If you follow me on Pinterest, then you know that I have a fascination (READ: obsession?) with food and cooking and entertaining. Basically, with feeding people. And myself. In short, I love to cook.
And so I love kitchen tools. In fact, I have drawers full of kitchen tools that I inherited from my grandmother – some of which I’ve never used, some of which I use sporadically, but they are all fascinating to me because they have a place in a well-used kitchen. I have a tiny hand-held cherry-pitter, melon ballers of various sizes, cheese slicers and cheese graters, egg separators and egg slicers – I can imagine my grandmother using them to make delicacies of the 1940s and 1950s; for some reason, visions of aspics float through my head (though I’m fairly certain she never traveled that meat-jello laden road).
1. Vintage JuiceKing Juicer
I remember my grandfather using this very same JuiceKing Juicer to squeeze fresh orange juice on weekend mornings when I was a kid – bacon sizzling on the stove, pancakes awaiting M&M faces. My husband loves this as much as I do – he uses it when bartending for our dinner and parties (and just for us) to squeeze fresh juice. I love it for the memories and the fact that it’s a survivor – still useful and relevant after more than 50 years of use; my husband loves the vintage feel. You can buy vintage JuiceKing juicers on eBay or you can buy a modern one from a store like Bed, Bath & Beyond – and check it out: the “modern” ones look exactly the same. Buy it here. $39.99
2. Herb Scissors
These are not vintage, but they are probably one of my most-used tools. My husband, er, Santa, left them in my Christmas stocking one year, and I think they are just about the most brilliant invention. No more ripping off tiny rosemary leaves and risking slicing off your fingernail while trying to chop them. They allow you to chop just about every herb you can imagine right from the stem – cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage . . . with the exception of the ever-annoying thyme (the herbal thorn in my side). They are brilliant. If you cook, you need them. Buy them here. $11.95
3. Microplane Grater/Zester
Citrus zest makes such a great addition to so many recipes, sweet and savory, entree or side dish, salads and desserts, sauces and dressings and marinades, oh my. Seriously, for everything from lemons and limes and oranges to spices like nutmeg and cardamom to hard cheese like parmesan, the grater/zester is a necessity. Buy one here. $14.95
4. Immersion Blender
5. Cast Iron Skillet
There’s no better pan than a cast iron skillet. It goes smoothly from the stovetop to the oven and is just so dang versatile. They require a teensy bit of prep and upkeep (seasoning your cast iron skillet lends to its longevity in your kitchen), but it’s a definite must-have. Buy here on Amazon. $11.99 and up
(A close second and definite runner up is a good quality Dutch oven.)