The Essential Kitchen: Cook's Tools

Tools For a City Cook's Kitchen

The Essential Kitchen: Cook's Tools

Tools For a City Cook's Kitchen

You can make most meals with only a good knife, a wooden spoon and a set of tongs.  But there are about 30 other tools that should be in most cooks' kitchens.  After that it's up to you to resist the lure of the kitchen gadget.  As with pots, pans and knives, buy the best quality you can afford, especially for the basics, and you'll have them forever. 

The Essentials

Tip:  I love my Zyliss mechanical can opener.  I've had it forever and I am happy to know that even with a power outage, I can open a can of tuna.

Tip:  Instead of a fancy fish boning tool, pliers do a far better job; plus you can use them to fix things around the apartment.


Optional Items

These are utensils and tools that are either personal favorites, are needed for certain types of cooking, or are otherwise idiosyncratic to you.  But resist stocking up on gadgets you'll rarely use:  you'll only fill up precious drawer space.

Tip:  Marcella Hazan told me that a garlic press only smashes the garlic, releasing its oil and eliminating the surfaces that are needed to brown the garlic.  Instead of using a press, practice your knife skills so as to get a very fine mince and you'll get a better flavor.

Tip: The new silicone brushes will last longer and clean more easily but the bristles aren't as fine as those made of nylon or boar so if you're primarily going to use it for baking, opt for a paint brush instead.


Baking Tools and Electric Appliances

These are separate categories that need their own attention that we'll address separately.

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Cookware & TabletopEssential Tools

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