So when my husband and I had been married, like, 2 years or something, we had some friends who were celebrating their sixth or seventh wedding anniversary and they were going to lunch. And we swore that we would never be those people who went to lunch for their wedding anniversary.
Next week, we’re celebrating our 13th anniversary. 13 big ones. And we have no immediate plans. We will probably go to lunch or get take-out or something and watch a DVRed episode of Suburgatory or something between dance recitals and third grade graduations. Kidding. Kind of.
All lack of pomp and circumstance aside, it’s fun to reminisce about our wedding day and it’s also fun to imagine that for 13th wedding anniversaries, you get all new stuff because everything you’ve been using for the last 13 years has been destroyed.
Since we’re in the middle of wedding season (or at least getting there), I put together a list of the things that I absolutely cannot live without in the kitchen, things that if you’re setting up your first kitchen or you know someone who is, you’ll definitely want. These are not the sexiest kitchen items out there–there are no ice cream makers or Silpat mats or KitchenAid mixers or adorable measuring cups. But if the zombie apocalpyse were to strike, these are the things that would get me through. Pretty much all of these are under $30, so you don’t even have to break the bank!
1. French Rolling Pin. Everybody needs a rolling pin. I like French rolling pins because they have tapered edges that are great for helping you shape doughs, they’re easy to clean, they’re lightweight, they fit in just about any moving box if you try hard enough, and they’re impossible to break. Well, maybe not impossible, but you’d have to try really hard. $11.97 at Amazon.
2. Ikea Cheese Grater. My husband and I got this cheese grater at Ikea right after we got married and we still have it. Same one. We even have a big ol’ OXO box grater and I have a microplane and we have one of those rotary graters for Parmesan cheese, but this is the one I go back to 9 times out of 10. The sad news is that it’s only available in Ikea stores (or Amazon for, like, 3 times the price), so you either need to pay for it with your sanity and a meatball lunch, or you need to find someone to go and get one for you. And you know you can’t just go into Ikea for a single cheese grater–that, like, defies all the laws of Ikea. But your cheese grater portion of your bill will be $4.99.
3. 5-Quart Non-Stick Skillet. This single piece of equipment gets more use in my kitchen than anything else. I’m on my third or fourth one in 13 years. I don’t even really have a place to store it because I pretty much use it every day, so I wash it by hand, let it dry, and then I use it again. I use it for sauces, stir-fries, eggs, grilled cheese, even rice. The funny thing is that when we got married, we got a cookware set as well as one of these pans and I almost returned it because I thought it was too big and that I’d never use it, but I was so wrong and I’m so glad we kept it! This one is $19.99 from Amazon.
4. Nested Mixing Bowls. I also use these just about every day–they come in a variety of sizes and they’re virtually indestructible, plus they’re adorable. This set is $12.99 from Target.
5. Pyrex 2-Cup Glass Measuring Cup. I have a 1-cup. I have an 8-cup. I have a set of nesting silicone cups. But the 2 cup glass measuring cup is the one I keep coming back to–the silicone discolors and I’m not totally comfortable using it to boil liquids in the microwave (especially since things take on a funky taste.) I had a cheap knock-off for awhile, but it seemed to be made for lefties and the paint faded after not too long. It’s such a simple thing, but it gets a crazy amount of use in my kitchen! This is $4.23 from Amazon.
6. NordicWare Half Sheet Baking Sheet. I’ve mentioned these before, but I got 3 as a wedding gift and I can’t use anything else! They bake evenly and they’re perfect for sheet cakes or cookies or bacon. These ones are $10.97 from Amazon.
7. 6-Quart Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. This is my workhorse–I use it a few times a week and it’s still going strong after 5-6 years. I’ve found anything smaller than a 6 quart is too small for everyday use (for me) and anything bigger is too big. This is like the baby bear of slow cookers and is $29.98 from Amazon.
8. Chef’n Vegetable Peeler. I’ve mentioned this one before, too, but I love it too much and it’s too essential to leave it out! After hacking the heck out of my hands, fingers, and nails, this has saved me a few trips to the ER and it’s $6.99 on Amazon.
9. OXO 8″ Chef Knife. A knife set is great, but everyone needs a good, solid chef knife–you can get by with just one if you need to, and really, one good knife is better than 8 mediocre ones. This one isn’t super spendy, but it’s a good knife and a great bang for the buck at $19.99.
10. Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen & Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites. Everybody needs a good cookbook or two to get started. We might be a tiny bit biased, but our books are kind of a labor of love that started with our own newlywed days (to our husbands, not to each other). We’re not going to send you to the store for weird ingredients you’ll never use again and many of them are budget-friendly.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas for wedding gifts (or for yourself!) Happy Thursday!!