Let’s Organize Together: What Are Your Favorite Kitchen Tools?

September 15, 2009

thousand points of light

Photo: Lissalou66

I used to be a kitchen gadget freak. I still am, I suppose—perusing stores like Williams-Sonoma makes me giddy—but in more of a window shopper kind of way. I just can’t justify getting more tools when my kitchen storage is already jam packed with stuff I barely use (like my handy-dandy panini press which makes yummy sandwiches like this Ham, Chicken & Cheddar Panini with Apricot Mustard).

The truth is, I cook differently now that I’m a mom. Instead of giving up good food, I’ve sacrificed complicated recipes, time intensive techniques and the kind of finishing details that barely make a difference when dinner comes at the end of an utterly exhausting day spent with a 2-year-old. Today, the kitchen gadgets that I continue to use  have to meet three main criteria:

  • Easy to reach: I can’t be bothered grabbing a step stool or unpacking a cabinet to get something in the way back
  • Easy to clean: I can’t be bothered cleaning up a million separate pieces, especially by hand
  • Cut down cooking or prep time: flourishes are nice when I decide—and arrange—to take the time but, otherwise, it’s all about saving time

In the coming weeks, I’ll be throwing up short posts here and there featuring my favorite kitchen tools—the ones that meet my criteria above. I may also dust off a few of my least used tools to make sure I’ve given them a fair shot. Who knows. Maybe my massive (and very powerful) juicer would have been a lifesaver this summer had I given it the chance (and a more practical place to live).

I also want to hear from you! What are your favorite kitchen tools? Why? Are there criteria that I missed? Maybe it’s the start of a new season or a baby’s-about-to-arrive nesting instinct, but I’m hoping we can inspire each other to pare down and/or make better use of the stuff we have. You in? Start listing and chatting about kitchen tools!

8 Responses

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I love my rice steamer–because I use it for rice, steel-cut oats, and lentils. And when it’s hot and humid, I use it outside so the humidity stays on my patio and doesn’t come into my house.

  2. Susan says:

    Number one, by a long shot, is the food processor: chopping, slicing, grinding. It makes me chopped onions, garlic, carrots, celery, ginger, nuts, etc. It makes me pestoes of various kinds, sauces for grains and veggies, veggie burger batters, and on and on.
    Or is that an appliance?

  3. A good chopping knife of course, but then a microplane for Anna and I like a sturdy pair of tongs that easily lock and open.

  4. Rosie says:

    Microplane grater!

  5. rebecca says:

    my #1 fave used to be the microplane (cheese, zesting, chocolate, nutmeg, etc), but now with a toddler its hands down my kitchen shears. they’re the best for cutting anything and everything into bite size pieces!

  6. Kitchen shears are the big thing here in Seoul. Every cook-at-your-table place has them so we had to buy a pair too. We’re working on getting them into our cooking routine.

  7. […] recently posted a call to organize our kitchens together, and going through our kitchen gadgetry seems the perfect place to start. After all, the family […]

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