In the three years that this blog has been alive, I haven’t once divulged what tools you need to make all of the things I share with you. How rude.
I don’t feel that bad, though. Because to tell you the truth, you don’t need much. You’ve been told you do, but you don’t. Promise me you won’t get sucked under the tsunami of kitchen gadgets at Bed Bath & Beyond or Williams-Sonoma. Don’t fall for the gimmicks of the single-use item. I’m looking at you, egg slicer, strawberry huller, avocado slicer, banana slicer. How about…. just using a good knife? In my opinion, these aforementioned tools are ridiculous and a giant waste of money. I don’t believe you need them.
I do believe in investing in a few, solid items that will last you a lifetime. In the words of Ina Garten, get some GOOD tools. Whenever I begin to cook for a new client they are weary that they do not have enough tools. Untrue. I remember going to cook at someone’s house once that had mountains of tools (and of course, hills of single-use gimmicks) and no general grater. Womp, womp. Don’t make that mistake. Here are the eleven items I believe will take you far, (with links to where you can buy them) including the brands I use. Because yes, brands definitely do matter. These are the tools I (usually) have with me at all times while I work.
Really good knives take precedence over all other tools. This means SHARP. Don’t worry, you’re going to show that knife who’s boss, not the other way around. Make sure the steel of the knife runs from tip to tip (including running through the handle). This will ensure you a sturdy knife and not one that simple has a flimsy handle attached to it. When you go to the store, hold the knife in your hand. Feel it well. Does it feel comfortable to you? Can you imagine using it daily? Having a good knife will make cooking enjoyable for you. How many times have you smushed stuff instead of cut it? We all know how this feels. The brands I prefer are Wusthof and Henkels.
Chef’s knife (Wusthof) or (Henckels): This is your basic knife; you’ll use it 75% of the time. Invest well here, a knife less than $100 will not last you long or cut very well. Go for 8”-10” depending on the size of your hand.
Paring knife (Wusthof): For smaller cuts and garnishes.
Boning knife (Wusthof): For, you guessed it, de-boning animals or to remove fat from cuts of meat.
Serrated knife (Wusthof): For bread, tomatoes, eggplant, or other foods that have slippery skin.
Super-fast Thermapen (Thermapen): There are lots of meat thermometers out there, but really, only the thermapen deserves to be in this category. It’s digital, instant, and accurate. Personally, I’m too impatient to wait for the dial of a non-digital thermometer and half the time they’re not accurate. It’s over $90, so it’s a bit expensive but TRUST ME, you need this. I carry it around in my purse like an OCD crazy person. A lot of people are scared of cooking meat because of the whole doneness thing, but thermapen will take that matter into its own hands. If you have the thermapen, you can cook meat perfectly with no guesswork involved. Things are either at temperature or not. It can also be used for baked goods, candies, and melting sugar/caramel.
Microplane grater (Microplane): Use this for cheese, citrus zest, nutmeg, chocolate, or anything else you need to grate, along with your skin, so be careful and gentle while using it.
Peeler (OXO): While sometimes I use my paring knife to peel foods, there is no match for a (good) vegetable peeler that actually does the job right.
Mandoline (Benriner): There is no better way to get even, perfect slices of vegetables or fruits. The mandoline has saved my life many-a-time during times of making gratins or casseroles. The only downside is that it’s sort of a weapon, so be cautious and gentle with yourself when you use it.
Wooden cutting board (Boos Block): Please ditch the plastic. Invest in a good wooden cutting board that allows you ample space to work. I prefer larger ones because I hate feeling limited while I chop. Make sure you take care of it, too, by waxing it down from time to time.
Immersion blender (KitchenAid): This gadget works wonders for soups, sauces, and purees. Plus, it saves you dishes of cleanup. I literally keep this in my car for emergencies. Extreme? Yes, but that’s just how I roll
Fish spatula (Winco (wooden handle) or MIU France (plastic handle)): This is the only spatula I use and I’m in love with it. It isn’t limited to fish, it’s for everything. The thinness and curve of this steel makes it unmatchable. Use it for flipping any food item.
Steel scraper (OXO): This is primarily used to cut pastry, but I use it to neatly scoop up or move little piles of cut foods.
Flat-edge wooden spoon (Eddingtons): Keyword: flat edge. Rounded wooden spoons or spatulas are not able to run themselves across a pan while cooking the way a flat-edge one does; they are limited to the tiny tip that comes in contact with the pan. The flat-edge gets the job done.
Rubber spatula (OXO): I use this to get every last bit of food or batters out of bowls/pans.
We cannot make sustainable change with food, our bodies, or our surrounding habits until we honestly explore and get curious about our relationship with each of them. Mindset change is not easy, but so, so worth it.
Being healthy starts with learning to cook simple foods in easy, delicious ways with approachable and practical recipes and techniques.
Our health begins with properly nourishing our bodies with nutrient-dense foods. I believe in bio-individuality: each person requires different types and amounts of food to feel their best. Learn how to eat intuitively for the rest of your life!