So if you subscribe to our newsletter, your eyes aren’t deceiving you–we shared this a couple of weeks ago. But it turned out to be kind of a controversial post and people had a lot to say, so I decided to open up to conversation to everyone. (Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I came down with a sudden, nasty upper respiratory infection and the idea of editing pictures and writing stuff people might want to read made me feel dark inside, so here we are.)
Whether you’ve had your own kitchen for awhile or are just getting started on collecting kitchen tools, you might be wondering what you do and don’t need. Take it from a girl who’s been down the road of gadget overconsumption–you need less than you think! Here are my tips on 5 things you don’t need (and 3 that you do.)
5 Things You Don’t Need
KitchenAid Professional Series. Don’t get me wrong–I love my KitchenAid mixer. I had two classic/artisan mixers before I got my professional size mixer and I miss them like crazy. First of all, it’s too big and the motor isn’t adequate for heavy-duty jobs. If I’m making a giant batch of cookies or a million loaves of bread, I pull out my Bosch mixer. But for everyday jobs or small loaves of bread, it’s too large to adequately mix things. Secondly, it’s awkward to add dry ingredients after you’ve started mixing (which is essential for so many cake and cookie recipes). With the tilt head, you just lift the head and add the ingredients, but with the professional, you lower the bowl. But there’s still not enough room to add things from a mixing bowl, so you either spill ingredients or you have to remove the attachments, remove the bowl, then reattach everything. And finally, the attachments aren’t dishwasher safe–they don’t have the enamel coating on them, which means they’re pretty and also that they will be ruined if you put them in the dishwasher. Plus, the professional model is significantly more expensive, so if you’re on the fence about mixer size, definitely go with the smaller Kitchenaid mixers.
Silicone baking mats. This is a controversial one, especially since I have advocated having them in the past. But. Here’s my thing. If I still have to wash it (and it’s not easy to wash), what’s the point? I mean, aside from things not sticking to the pan. What do I recommend instead? Parchment paper all the way. You could buy a lot of rolls (or boxes of cookie sheet-sized pieces) for the cost of one Silpat. Now, Roul’Pats on the other hand (silicone mats for rolling dough) are treasures.
Garlic press. This is another tool I’ve recommended in the past. But, after breaking several, and realizing that I spend more time cleaning them than it would have taken me to chop the garlic, it became obsolete in my kitchen. I don’t even own one anymore and I go through at least a head of garlic a week. I actually use a meat mallet now to smash the garlic and remove the peels, then I just give it a quick chop with my knife. So much easier!
Rice cooker. I loved my rice cooker once upon a time, but after I got my Instant Pot, it went unused. One issue I have with rice cookers is that if you have a large cooker, it’s hard to cook small quantities of rice (and vice versa). My Instant Pot still cooks perfect rice (in small or large quantities), but it also does a million other things, so once I realized that, my rice cooker was sent to the great kitchen appliance store in the sky.
Specialty pans like crepe, omelet, and quesadilla pans. With a couple of online tutorials or Youtube videos (or just some rudimentary kitchen basics in the case of the great quesadilla), you can use a small non-stick pan for all these things. Plus a million other things. Resist the middle of the night infomercial temptation.
3 Things You Do Need
Immersion blender. If you ever make sauces or soups that need to be silky smooth, or basically anything hot that you plan on blending (like homemade applesauce), you need an immersion blender. Transferring hot ingredients to a blender (and the subsequent blending) can be dangerous (and kind of scary). Immersion blenders are cheap, safe, and way less messy.
Thermopop. Every kitchen needs a reliable thermometer and Thermopop is the best (America’s Test Kitchen even says so). It’s inexpensive, comes in adorable colors, and can be used on anything from candy to bread to meat on the grill. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than something from Walmart, but it will be more reliable and last longer, saving you money in the long run.
Pineapple corer. If you’ve ever cut a fresh pineapple with a knife, you don’t even need me to explain this one. Just do it. It seems silly until you see it in action and then it just feels right.
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