The Shop

14 Prep Tools That Seriously Help Us Get Dinner on the Table Night After Night

July 16, 2018

There are some cooks who believe that the only kitchen tools a person needs are a sharp knife and a cutting board. And then there are the other cooks, those who revel in their gadgets and gizmos aplenty, their Instant Pots and zoodlers, their stand mixer scraper paddles and ravioli presses—aka, Team Food52.

While no one in this office would turn their nose up at a sharp knife or a cutting board (we’re making our very own, that’s how important we think they are!), we also have room in our hearts for whosits and whatsits galore. These are the tools that help us get dinner on the table night after night, the tools that help us make the most of our farmers’ market hauls and our time, the tools that help us find new ways of cooking even more efficiently.

With no disrespect to the mighty chef’s knife, here are the prep tools the Food52 staff can’t live without, meal after meal.

Josh Cohen, Test Kitchen Director

“If you don't feel like chopping veggies by hand and dirtying your cutting board, this product is an elegant solution. The blades are sharp and powerful, and it's easy to clean.”

Nikkitha Bakshani, Associate Editor

"As someone who’s admittedly absentminded, I tend to reach for a new spoon to taste whatever I'm cooking, forgetting that I already used a different spoon for testing that same dish like five minutes prior. That's when my spoon rest has really helped. I don't end up using pretty much every utensil I have at my disposal—fish spatula, rubber spatula, wooden spoon—and just stick with one, making cleanup so much faster."

Connor Bower, Social Media Manager

“My Japanese mortar and pestle! I like to cook with Sichuan peppercorns a lot and these grind ’em down so finely.”

Angela Tribelli, Chief Marketing Officer

Food Mill

“My food mill! I use this for everything: mashed potatoes, chopping large San Marzano tomatoes into small bits, etc. These things usually come with three discs with varying size holes; like Marcella Hazan advises, I only use the disc with the biggest holes. (Because I basically always do what Marcella says.) I usually store the two unused discs for a couple of years and let them gather dust until my guilt diminishes, at which point I just throw them out.”

Kaitlin Bray, Senior Social Media Manager

“I love the GIR silicone spatulas we have in the Shop. They are sturdy, very heat-resistant, and scrape so effectively.”

Jackson Fust, Associate Buyer


“Truly love my Microplane. I had a chintzier zester and finally sprinting for the real thing has made citrus-zesting, ginger-, garlic-, and cheese-grating so much more pleasant and efficient.”

Caroline Harris, Senior VP, Partnerships & Strategy

Mesh Strainers

“I love my fine mesh strainers that come in a set of 3—the large one can be used to sift a lot flour when baking or to drain Israeli couscous or thin noodles.”

Jeremy Beker, Senior Software Engineer

“I use our dough scraper all the time to pick up chopped veggies and things to move to the pan.”

Erin Alexander, Assistant Editor of Partner Content

Stainless Steel Silicone Tongs

“I use these stainless steel silicone tongs almost every single day!”

Megan Güntaş, Digital Designer

Tofu Press

“My tofu press! I couldn't waste all those paper towels any longer.”

Luz Ramirez, Marketing Manager

“Prep bowls are HUGE for me! I have around 12 and rely on them when I'm making anything fun.”

June Kim, Digital Design Director

Citrus Squeezer

“This citrus squeezer has changed my life: I used to just use the kind where it's a twisted knob that you jam into the center of the fruit but straining or picking out the seeds was always so annoying. This is unbelievably easy and convenient!”

What to Make Right Now

What’s your indispensable kitchen prep tool? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Bunny Schulman

Written by: Bunny Schulman

1 Comment

Smaug July 16, 2018
Really wouldn't throw away your food mill discs. Among other things, the finer discs are by far the best way to remove berry seeds. The trick is to find a mill that works well- for such a simple device, manufacturers find a lot of ways to screw it up. I find that a small plate works just fine for a spoon rest, and can accommodate more than one implement.