There’s one thing you need to know about me: I love to cook. No, I really love to cook. But all the love and passion for anything in this world means absolutely nothing if you don’t have the right tools for the job. So often, people cram their kitchen spaces with machines and gadgets that an able-bodied person can do with just their hands and a little elbow grease. The time has come, though, to break the bonds you have with that Kitchen Aid 35-in-one monstrosity and bring it back to the basics with these must-haves:
1. A Silicone Spatula
Albeit not the best material for modern-day augmentations, silicone is heat resistant up to 800 degrees and can be used as an all-purpose tools fro everything from folding those late-night scrambled eggs to adjusting anything that might even look hotter than Hades to the touch. And because it’s silicone, it’s much easier to clean than its plastic or wooden cousins.
Brian’s recommendation: Le Creuset’s “Spatula Spoon”.
2. A (mid-sized) Chef’s Knife
In a world where longer is perceived as being better, an eight-inch chef’s knife is the perfect size for handing both large and small cutting jobs throughout your kitchen space. Make sure that whatever knife you end up getting has a handle with some weight to it and the blade is durable and sharp. Chef’s knives are ideal for chopping onions, tomatoes, beets, carrots and potatoes for some homemade fries. You do make your own French fries, right?
Brian’s recommendation: Quintin Middleton, an S.C. native, has a beautiful collection of knives that you might want to try.
3. A Stainless-Steel Skillet
This tool is absolutely crucial for anyone who has ever given a damn about a well-made steak. For too long, people have destroyed steaks over the grill and stove top, cooking them into sad, little shells of the meat that they once were; but I digress. You can use this skillet for sauteing, roasting and browning various meats and vegetables. Keeping in mind that it’s stainless-steel, you can also deglaze the pan after browning chicken or searing beef, to make a delicious jus that you can later pour over the finished product.
Brian’s recommendation: Williams-Sonoma carries an All-Clad version of the skillet.
4. Kitchen Towels
Aside from being cost effective and environmentally friendly, kitchen towels are essential in keeping your space clean before, during and after you’ve finished preparing a meal. They also come in handy when trying to grip things that might be too hot to the touch. Cotton will do. It’s heavy duty and machine washable. Towels are good for the everyday spills and such of your culinary misadventures.
Brian’s recommendation: Kitchen towels from Target.
5. The Four-Quart Saucepan
A veritable workhorse of any kitchen, the sauce pan is an indispensable tool that allows you to boil and simmer everything that your heart desires. Great for various soup stocks but delicate enough to boil an egg or two, the best sauce pan enlists the heartiness of steel with the lightweight agility of aluminum.
Brian’s recommendation: Calphalon’s Non-Stick Saucepan