I’ve gotten more and more fascinated by home cooking, since my leap into more frugal living. I dabbled some in gardening this summer. I learned a lot and hope to have even more success next year. The more I cook, the more I realize that I am a little short on some really necessary tools. Starting this week, I’m going to inventory the items I have in my kitchen, get rid of the things I don’t need, and make room for the things I do need.
Good Set of Heavy Duty Pans – We got a new set of pans at Costco last year that have been amazingly wonderful. They’re all thick and conduct heat evenly. They are easy to clean, difficult to damage, and do an all around fabulous job of not burning my food.
Wooden Utensils – Most pans come with a non-stick coating these days. Even the ones that don’t could be better cared for by using non-metal utensils. I like the wooden ones most because plastic conducts heat far too efficiently, and even melts if you leave it sit in the wrong spot (or forget to remove it from the pan you’re stirring).
Cook Book – The one tool I couldn’t live without is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It’s got a ton of great basic recipes, sections in every chapter for types of foods, cuts of meat, seasonings, suggested preparation tips, and very plain language. It’s best to always keep a basic cookbook around. Specialty cookbooks are rarely worth the space they take up in your kitchen though.
Food Processor – I had a food processor with TOO many gadgets and plastic pieces. It was a pain in the tush to store, but it had a lot of great uses. I wonder if this is worth replacing with a simpler device. I’m going to give it a try. We’ll let you know how that goes.
Knives – Anyone who spends much time cooking can tell you the importance of a good set of knives. Trying to do food prep with dull knives is frustrating at best and dangerous at worst.
Bread Machine – I don’t need anything fancy or gadgety, just a simple bread machine that will make it possible for me to make fresh bread without spending hours in the kitchen.
Stand Mixer – Ok, so this one isn’t so much a NEED as a want. It would make my life infinitely easier, especially during holiday cooking season. (Why no, I’m really NOT sighing wistfully….honest)
Canner – I love everything to do with Pumpkin. This year, I really want to can as much pumpkin butter and pumpkin puree as I can. I would love to have this available for recipes all year.
I’m not buying anything new. I’ll be liberating items that friends don’t use anymore, checking out Freecycle and Craigslist, and even the local thrift stores for great deals on used kitchen tools. Do you have a Kitchen Favorites list? What can’t you live without when you’re cooking?