Tammy’s Top Ten (t3 report) Kitchen Tools

Our kitchen setup is quite traditional. We have a beautiful Dacor range that we installed several years ago when we bought our home, a respectable stretch of concrete countertops where stains and acidic rings indicate frequent use, and a few other high-tech pieces that I’ve grown to love. In past posts, I’ve introduced you to Alex and you know that I rely on our Vitamix daily. Still, there is a short list of rather low-tech items that I’ve come to depend on and find useful everyday.

Each year new kitchen gadgets emerge. People grace me with kitchen gifts at the holidays and after a time, I return to the same simple tools. If I was setting up a new food space, these are the top ten things that I’d have within my reach.

1. Mixing bowl with handle and spout – This wasn’t even given to me. Rather I exchanged a gift for this wonderful device. Not too heavy. Easy to clean. So practical.

2. Microplane grater – MJ over at the kitchen store followed me around one day and said, “we’ve got something that you need.” She knows me well since she is the one who handled my bridal registry 20 years ago. She was right. From parmesan to ginger, this is a daily use.

3. Plastic colander – Definitely a most used item. Mine came from a tupperware party years ago but now with our daily kefir routines, it’s important to have one that doesn’t react with the culture.

4. Glass measuring cup – I’m sure everyone has one and if you don’t, do go to your second hand store and get one. Everyday useful!

5. Fork with wooden handle – okay, this is my quirkiness. For most this should say, good wooden spoon but as you know from previous posts, I glide about the kitchen with this in hand.

A Kitchen Tradition

6. Cutting board(s) – In a perfect life, I chop once a week making it ever so efficient to throw together meals and snacks. Alas, my life is far from perfect and I chop daily. It is a zen meditation of sorts. I have several but one has a hole in the middle which is great for overlaying the sink.

7. Good sharp knife – I don’t own expensive knives but I am blessed with a husband who keeps them sharp. We also have a truck service that stops in different locations to do sharpening. The next food-related class that I take will be on how best to use knives.

8. Coffee grinder – I need a way to feed Alex and I love the scent of fresh ground beans.

9. Cast iron skillet – Even heat. What more can I say? My brother-in-law left it at our house years ago and I’m never returning it.

10. Kitchen shears – Great for running out the door to snip thyme or to dice nori on top of a salad. The biggest challenge with these is keeping them out of the craft room.

There are more than ten that I could have written about – corkscrew anyone? I’d love to hear from you. What are your go-to kitchen accessories?

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80 Comments

  1. Bonnie

     /  May 26, 2012

    Thanks for these simple tips Tammy. I don’t have a mixing bowl with a handle and spout–that could be handy. Love my Vitamixer every day too. Have a great weekend.

    Reply
    • Keep it in mind when you are setting up Michael’s kitchen!! Happy Memorial day weekend.

      Reply
  2. I’m with you on most of these items (not the fork, sorry to say). On my list, were I to create one, I’d add a little hand-held knife sharpener that’s so easy to use, I actually use it all the time. Using sharp knives is so nice! Hope you’re doing some fun cooking and eating this weekend.
    Eleanor

    Reply
  3. Awesome list! I am pretty connected to my microplane too :)

    Reply
  4. Your list pretty much matches mine, but I’d add a Le Creuset dutch oven, a Japanese rice cooker, a very simple wooden spatula, and a Vacu Vin winesaver.

    Reply
    • I don’t own the dutch oven but have heard that from many. I do have the rice cooker (not used often), love spatulas, and the Vacu Vin!!

      Reply
  5. Yes, I need a knife skills class too. I’ve got the basic idea, but I’d love to be faster and more efficient. And I love the microplane grater…so many fun uses!

    Reply
    • Yes, I think I could really improve my efficiency by learning better technique.

      Reply
  6. Lisa H

     /  May 26, 2012

    Your list is very much similar to mine. The only item I would add would be my mandoline for slicing. I can get more slices out of tomatoes with it, as well as thinly slicing zucchinis and eggplant for grilling. The coffee grinder is also good for grinding whole spices (I enjoy making my own spice mixes as well as curries). Excellent list!

    Reply
  7. Danielle

     /  May 26, 2012

    Sounds like I need to treat myself to a mixing bowl with a handle and spout. I love my bowls with spouts. No handles.. yet. Thanks for the interesting reading. ;-)

    Reply
  8. Heather ST

     /  May 26, 2012

    I am now going to get my daughter the mixing bowl with handle! I will just continu to make a mess. Are you using that fork to poke your children? That’s what my mom used her wooden spoon for LOL

    Reply
    • It’s a great gift and no, haven’t poked the kids with it. Maybe the dh…

      Reply
  9. Great list, Tammy. My favorite handtools: box grater, antique juicer in clear glass, potato masher, whisk, and wooden spoons. :D

    Reply
  10. A citrus zester! Couldn’t live without it

    Reply
    • Yep, have one of those although I have been known to use the microplane for that also.

      Reply
  11. I love your mixing bowl – and the cast iron skillet? Can’t make a good steak without it… although that’s not on your menu is it?

    My kitchen space is my home base. Without my tools and my routine, I really feel lost.

    With the exception of your fork I rely on all the same things you do. I’d have to add a good, large, thick bottomed stainless stock pot that’s a real workhorse around here, along with a big, lidded Tupperware bowl for making and storing bread dough.

    Reply
    • Just goes to show that I needed a top 12 or top 20. Yes, a thick bottomed stock pot gets used every single week.

      Reply
  12. So my kitchen is well equiped, then! :-) Currently, I have 9 outta ten gadgets listed (well, my collander is metal but same thing) and the only reason we don’t have a coffee grinder is we don’t drink coffee. I would add hand can opener, hand citrus juicer, french rolling pin and whisk.

    If you are every looking for amazing knifes, check out Cutco. We saw them at a “show” and immediately thought “gimic” but learned quickly we were dead wrong and they thruend out to be THE best knives I have ever used. No sharpening required and they are guaranteed for life if you damage them. Their kitchen sheers can cut a penny!

    Reply
    • Wow, haven’t heard about cutco. I use the things you mentioned although my rolling pin doesn’t come out often. Guess I haven’t been making pizza.

      Reply
  13. although i don’t spend much time in the kitchen, i can see the glory of that mixing bowl! that may become my next kitchen purchase. micrograter, too….

    “Kitchen shears – Great for running out the door…” WAIT! No running with scissors! ;-)

    Reply
    • ahaha. Good catch Daisy fae. Yes, good for safely walking to the herb garden.

      Reply
  14. I love lists, and this is a good one. I have most of these items, but not all would be my top ten. I’ll have to think about that. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. Meg Smeck

     /  May 27, 2012

    My go-to mixing bowl is my pyrex 4c. size measuring cup. I find that I use that for so many things to mix and measure but your light green one made me happy!

    Reply
  16. Each of those looks ever so familiar even though I’m not usually the one using them.

    Reply
  17. I love your t3 posts! I have never thought about my top ten, but sharp kitchen knives are on top of my list :)

    Reply
  18. Sally Mom

     /  May 27, 2012

    Fun blog, Tammy. My tongs , knives and strainers are really favorites of mine and I agree with the micro-planer grater! Love gadgets!

    Reply
    • Tongs! now why didn’t I include tongs? Definitely a list to move to a top 20.

      Reply
  19. Brian

     /  May 27, 2012

    For my student son (studying Criminology) when he comes home, the WOK!!!!

    cheers

    Brian

    Reply
    • I have a couple of woks and really enjoy them when I remember to get them out.

      Reply
  20. Cooking for just me: small rice cooker. Essential because it perfectly cooks rice, holds food warm, and can easily do other grains and grain mixes. Lower tech, I’m a fan of the large slotted spoon.

    Reply
    • i only just got a rice cooker this year (a gift). I just haven’t worked with it enough to feel like it’s essential. Slotted spoon? definitely!

      Reply
    • You know, it’s funny. I’m spending the day in the kitchen and when I went to reach for my slotted spoon realized that my name is on it. I don’t want to lose it at a potluck or something.

      Reply
  21. Epic list, Tammy. I agree with each and every one: especially the sharp knife. There is nothing more frustrating than a blunt one.

    Reply
  22. Awesome list and so helpful for us not so good at cooking, to know! :) I’m using tongs a lot these days. And something that I really liked, that broke, was a cheese slicer. It was on a little wooden board and just kind of nice to use!
    Thanks Tammy!

    Reply
  23. A friend of mine has a mixing bowl with a handle and spout, such a great idea. Hmm scissors are a definite, a good heavy sharp knife, a good heavy pan, and a wok would be the first things I think of.

    Reply
  24. We just got the Vitamix last week. Using it multiple times each day! What an invention. We’re making stuff up as we go… What fun!

    Reply
  25. Love this list! I also can’t live without my Microplane or my cast iron skillet.

    Reply
  26. Love your kitchen tools list, Tammy. These (aside from the coffee grinder and cast iron skillet) are my most used/favorite simple kitchen tools, too.

    Reply
    • What type of pan do you cook in?

      Reply
      • After my surgery, needing to eat as healthy as possible, I invested in a “green” nonstick pan. It was pricey… but works well and the finish is holding up perfectly.

        Reply
  27. Great list! Don’t have all the items you list, but most and of all of them the two most essential are the coffee bean grinder (Must.Have.Coffee.) and the iron skillet – I bought mine in 1976 and use it constantly.

    Reply
  28. Love your kitchen tools! :D And I also hold a deep love for forks with wooden handles! My favorite kitchen tools are my super sharp chopping knifes and wooden cutting board, my steel colander, my frying pan and new BBQ griiling pan ( :D ), my cast iron pot and my blender! I don’t use glass measuring pots anymore since I’ve broken all of them in one day (!!) – now I have a plastic one, but at least I can’t break it!

    Reply
  29. I love your kitchen essentials a lot, especially the lovely greenish mixing bowl: looks just beautiful & elegant too! :) I am also in love with the Microplane grater, it is the best! :) A lovely post!

    Reply
  30. Lol, never return a well-seasoned cast iron skillet ;)

    Reply
  31. Great list. I like the fact that only one item is electric, and only three items were plastic! I’d add a set of metal mixing spoons, spatulas, measuring spoons, and baking sheet.

    Reply
    • I think I have to have plastic for the kefir but haven’t really looked for other alternatives that won’t react with fermentation.

      Reply
  32. Laura from the Accidental Pumpkin

     /  June 3, 2012

    Ooh, good one — I identified with just about all of these. I’d like to hear your top ten list (or wishlist) of things for preserving the harvest. I’m kind of contemplating getting a food saver and a dehydrator. Not considering a pressure canner, because they scare me. Should they? Thanks for another great post, Tammy!

    Reply
    • Gee, I don’t know if I have ten. I do have a dehydrator and while I enjoy it, it’s not a frequently used item and I didn’t originally get it for preservation. Pressure canners scare me too although my grandma would laugh at that. She’s a pro. I’ll think about a list.

      Reply
  33. I totally agree with every single item!

    Reply
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