went from a fairly inexpensive knife (which worked fine) to a Wusthof santuko knife and let me tell you what, I’ve never felt so nostalgic cutting the ends off a carrot. I’m serious. When it requires little to zero effort to slice through things, you’ll find that it makes your soul happy too.
If you can afford a set of knives, then definitely do that because there are definitely times in the kitchen when a more “specialzied” knife would work better. However, if you can’t, finding a knife that you love (and that fits your hand) that you can use for a multitude of things is good enough. I use my santuko knife for practically everything.
2. Bamboo or Wooden Cutting Boards
I love my bamboo cutting boards. Notice how that is plural? I truly believe that having a couple sizes of cutting boards to choose from is necessary. There is nothing worse than cutting something big on a small cutting board and vice versa. It just one of those things that I’m weird about. I have three different sizes and use them every day. I recommend getting the ones that have the skid-free stoppers on the bottom.
3. Measuring Spoons
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the little ring that keeps measuring spoons together. What if I just need the tablespoon? I feel like I either have to A) wash all of them after I’m done using JUST the tablespoon or B) I have to take the tablespoon off. I usually take the tablespoon off. And I usually don’t put it back. Which means I usually misplace certain measuring spoons.
Until I found magnetic measuring spoons and then I was literally in measuring spoon heaven. No more rings. No more lost measuring spoons. Heaven I tell you. I have the lime green and white ones but I also had the stainless steel ones at some point (I gave them to my mother-in-law). If I had to purchase again. I’d spend the extra few bucks for the stainless because they feel a little more sturdy.
4. Measuring Cups (Dry and Wet)
This goes without saying, but having glass liquid measuring cups and simple dry measuring cups is a must. I have three sizes of glass (a couple inherited) liquid measuring cups and they ALL get used. Who wants to wash more of a dish if you only need a little? Work smarter, not harder. 🙂 But, if you only had to pick one, I’d go with the 2 cup Pyrex because it gives you a little more wiggle room.
Having a set of dry measuring cups is necessary and you definitely don’t need anything fancy.
5. Mixing Bowls
As of right now, I have too many mixing bowls because I have a bit of a kitchen tool hoarding problem but that’s besides the point. I have used stainless steel, but the majority of what I use are the glass Pyrex mixing bowls. I recommend collecting a couple different sizes so you don’t find yourself not being able to fit all those brownies in one bowl.
6. Wooden Spoons
Wooden spoons are essential. Period. They work well for mixing kombucha, using on a cast iron or stainless steel pan, and so many other things I can’t think of right now. Thrift stores have loads of wooden spoons or you can get some here. Plus, wooden spoons don’t flake off weird material that could possibly get into your food.
7. Silicone Spatula
A silicone spatula is my best friend in the kitchen. It helps me get ALL of the cupcake or pancake batter into the bowl without having to scrape the sides a million times plus one. One of the silicone spatulas that I used to have had a removable top but that is annoying. Now that I have a sturdy one, without a removable top, well, my life just got much easier.
8. Quality Pan
There are so many different pans to choose from, it can get a little overwhelming. Cast irons are great and you can probably rummage around your mom or grandma’s kitchen to find one. It’s also good to have a variety of sizes, but if you can only afford one good pan, I would suggest this All-Clad pan. I purchased it a couple months ago for my birthday and I love it. Even though the initial investment may seem a little heart wrenching, the quality of the pan will last you many, many moons which will make it worth it.
9. Kitchen Towels
I try and minimize my paper towel usage because 1) it reduces waste and 2) it cuts down on costs. I do this by having various kitchen towels around. By simply choosing to dry your hands off with the towel, can save you a ton of money! It also helps with picking up spills, wiping the brownies off your hands, or holding a hot pan. It’s important to buy towels that actually SOAK up water instead of move it around on the counter. I purchased a few from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and some from Amazon.
10. A Good Peeler
Have you ever tried to peel something with a peeler that didn’t work? It is not fun. If you’re like me and usually have a hungry toddler at your feet, and a husband that’s wondering where the food is, you need a peeler that peels QUICK and easy. I’ve had my fair share of peelers but I really love the one I got from Kitchen IQ. It also has a potato scrubber and a pairing knife built into the peeler itself. So awesome if you’re limited on space. I know it looks bulky, but even for my small hands, the peeler fits nice and literally glides when peeling.