My kitchen was the first room I really invested in as an adult: I bought astand mixer, a dutch oven, a high-end and nice plates and wine glasses. But aside from the chef’s knife, a few smaller purchases have become more vital to my daily cooking and food prep routines than any of the luxury items. For just a few bucks, in some cases, these tools can change the experience of cooking, and make the elaborate prep involved in the holidays much more manageable.
Here are six tools that can seriously elevate the quality and aesthetic of the food coming out of your kitchen.
The single best investment in my kitchen over the past four years has been a mandoline. Essentially, it’s an adjustable slicer for fruits and veggies, and it makes preparing salads a breeze. All the intricate slicing you normally have to do for good salads is so much easier with a mandoline, and prepping veggies for pickling is just as easy. Not only does this make everything you slice look uniform and beautiful, it also gives you fantastic opportunities to punch up textures in your typical dishes.
If you cook steak with any regularity, you probably already have a cast-iron skillet. But those skillets are just as helpful for making all kinds of meat, from chicken to octopus. One of my favorite recipes I’ve been honing over the years is an octopus-lime bagna cauda — and well-seared baby octopus is one of the most important components. When it’s too cold, or I’m too lazy, to use the grill, my cast-iron skillet is perfect for searing those tiny tentacles.
A good chef knife isn’t cheap, but it’s an investment that’ll last you years. The problem is, many of