We travel, we shop, and we basically discover new things each and every week. But honestly, many of my favorite fabulous finds are those that I end up using each and every day. When I’m home, I love to cook as much as possible. Yes, I love to go out, too, but out of our 21 meals a week, I cook about 16-17 of them. I also do a lot of prep work, since we try really hard to only bring whole and real foods into the house.
Over the years, I have found there are five tools you will always find on my kitchen counter being used each and every day. There is nothing fancy about these tools. They are all basic and not expensive, but make the biggest difference in my everyday life in the kitchen.
I have an entire drawer full of knives. This knife, that knife, a knife for this, and a knife for that. I also have expensive knives, cheap knives, and everything in-between. And honesty, I do use them all over the course of a week. But there is one knife that is on my cutting board in the morning, used all day (of course cleaned after each use), washed at night, and moved from the drying towel to my cutting board in the morning. It is my Wusthof Classic 8” Chef’s Knife.
This knife literally does everything for me, including all the things they tell you NOT to use a knife for, like cutting dog pills. The tip is perfect for stripping kale, the blade is perfect for everything, and the weight is comfortable to use all day. This is the knife I use when I am too lazy to pull out the “should use” tool and the one gets the most use for my weekly food prep. Do not tell the professionals, but I also use it as a spatula now and then when getting hot cookies off a cookie sheet.
Nothing fancy in my house. Who wants to wash two part juicers and have to put them away. I use citrus at almost every meal…from a little lemon juice on our avocado in the morning to a little lime juice for mixing into a salad dressing to the lunch I pack for my husband. Then, mid morning I love fresh squeezed OJ and with this wonderful little gadget, I get every drop of juice from my orange.
Truth is we have a few of these and one is kept at our bar for cocktails. There are a variety of wooden juices both in shape and type of wood. I like one that is a little heavier to make my work easier and I like one with a juicer head that will work on all types of citrus. For this, as well as all my wooden tools, I never use any type of soap on it. I simply wash with warm water.
Chinese Spider Spoon
Who needs to pull out a strainer when you have a Chinese Spider Spoon. Mine is so old the wood handle has fallen off. I use this when making pasta, steaming veggies, taking chicken out of the soup to pull the meat from it, and even when I hard boil eggs and put them in an ice bath. It is a simple tool, but it saves time and my needing to pull out strainers and bowls, and so many other utensils.
Small wooden spatula from Greece
When I bought this years ago I had no idea how useful it would be. I was walking in Oia on Santorini and wandered into this small shop filled with wooden tools, boards, and bowls. Honestly, I wanted to buy it all and just about did.
As I went up to pay there was a box of these stranded shaped tools. I had no idea what I would use them for, but I just loved them and the grains in the wood. Needless-to-say, I bought five. I kept them all in my kitchen and as friends saw me use them, I have given away three. I am down to two. Literally, I use them everyday for everything. I am a slow scramble egg cooker over a low heat and this works better than a spatula. I really need to get back to Greece and buy more.
I do not buy fancy tongs. Truth is, I run to Target and pick up the cheapest ones there that day. This last time, I got these fancy ones with a self-locking handle that keeps them squeezed together in the drawer. I literally have ones in my drawer held together by a hair tie. Tongs are perfect for everything from handling raw meat to flipping things on the grill to pulling things out of the oven. I also use them as a serving tool.
These metal ones are the ones I use for every day. This morning they were used for flipping and taking portobello mushrooms and spinach from the pan and plating it for breakfast. Then they will flip my grilled cheese at lunch. Platting with tongs is so easy and I love using them to plate pasta and twirl them to make serving interesting.
Having the right tools makes the biggest difference in the kitchen. When we travel, a few of these items find their way into my travel kit. But, honestly, when we rent homes when we travel, these items always go with me!
Do you have any kitchen tools you use every day? Is there anything we should try?
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.