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.
“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.”
"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."
“My Japanese mortar and pestle! I like to cook with Sichuan peppercorns a lot and these grind ’em down so finely.”
“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.”
“I love the GIR silicone spatulas we have in the Shop. They are sturdy, very heat-resistant, and scrape so effectively.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I use our dough scraper all the time to pick up chopped veggies and things to move to the pan.”
“I use these stainless steel silicone tongs almost every single day!”
“My tofu press! I couldn't waste all those paper towels any longer.”
“Prep bowls are HUGE for me! I have around 12 and rely on them when I'm making anything fun.”
“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’s your indispensable kitchen prep tool? Let us know in the comments!