Whether you’re new to the kitchen or a seasoned vet behind the saute pan, a cook without their tools is like a violinist without a bow! I’m always interested in the tools chefs keep in their personal kitchens. I recently took two Master Classes from Thomas Keller and Alice Waters just to learn about their workflow and tool setup.
Funnily enough, the two could not have had more different approaches to working their way through a recipe. They gave contradicting advice at every turn. Keller says to peel the cherry tomatoes. Waters says they’re best used as soon as they are picked, skin intact. Keller prefers stainless steel bowls and an arsenal of knives, while Waters uses a cleaver to whack at anything that needs a chop! It was then I realized that the tools we choose should fit into the way we like to cook.
I’m someone who likes to improvise, more akin to Alice Waters in the less is more approach to cooking. But now and then, Keller’s “tools of refinement” make a session of chopping into a meditative activity. In my opinion, the tools we choose are everything, second only to the quality of ingredients we use. The fun part is that we get to pick and choose what works best for us.
After all that cooking and learning in the kitchen, we thought it would be a good time to talk about the kitchen tools I use most frequently. Below you’ll find ten items that allow me to move through my kitchen with ease, whether I’m obsessing over the size of my julienned kale or simply tearing it with my hands and throwing it into the pot.
If you’d also like to read my original kitchen tools roundup from 2019, head over to this page!
I was gifted one of these multi-use tools (affectionately named a “spurtle”) over five years ago and it’s consistently the tool I use most. I stir things, check how seared my mushrooms are getting, flip quesadillas, scrape pans, pat down crispy rice, and more; the uses are endless. The thick handle and wide, flat base work for just about every action you could think of. I highly recommend it!
KitchenAid Cordless Hand Blender
When we first received our cordless hand blender, I had yet to realize how much I would use it. In the past, I would just haul out my stand mixer and use it for even the smallest of mixing jobs. But now, with this hand blender, I find it’s so easy to simply whip up some cream, beat eggs, or make a simple cake, and I’m finding this product to be just as hardworking as my stand mixer…and it’s a lot more nimble! Plus, I have not had to charge it since its initial charge over three months ago!
OXO Nesting Bowls
This is the first set of no-slip bowls I’ve owned and the amount of delight I feel when I set them down with no clang or bang surprises me to this day. These are elegant, have a lovely profile, are high-quality, and should last you decades.
MUJI Cooking Scale
When I started baking more, I got a scale that was not just a decorative element on my shelves. I love this one from MUJI because it’s both functional and beautiful. I keep it within arm’s reach and have found it to be much more accurate than using measuring cups. That is, once you get used to using it!
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
This product is my workhorse. This year I’ve been making pasta, and this machine has been helpful as I’ve stumbled my way through finding the proper thickness of the dough. I also use it to make breads, and knowing I can knead while simultaneously chasing after toddlers is awesome.
Pepper Mill Imports Pepper Mill
I have the sold-out brass version but found a chrome version from the same brand! This product produces a great pepper texture and looks beautiful on the counter when it’s not in use.
Crystal Butter Dish
I like to use crystal dishes to serve snack foods like Ruffles and Cheetos, but the piece of crystal I love most is my butter dish. We keep it on the counter next to the toaster because cold butter on toast is like nails on a chalkboard to me! The one linked here is the exact style I have, but there are so many to find on Etsy, so enjoy your browsing!
KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor
The first food processor I bought from KitchenAid lasted me fifteen years. It still works, but the volume of food I make is much larger now that I’m not cooking for one. I love keeping this versatile tool on display on my kitchen counter.
Le Parfait Canning Jar
Pickling a big batch of raw vegetables is a wonderful way to use up veggies that are a day or two away from getting soft. I like to do pickling in big batches because the pickled veggies last for months in the fridge. Having a really pretty glass jar with an airtight lid makes them a focal point in my fridge, and for some reason, I find that food that looks pretty somehow tastes just a little bit better. Of course, a used pickle jar with a cute lid is just as lovely to look at!
Evermill Spice Rack
Having my spices all lined up and within eyesight has been a surprisingly useful shift for me. I find myself reaching for spices I rarely used when they were packed away in my cupboard. From adding a bit of nutmeg to my gnocchi, turmeric to rice, or harissa to a chickpea soup, this spice rack is an investment that just might change the way you cook.
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Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - January 21, 2021
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
I have most of these. It’s the spurtle that I have been curious about for awhile. I have seen it in a couple of sizes. For a long time I thought it wasn’t much better than a spatula, but am finding out that it is useful in other ways. It’s the fact that the wood and rubber meetup on a spatula and must come apart to discourage bacteria. I will have to try the spurtle out.
It’s a really useful tool to have on hand. Would recommend it!
Where can I get your pot hanger? So practical yet fancy!!!
Hi Shauna! It actually came with the house when we purchased it!