More Essential Kitchen Tools: Part II



Essential Kitchen Tools (Part II)

Back in October of last year I wrote about essential kitchen tools and kitchen simplicity.  The article attracted a few comments from readers stating that my list was too extreme and left out some key tools and items.  So, I’ve decided to take another look around my kitchen and update my essential kitchen tool list (sorry still no pizza stone):

Microplane Grater
For citrus zest and emergency cheese grater.
Kitchen Shears
For emergency tasks, quick herb mincing, etc.
Large Grater
For the best way to grate most soft cheeses.
Serrated Bread Knife
The best knife to cut fresh bread.
Locking Tongs
Tongs are essential and most are made in an inferior manner.  Buy two , well made, products (one with metal pincers and one with rubber) – All-Clad makes a pricey, but well built, all metal version.
Vegetable Peeler
Pepin used a paring knife, for everyone else get a vegetable peeler.
Instant Read Thermometer
You’ll throw this out after becoming a competent cook, but you should have one in your kitchen for the early years.
You’ll use this every day and there’ a big difference with freshly ground pepper (same difference with freshly ground coffee).  I own a French made, Prefex, that’s compact and very functional.
Salad spinner
If you eat tons of greens then you need to dry most of them before cooking or consuming, the salad spinner is a revolutionary product and you should have one.
You should have about three of these for draining pasta, cleaning vegetables, etc.
Toaster Oven
This will cause some debate, but I could not live without our small toaster oven.  I used out tiny DeLonghi toaster oven to broil thin white flesh fish and salmon, heat up pizza, toast bread, etc.  The device cooks food in no time and unlike a microwave it perfectly toasts and browns food for tremendous flavor.  The device also does not use as much energy as our larger Wolf or Cadco ovens.
CuisinArt Food Processor and Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
OK, I’m going to start off by saying that both my grandmother and mother never used or owned the above tools and they both made/make fantastic food.  In fact, I remember trying to convince my grandmother to let us buy her a large stand mixer so that her weekly bread making would be a little easier for her (she of course said no).
I use our CuisinArt Food Processor for making hummus, slicing onions for French Onion soup, and, when I’m lazy, pesto.  Our Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is used for pizza dough, bread, and countless cakes. Both products are very well built and should last a lifetime.
Krups Hot Water Kettle
Boiling water takes time, not a whole lot of time, but just enough minutes to annoy me at certain key moments (for example, waiting for boiling water in the early morning for your French Press Pot).  We picked up a Krups electric kettle two years ago and it’s been a terrific, time saving, device.  We use our kettle for tea, coffee, pasta water, etc.  Plus, it actually saves energy when you consider that the device boils water faster than our fancy Wolf, 18,000 BTU, gas stove.


  1. I can think of a few more on top of my head: mortar and pestle, mandoline slicer, knife sharpener, an assortment of whisks, and to make our food intake a lot nicer, an ice-cream maker.

  2. I enjoy your blog. I read through most of your posts from the last year yesterday evening. I particularly like your post about what you have learned about financial planning from your immigrant parents.

  3. Back in college, I bought a spaghetti pot that came with a vegetable steamer. The pot itself doubles as a stock pot for making soups, and the inserts make great colanders.
    I know it’s a single-purpose tool, but one thing I can’t live without is my potato masher. We have mashed potatoes 1-2 times per week, and I prefer the texture to that as created by a whisk (my wife has destroyed several this way), mixer or a mallet. We got a great all-metal one that looks like a bent spatula from Bed, Bath, & Beyond that was 2/3 the price of a traditional masher. It’s got a good heft to it, and works better than the regular mashers.

  4. You have nailed it pretty well. I have limited kitchen items as I have moved several times in the states and had to relinquish some of my prize possessions along the way but I found out what I really need. NOT MUCH. That being said I would love a silpat:) Keep this up I love reading you posts. I try to pass along your great tips tomy customers at and I always give credit where credit is due:) Thanks, Michelle

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