So as I cook more, I have noticed there about five tools I use on a regular basis, and the rest of the things in my kitchen are almost useless…
Above: The five I deem vital.
1. A flexible “fish” spatula. It changed how I flipped pancakes, eggs and meat. It has a different feel from a metal spatula and [for me at least] is less likely to destroy what I’ve got in the pan, since I can shape it to the space instead of cramming a piece of inflexible metal in.
2. A good whisk. I never use an electric blender anymore. See more below.
3. Microplane. I use this almost every meal. Great for grating cheese, zesting lemons, and adding other whole spices to baking. It yields smaller pieces than a grater and is more versatile.
4. A very sharp chef knife. You don’t need a “knife set” that seems to be a kitchen staple. All you need is a decent chef knife, a pearing knife, and a serrated knife. Three knifes will allow you do everything you need to do when cooking.
5. Scooper/Chopper. I love this underrated tool. It allows me to quickly scoop everything up from a cutting board right into a pot, over to a serving plate, and you can also chop up soft food quickly.
Things I never use…
1. Some may like the garlic goop that comes out of the end of a garlic press, but I feel hand chopping is so much better, and if you like the texture of food, you won’t use a garlic press. I agree with Mr. Bourdain, it’s not garlic.
2. You might think that a ladle is an odd choice, but I actually hate how messy and awkward it is. Just use a large spoon, or scoop soup out with a mug.
3. You shouldn’t need to use a banana masher for anything. A fork will do just as much and maybe better, and if you need to completely change the consistency of an ingredient, it will most likely need to be reduced hot on the stove; or entirely in a food processor.
4. Fancy Fruit Shredder. Any gadget with marketed unlimited uses usually isn’t useful at all.
5. If you want to be serious about making food, stop using an electric mixer, especially for baking brownies, cakes and eggs. Whisk! Only use it to make something that needs to be aerated, like homemade whipped cream or souffle.