Top Ate...Kitchen Essentials

11-14-13
Shortly after graduating from UMASS, I moved into my first "grown-up" apartment about 10 miles north of Boston.  I was thrilled to be out on my own, experiencing new adventures in a fantastic city.  Due to my high rent, entry level salary and handbag fixation (this fixation has not gone away, it's just a bit more tame now), I was left with no money to furnish my apartment. So, everything I owned, from furniture to appliances to kitchen tools, had been pre-loved by not just one, but two previous owners, my dad and my grandparents. While I was grateful for the free stuff, sadly, I was not equipped with top-of-the-line kitchen tools and accessories that I so desired.  Nevertheless, this did not stop me from having friends and family over for dinner. I was the only 21-year-old kid having sophisticated dinner parties instead of raging drinking parties. One of my fondest memories is making fondue for eight of my closest friends in my shoebox sized apartment. We were all tripping over each other to reach our bread into the fondue pot. Over the years, I have acquired several kitchen items that I use multiple times every single day.  While some of my Top Ate might not be necessities on everyone's list, each one is certainly an integral part of my kitchen.

1. Nesting Measuring Cups: These measuring cups are the perfect union of style and practicality in the kitchen.  The are pretty enough to leave out on my counter but can also be thrown right in the dishwasher after cooking.  The ones I have are discontinued, but Anthropologie has plenty of other adorable options.  I wish I could rationalize owning 3 or 4 sets of these! Purchased at: Anthropologie

2. Set of Three Plastic Cutting Boards: I realize that a lot of people prefer wooden cutting boards.  While I understand the reasoning, I prefer the dishwasher-ready convenience of the pastil cutting boards.  Wooden cutting boards require so much maintenance that I just don't have the patience for!  I tend to use all 3 each day making an effort to color coordinate a meat board separate from a raw foods board.  Purchased at: Homegoods (only the best store ever!)

3. Microplane Graters: There are two reasons why I really do use these every day.  First, you may have noticed that most of my recipes call for grated garlic.  I use the Rasp Grater almost every time I cook with garlic.  It allows me to stream a garlicky flavor throughout my entire dish with large chunks that could cause an unpleasant bite.  Second, I typically grate my own cheese.  I find that freshly grated cheese melts better and offers a more authentic cheesy texture and flavor.  The Extra Course Elite Paddle Grater works well for almost any cheese.  The cover that doubles as a measuring cup is an added bonus. Purchased at William-Sonoma

4. Aprons: Okay, so I know that my aprons are not essential kitchen tools, but how could I not include them?  A girl who spends so much time cooking has to look cute doing so.  I am often in the kitchen as soon as I get home from work without having time to change.  These aprons are a must to make sure my clothes stay clean.  In addition, I like to buy aprons with a pocket to keep my phone/camera within arm's reach at all times. Otherwise, I am constantly asking my husband to call my phone.  While Anthropolgie often rotates and discontinues its styles, there is always an irresistible option that pulls at my overwhelming urge to buy. Purchased at: Anthropologie

5. Set of Calphalon Non-stick Pans: I could scream it from the rooftops! I LOVE these pans.  The best part about these non-stick pans is that the coating really does not come off.  These pans are the reason I am able to use less oil in my cooking but still get great color on my meats and veggies.  Did I mention HOW MUCH I LOVE THESE PANS? Purchased at: Bed, Bath and Beyond (available elsewhere)

6. Olive Oil Cruet:  Olive oil is one my of Top Ate Ingredients.  I love this particular cruet so much for two important reasons.  First, the spout on this cruet allows the olive oil to stream freely and quickly without dripping. Second, the charming design with oil written in different languages makes me smiles each time I use it! Purchased at: Crate & Barrel
7. Salt Pot: Salt is another one of my Top Ate Ingredients and I use it in almost every recipe that you'll find on this site.  Because I use it so often, my salt pot lives on my counter right next to my stovetop. So, of course, it has to be cute since I see it all the time.  It also has to have a lid to protect it from kitchen schmootz (technical term for flying, crackling, spitting debris). Purchased at: Anthropologie

8. Sharp Versatile Knife: Six years ago, my husband and I received a W├╝sthof Classic Santuko knife as a wedding gift.  I still use it daily to slice, dice and chop.  The versatility and durability of this knife are fantastic.  I really do use it for everything (except bread, I have a separate bread knife)!  It came with a knife sharpener to keep it in tip top shape.  Purchased at William-Sonoma.

6 comments:

Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch said...

I love all you essentials! I need a salt pot! Hopefully one of these days soon! Have a wonderful day!

JenDickman said...

Thanks for stopping by Serena! I can't live without my salt pot!

Kim said...

Ha I know what you mean about the handbag fixation!!! Love your blog, I'm always interested to see what gadgets and "must haves" people have in their kitchens. I've nominated you for the Liebster Award! Thanks for sharing your recipes & thoughts!

V Diddy said...

I have the same Calphalon pans! Got them at the William Sonoma outlet for a bargain, use them all the time!

JenDickman said...

Couldn't live without them!

JenDickman said...

Thanks Kim! I plan to reciprocate! I appreciate the nomination.