For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with kitchen gadgets, starting with my childhood favorite infomercial – the Miracle Blade Knife set. I watched that infomercial so many times and promised myself I would order the knife set as soon as I turned 18. I knew it was probably too good to be true, but I loved the gimmicky marketing tactics, as the infomercial knives easily sliced through bricks, aluminum cans, and other ridiculous items you would never use a kitchen knife for. While I (sadly) never ordered the knives, my curiosity has lead to multiple drawers full of random gizmos, and maybe a small addiction.
While I would love to tell you that each gadget has been magical, freeing up hours of time every week, unfortunately I’ve learned a very sad lesson. Most of the gadgets out there are junk. However, what I have come to realize is that sometimes, it’s the most basic tools that end up being the most efficient in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s the cheapest, most overlooked items that actually do end up saving time and energy, and sometimes a tool that only does one thing actually comes in super useful, if you spend a lot of time doing that one thing. Learn to appreciate the simple tools in your kitchen, and you’ll be a happier cook.
1. Rolling Pin Rings
This is a new addition to my kitchen, and I can’t believe I didn’t find these sooner. These little rings go on the ends of your rolling pin to create uniformity in size to whatever you’re trying to flatten. Cookies, pizza crust, and other baked goods come out to the same thickness every time. No more thin sections that burn while the rest remains underbaked. Even if you’re not the biggest baker, these rings are super cheap, easy to store, and will come in very handy when you want all your cookies to be the same size.
2. Immersion Blender
The immersion blender is amazing. While my Vitamix is clearly the superior blender for making things silky smooth, my immersion blender gets pulled out far more often. Traditional blenders are big and clunky, impossible to clean without pulling everything apart, and always stained and ugly. Not to mention, it takes up valuable real estate in a small kitchen. Immersion blenders are small, easy to clean, and extremely efficient.
Have you ever tried pureeing a large pot of soup in a traditional blender? It’s time consuming, and and can be very messy. The immersion blender can go right in your pot of soup, quickly make it creamy and smooth, and shave precious time off cleanup. Making a pureed salsa? Put your ingredients right in the container you want to store it in, and blend it up. Less dishes equals less mess, and that’s why the immersion blender is one of my most used gadgets.
3. Various Scrapers and Spatulas
Having a variety of different spatulas and scrapers may not feel like an essential tool, but I heavily rely on all of the above scrapers at different times. Whether you’re tearing wet dough off of your cutting board with the metal scraper, digging out a teaspoon of honey with the small spatulas, or cleaning every bit of batter out of your mixing bowl, having the right tool for the job is a simple way to make your life easier. They may not be the most sexy tools in the drawer, but when time is of the essence, efficiency can be very sexy.
Every home cook needs a kitchen scale, especially if you’re a serious baker. Do you want your special cake recipe to come out the same every time? Quit using tablespoons and measuring cups, and start measuring your ingredients by weight. It’s inevitable that some recipes will ask for something by weight, and let me tell you, that can be a hard thing to estimate.
5. Corn Stripper
Yes, this tool only does one thing, but it strips corn off the cob exceptionally well, and corn is delicious. It easily slices through fresh corn, but I prefer to use it for grilled corn. Peel and throw your corn directly on the grill until lightly charred, then effortlessly strip off the kernels for a sweet and smoky addition to salads, salsas, or pretty much anything else, because corn is delicious.
6. Frog Spatula
I firmly believe every kitchen needs a frog spatula. No explanation needed.