A few months ago I read an article on The Kitchn about the wedding registry gifts that really get used and those that don’t. I started thinking about my own registry and the things that are still in our cupboards (I love my Mikasa Italian Countryside dinnerware so much!), and I realized that with the exception of a few items, most of my kitchen essentials are things I’ve picked up along the way. And most of them are hardly essential but I’ve gotten to the point where I wouldn’t want to cook without them.
Nonessential Kitchen Essentials
Olive Oil Dispenser – I admit that all of those Rachel Ray cooking shows I watched in grad school sold me on my need for an olive oil dispenser. “Grab your EVOO and swirl around the pan two times!” Having a dispenser makes olive oil so much easier to quickly pour into a pan without overpouring, but it’s also great for little helpers. I can trust Elle to give roasting veggies a few swirls of olive oil with the dispenser without drowning them. Ours is a cheap TableCraft version.
Thermapen Instant Thermometer – When Scott bought this thermometer, I thought he was crazy because it makes it one of our most expensive kitchen gadgets. Now I can’t cook meat without it! We’ve had several thermometers over the years, but this one is instant and incredibly accurate which means that we rarely eat dried out, overcooked meat anymore. I don’t know if Thermapen makes our exact model anymore, but this one is similar.
Vacuum Sealer – The vacuum sealer is another splurge of a buy that has changed the way that we buy food and cook it. In the past I used plastic baggies to freeze cuts of meat or leftover foods, but it’s difficult to get all of the air out of the bags. I also had bags bust or leak when trying to defrost the contents. Now I use the vacuum sealer for all of our frozen foods (except liquids) and we’ve never had any problems with freshness. Our FoodSaver is similar to this.
Ball Jars – What I don’t freeze with the Vacuum Sealer goes in Ball Freezer Jars. Chicken stock, spaghetti sauce, soups. I also love using these jars for snacks and other dry goods in our pantry. Pint and a half jars are my favorites and I love these BPA free storage caps.
Spatulas/Wooden Spoons – This might seem kind of like a no-brainer, but we go through so many silicone spatulas and wooden spoons in a week it’s ridiculous. Since we have non-stick pots, spatulas and wooden utensils go a long way towards keeping our much abused cookware looking nice and working well. Both the spatulas and wooden utensils were cheap finds from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Other items that get a fair amount of use in our house is my Le Creuset Dutch Oven (oh how I love that thing!), tongs (we’ve gone through several pairs), and the George Foreman Grill (yes really).
Curious about those wedding items we thought we had to have but rarely ever use? My blender (I’ve thought about donating this so many times!), the fondue pot, the immersion blender, the shake maker! I’m way overdue for a round of Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff!
What nonessential kitchen items do you find essential to your cooking?
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