Now, I am not big on posting "must have items." After all, I am working on simplifying my life and consuming less. When I buy things however, I want them to have function. Also, if I spend money on something, I want it to be good quality. It annoys me to spend money on inferior merchandise.
We spend a lot of time in our kitchen cooking, in case I haven't mentioned that....oh, a million times. When you do a lot of cooking, I feel that nice kitchen tools are a worthy investment. I am not talking about nice cookware (that is just essential). Instead, I am talking about the little items that are perhaps harder to justify spending much money on.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
We have some All-Clad measuring cups and spoons, probably the only All-Clad I will ever own. In all honesty, I asked for these for Christmas because the price is hefty. I adore them. I love the heft of them. I love that they are, in themselves, mini pots. These are not going to warp, or bend, or wear funky. Sure, we have a set of plastic cups as well, but I rather despise them in comparison. And the spoons! Let me rhapsodize a bit about the spoons. Can I say that I love sturdy measuring spoons? I can't stand the cheap plastic and metal one's that you find at Target and the like. Not to mention that often they aren't level--they have an annoying little lip that isn't flush between the spoon and the handle.
I don't think you need this particular All-Clad set per se. But, I do think that an equally sturdy metal set of cups and spoons would be a good purchase. Are they going to be more expensive? Yes. But worth it.
I actually got this as a wedding gift. The woman said it was the best peeler she has come across. I have to agree with her. We spend a lot of time these days peeling fruit and vegetables. I get annoyed if this one is in the dishwasher, and I have to use our other, inferior one. I looked up the price the other day and was surprised by it. A bit more money than one would want to spend on a vegetable peeler, but am I glad that I have it? Oh yeah.
If you are going to have an immersion blender, then you should pay the price and get a decent one. I like ones that have variable speeds. A one speed blender is sort of pointless in my book. We use ours for smoothies (using frozen fruit), pureeing soups in the pot, making soap (a separate one just for that purpose), you name it. We started out with a KitchenAid which worked really well.......but then the motor gave out on us (after using it everyday, multiple times a day for a couple of years). We have replaced it with a DeLonghi. We will see how long this lasts. There are pros and cons about each brand. Just get one that has good reviews.
Obviously, a good knife is essential. This is my favorite one. Again, I get annoyed when this one is dirty and I have to use one of our other perfectly good, sharp knives. I just love the shape of this and how it chops. Of course, a good knife needs to be kept sharp. I rely on Mr. F. to do that for me. One of the perks of keeping him around.
Some good sharp paring knives would be worth the money, too. We have some of these. They are pretty decent, and originally, I loved the bright colors. Warning to parents: having brightly colored knives with young kids around is ALWAYS a bad idea. They are instantly drawn to them.
(The links are just examples, not a specific recommendation)
All silicone spatulas. These are actually ridiculously hard to find. But I am done with spatulas that have a removable head, or are obviously made from two different materials. Water gets in the crevices which leads to the spatulas getting moldy. They are impossible to clean.
Decent metal spatulas. If you haven't ditched your teflon......do. You don't need it. Just cook with more butter. It isn't going to kill you. And then you don't have to worry about plastic spatulas that will inevitably melt in spots where you leave it too close to the pan/burner. Metal spatulas are perfect for stainless steel or cast iron cookware.
Microplane Graters. People, if you are still using inferior graters for zesting your citrus. Just stop. Save your sanity and go buy a Microplane. I finally bought one for my sister. Every year she insists on having some sort of citrus cake for her birthday. I always got the task of zesting the lemons. I spent more time picking lemon zest out of the small grater using a tooth pick than I took to actually zest the lemon. They are also great for Parmesan cheese, grating ginger, mincing garlic, etc.
And last but not least.....
This is by no means necessary, but if you want a good cheese knife (and by good, I mean the best I have ever tried) consider:
The Cheese Knife. Life changing. Thanks to the in-laws for the introduction to this little gem.