Six Things

Six things I could not live without (in my kitchen):

Good knives.

I’m counting all of these as one, because choosing favorites from this set would be like picking a favorite child. It’s completely impossible to cook properly without good knives. Get a set of forged ones, not cast ones, and keep ’em sharp. Most of these are a set, with a few friendly visitors tucked in there. I bought these because they reminded me of the set my mom had when I was growing up and learning how to cook, and they will probably last me several more decades. And see the cleaver? The big, wicked looking one in the middle? That took off most of the pad of my thumb the first time I used it. I still have a huge scar from it!

My stand mixer.

Yes, I know there are a bunch of vegetables and a magazine and a potted plant on my kitchen counter. But this is a stand mixer’s natural environment. It’s happy there. Stand mixers are a must for bakers. I can’t even tell you how much I adore this thing. Even if the shape of it kind of does remind me of the alien from Alien vs. Predator.

No? Not seeing it? Well, maybe I’m just imagining that my small appliances are crazed fiends from outer space. It’s all good.

A whistling tea kettle.

Love the tea kettle. Strangely enough, it plays a crucial part in the baking of my kickass super-chocolatey layer cakes. Yup. And in the making of tea and French-press coffee. And no, I don’t think this reminds me of any fictional space creatures.

Marble rolling pin.

Seriously: if you are in any way fond of pasta, stop buying the dried stuff from the store and start making your own pasta, but use one of these babies to roll out the dough. Makes all the difference in the world. When I went to buy this, I was prepared to suffer agonizing wallet-pain, but it was only $25! I can’t even tell you how much I love it.

A cast iron frying pan.

It’s the one on the right, and I like it even better when it’s full of delicious, homegrown cottage bacon. Yes, I do. It also doubles as a handy home-defense weapon. Anyone who breaks into this house will have “Cabelas” written backwards across his or her face for several weeks from the bottom of this pan. If you’ve never used a cast-iron pan, the key is getting it properly seasoned. Essentially, you don’t EVER use soap to wash it. Just scalding hot water and a scrubby thing. Then once it’s clean, you can use a paper towel to smear a tiny bit of oil around it to keep it from drying out and rusting.

An enameled dutch oven.

You know that scene in “Julie & Julia” where Julie is waxing poetic about Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon? I have come to the conclusion that of all the large, soup-holding things in my kitchen arsenal, this is THE ULTIMATE boeuf bourguignon maker. Freakin’ fantastic. Also, you can use it to bake the easiest and possibly most delicious loaf of homemade bread you’ve ever had. And it’s fireproof. What’s better than that?

I use at least one of these things every single day. Many days, I use all of them. What do you guys have in your kitchens that you can’t live without? Or in your homes in general?

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