Trying to decide what to ask the old elf for this year? I have a few kitchenesque suggestions, some that I have and some that I want myself. Ready? Go!
The Big Stuff
– Refrigerator. Need one? I have to tell you, I adore my bottom-freezer French door fridge. Most convenient refrigerator ever–all my regularly-used stuff is at eye level and the doors open way wide, which is awesome for bigger dishes. Everything–and I mean everything–fits in there (I don’t have a counter-depth model; those are smaller inside but still worth a look). Going from the evil Side-by-Side to this changed my world. Highly recommend. As for brands, I am a Kenmore fan from start to finish and it’s the only brand of kitchen appliance I’ll consider because they last forever and everybody and their dog fixes them if something goes wrong (15 years of Kenmore, I’ve had one repair).
-Range. Go gas if you can and ceramic-top electric if you can’t, and shoot for the center griddle burner, which is a thing of beauty. As high BTUs as you can afford. Mine has two regular burners and two high-BTU burners, and that works just fine for me.
– Pots and pans. I am a huge, huge, huge fan of anodized aluminum, but I also have a few cast iron pieces I rely on for good searing and even, long heat. I think nonstick is a tremendous health hazard and refuse to have it in my house, and I loathe stainless pots and pans because they are impossible to clean. For what it’s worth. 😉
Random note on appliances: Ask for brushed simulated stainless if you’re going for a stainless look. No fingerprints and magnets stick. Love, love, love!
– Stand mixer. My KitchenAid rocks my world, is 13 years old and hasn’t missed a beat, and is a huge staple in my kitchen. Make room on your counter–you will never regret it.
– Indoor grill. I still use my Foreman, but there are a bunch of models out there that are great, and they’re so nice to have for light meals that don’t require trips to the back deck. Not exactly gourmet, but they work for this busy mom.
– Knives. Go quality! I love my Wusthofs, but there are a bunch of great brands out there. You want a chef’s knive (I prefer my Santoku-style), a paring knife, and a bread knife to start. And a wood block or a set of plastic knife safes to keep them in. Don’t send the elves to buy these, by the way, until you’ve tried them out and picked a set that feels good in your hands. The weight is important–it has to be comfy for you or it just won’t work.
– Blender. I don’t use mine all that much, but can’t say enough about quality vs price. The cheapie ones just don’t work. Mine’s a Cuisinart and I adore it–it crunches ice beautifully and does everything a blender’s supposed to do, and comes apart to go in the dishwasher.
– Food processor. Cuisinart again. My baby is now 20 years old and still awesome. Again, something I don’t use all the time, but it’s ready and waiting and fantastic when I do need it.
– A bread machine. At least 2 pounds in capacity. I really do use mine all the time on the “dough” cycle. Breads, rolls, pizza dough–it’s a great time-saver. Toss in your ingredients, push the button, and find something else to do for 90 minutes. Come back to amazingly kneaded and proofed dough. My first one lasted about 10 years and then I replaced it with a never-opened, in-the-box one at a yard sale for $20. Not a huge investment.
– A stainless set of measuring cups and a set of spoons. They last forever and don’t keep smells. Which is nice.
– A set of countertop-worthy sealable glass or plastic canisters for flour and sugar. Make sure they have a rubber seal around the lid to keep nasties out. Mine were about $5 each at Ikea. Get yourself another set (plastic) for pasta, rice, cereal, and other baking goods in your pantry, to keep ants and other wee beasties from invading. Sealing up your dry goods makes a world of difference in the critter invasion department. (Get a big Rubbermaid one for dog and cat food–unsealed pet food is the number-one reason people get mice in their houses.)
– At least one, preferably two, sugar shakers. You want metal shakers with plastic removable caps over the mesh. I keep two in my fridge–one’s for cinnamon sugar and one for powdered sugar.
– A mandoline. Mine is plastic and self-stores in its box, and I love it. Perfect slices every time. Dishwasher-safe, please. And for the love of your fingers, use the safety guard when you use it!
– Cutting boards. Wood or plastic–never ever glass or marble, if you want to keep your knives. If you go wood, get a bottle of food-grade mineral oil to keep it beautiful. I have a wood block I keep on my counter for veggies and bread and stuff, and a set of plastic ones for meat and more odorous foods.
– A heavy rolling pin. Mine is a beautiful marble one I got at a yard sale for $1. Heavy is good–makes your life so much easier.
– Silicone spatulas. Plastic handles so they can go in the dishwasher. I have a half-dozen and use them all the time. Love, love, love.
What’s on your kitchen list this year? Post a comment!