I have never thought of myself as a foodie or kitchen elitist. Perhaps, I have naively considered myself “normal.” Well, this illusion has been shattered. I recently took a trip to a family member who shall remain nameless. We went to the local food store to stock up on necessities needed to cook up simple vegan meals. While attempting to prepare my meal I was frustrated beyond belief. No paring knife, cutting board, chef’s knife, salad spinner. WHAT?? Each time I looked for a particular item, I would text my anonymous family member, “Do you have…?” Only to hear, “No, I don’t.” This was said with incredulity and an attitude that said, “Did you really expect me to have that?” Needless to say, I did not do much cooking during my stay and have promised my ------- that every gift she receives from me for the next five years will be kitchen related.
We have all seen the list of kitchen essentials found at the beginning of cookbooks. I never read these lists and always think, “Is there anyone who doesn't have these things? So I decided to make a list of my personal kitchen essentials, things I use often and do not want to have missing from my kitchen.
Knives- I don’t believe that you need to break the bank, but you do need three knives in your kitchen: a paring knife, serrated knife and chef’s knife.
Cutting Board- Now that I have visited two homes that do not have cutting boards, I will no longer assume that this is a tool found in every kitchen. I did have a bamboo cutting board that I loved, but it got mold so I recommend a plastic board.
Cast Iron Skillet- I plan to pass my skillet down to my grand kids (my son is four years old). It is great for making pancakes and pan frying crispy tofu.
Individual Blender- I have a regular-sized blender that I rarely use, because I hate cleaning it. I use my individual blender sometimes three times a day. It’s simple to use and easy to clean.
Food Processor- I strongly dislike using my food processor, because I hate cleaning it. Yet, I cannot deny its usefulness.
Toaster Oven- Unfortunately after seven years, my toaster oven has gone kaput. This is another tool that I use at least three to four times a week. I use it to bake up veggie burgers and even roast chickpeas in it.
Salad Spinner- Water pooled at the bottom of a salad bowl is unappetizing; this is where a salad spinner comes in. It ensures that greens are crisp and clean.
Slow Cooker- My slow cooker is used mostly to cook beans a pound at a time.
Popcorn Popper- Is this essential? Have you seen the price of microwave popcorn?
Metal Steamer Basket- This is a cheap metal steamer that can be placed in a pot; it can be used to steam vegetables. I have used my steamer to prepare seitan using Terry Hope Romero’s recipe from Salad Samurai.
I am sure that I can think of a few more “essentials” to add to this list, perhaps this explains why my kitchen cupboards are overflowing. What are your kitchen essentials?