5 Kitchen Tools You Need In Your Kitchen
When it comes to kitchen gadgetry, many of us would do well to follow the example of Nigel Slater, the cookery writer. He champions a kind of Japanese minimalism. His kitchen is pared-back and clutter-free. His favourite gadget is an old wooden spoon. “I am not fond of gadgets,” he told an interviewer once, ”those little bits and pieces that really only have one use, and you only use them once a year. Long ago, I took the gadget drawer and tipped it upside down over the bin and everything went. They’re gone.”
It’s true that many of us collect, over the course of time, dozens of gadgets that we don’t really need. But it’s also true that there are some we couldn’t imagine life in the kitchen without, which make cooking a quicker, better, easier experience. What follows is a small selection of those which we think are absolutely essential to have in the kitchen. Some are only a few pounds, a few are reasonably expensive, but they justify their price on the grounds that they get a lot of use and last for a long time.
Borough Kitchen Pan
One of these pans found its way into the MOB studio a few years ago, and it’s been used to cook hundreds of recipes since. It is expensive, but pans like these are versatile enough that you don’t need to own many others. It’s non-stick, which is best for everyday use, and wide and deep enough that you can use it to cook big dishes — like frittatas or stews — as well as more routine things like fried eggs.
Zesting a lemon with a bad grater is one of life’s most joyless exercises. The opposite is also true. Once you’ve experienced the ease with which a really good grater goes through a job, you won’t look back. Microplanes are the sharpest zesters out there. They are more expensive than a conventional grater but that’s because they’re better, and make light work of whatever they come across things — ginger, citrus, nutmeg, and much else besides.
I make the case that if you own only two expensive kitchen items, they should be a good pan and a good knife, which you can supplement with other, cheaper ones (Ikea, for example, sells good knives).
Expensive knives are generally made in Germany or Japan. Unless you’re an expert sharpener, German knives are a better option than Japanese ones, which are made of softer steel and require more maintenance. The Wusthof chef’s knife is beautifully weighted, incredibly sharp, and requires minimal upkeep. I use my Wusthof almost every time I cook. It is worth every penny.
The Rex peeler is so iconic in Switzerland, where it was designed, that it has featured on postage stamps there. There’s only so much you can say about a peeler. It’s incredibly sharp, well-designed, and it has a little side knife for cutting out eyes in potatoes. They are made of stainless steel, though, so you’ll need to wash it by hand to stop it from rusting.
If you already have a good pair of tongs you don’t need to read this. If you don’t, it’s time you bought some. You’ll wonder why you hadn’t sooner. Use them for everything: tossing a salad, turning roast potatoes, or serving spaghetti. Buy a silicon pair so they don’t damage the non-stick surface of your pans.