FOR THE EVERYDAY COOK:
Truth be told, we’ve got some embarrassing and wholly inefficient kitchen gear. The junk is just passable enough that I use it, curse, and then somehow forget it needs to be replaced, and the cycle continues month after month. This first list is for my partner so that he can buy the cooking gear we so desperately need, essential gear for every household. But I’ve also included a list of cool kitchen gadgets for the culinary wizard in your household, the one who watches cooking shows like Top Chef and wants to create magic in the kitchen. The last list is for the foodie, the one who has a cabinet full of spices and multiple oils and who makes picture-worthy masterpieces. Before you get to shopping, you should install Honey, the free Google Chrome plugin that searches for coupon codes at checkout and saves you lots of money.
Measuring Cups and Spoons: My measuring cups and spoons could use a refresh. I have incomplete sets (thanks, kids) and spoons and cups with measurements wiped clean. It’s time for some new ones. Am I the only one with this problem? But even for those who have complete, pristine sets, an extra set can be useful, especially if you have kids who like to cook. This 19-piece measuring set includes more measurements than the standard set, such as a 1/16th teaspoon and a 1-3/4 c, making it perfect for the next time a recipe calls for a smidgen or pinch. These double-sided measuring spoons are useful if you’re making something with wet and dry ingredients.
Garlic Press: We’ve gone through two garlic presses in two years. Our first corroded and we lost the basket for the second one, leaving it effectively useless. This powerhouse of a garlic press is stainless steel and it has no removable basket. Bingo! Plus, it comes with a garlic peeler-I’ve never tried one but if it saves my hands from sticky garlic skins, then it’s my new best friend.
Vegetable Peeler: My partner bought one for me last year that had a brush on one end and what appeared to be a solid peeler on the other end. It looked well-made and cool but the thing never peeled properly (from the celebrity chefland of evoo and yum-o, in case you’re wondering). This vegetable peeler, on the other hand, gets solid reviews.
Ricer: A good ricer is a must-have item if you want to make good mashed potatoes. Ricing removes lumps and leaves you with fluffy potatoes. But don’t limit yourself to potatoes. You can also rice cream cheese for frosting, vegetables, and even use it to make baby food. This one has a comfortable grip and smashes spuds with ease.
Potato Masher: I got rid of my hand masher, thought it was a thing of the past. But I find I need a good potato masher for meat, guacamole, banana bread and all sorts of other things that need a quick mash to get rid of large chunks and lumps.
Tongs: Tongs are so useful for everything! These are great for flipping meat or bacon, for grabbing hot loaves of French bread from the oven, and for reaching those spices on the top shelf. (shorties unite!) If only poor Edward Scissorhands had tongs for hands instead of scissors.
Gravy Boat: I don’t make a lot of gravy but when I do guests are usually present, and there I am gravy boat-less and wishing I had one because a glass measuring cup just doesn’t look the same. It’s great for any matter of sauces and liquids, so don’t limit yourself to serving gravy from it. There are so many gravy boats out there that it’s overwhelming-lots of expensive options (some are over $1000!), funky colors, and unique shapes. For the most part, you can choose one is based on personal preference (see the pretty blue gravy boat I chose, and it’s under $15!). However, it’s best to find one with a wide opening. You’ll thank me when it comes time to pour the sauce into the boat. Plus, a wide opening is also great for pictures. The Williams-Sonoma gravy boat is a classic white with a wide opening. Isn’t it nice?! It makes me excited about all the lovely pour shots in my future.
FOR THE KITCHEN GADGET JUNKIE:
Spiralizer: Because who doesn’t want to spiralize vegetables?
Handheld Blow Torch: Do you like crème brulee? Buy this baby and you can impress your guests by torching it table-side. A handheld torch is what you need for meringue pies, bruleed figs, indoor campfire s’mores, s’mores mug brownies.
Handheld Smoker: This smoker is so cool! Pull this sucker out and smoke cheese, tomatoes, meat, anything that could use a little smoke to enhance the flavor, which is practically anything, really.
Instant Pot: An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, rice cooker, and so much more. I don’t own one but I sure wish I did. Don’t know what to cook with a pressure cooker? Wanna give one as a gift? Check this out.
FOR THE FOODIE:
Ras al Hanout: This spice mix is used in North African cooking. It consists of a dozen spices including cardamom, cinnamon, mace, galangal and coriander. The Al’Fez brand is a beautifully balanced spice mix with rose petals and lavender flowers. World Market carries it for a remarkable price. You could give the adventurous cook in your family a basket of spices, such as berbere, herbs de provence, baharat, and garam masala. World Market carries them all and at reasonable prices to boot.
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 Lens: Got a foodie in your life? Then he/she needs this Canon lens to take awesome pictures. I don’t have one. Wish I did. Here’s a cheaper model that also gets good reviews and looks awesome.
Lowell EGO Tabletop Light Unit: A tabletop light is another essential item for the foodie who takes lots of pictures.
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