Must Have Items
There are a few key items that every kitchen needs, even for the simplest of meals. Later this month we’ll be releasing the full list of 25, but we wanted to offer a sneak peek of what’s to come. Below is a shortlist of the five essentials that aesthetically will only get better with age (except the fourth one.) If your kitchen isn’t equipped with these already, you might need to do some shopping this weekend.
A chef’s knife is an absolute essential when it comes to equipping your kitchen. Do yourself a favor and spend a little extra. Conventional wisdom says you need to spend a few hundred dollars for a proper chef’s knife, but anything in the $100-$200 range should suffice. There are tons of factors to consider, but look for one that’s around 8” and made with high carbon steel. If you check those two boxes all you need to do is ensure you like the way it feels. After all, you’ll be the one using it.
There’s a reason cast iron skillets have been used for thousands of years - they work. Whether you’re looking to sear a ribeye steak or bake a gourmet mac and cheese, old faithful does the trick. They’re also practically indestructible. Just refrain from washing them with soap. They get better with age, and a seasoned skillet will work just as well as a non-stick pan. Soap removes the seasoning so rinse with warm water, scrub with a SOS pad when needed, and dry immediately to avoid corrosion. Respect the skillet, and it will serve you well for many years.
Many consider a cutting board an afterthought, but if you’re cooking for company it’s the centerpiece of the countertop. Opt for a large wooden board and the prep will look just as good as the final product. It isn’t just about style points though. Wood can resist hot pots and pans without melting, and it can also be used as a respectable serving platter. Small plastic cutting boards are good for raw meats, so keep one or two handy, but use a wooden one for the bulk of the prep.
A dish towel is a cook’s best friend. It can serve as a towel, an oven mitt, and a napkin, all while adding style points. Believe it or not, not all dish towels are created equally - cotton is king. Cotton won’t melt when you grab a hot pan and it’s naturally absorbent, two shortcomings of synthetic materials. You also don’t need to be precious with cotton, it’s a sturdy, durable fabric. This isn’t your grandma’s dish towel though, so avoid the flowery designs and stick to solid colours or simple patterns. Keep the eyes focused on the dish.
The cooking sheet is essential to your kitchen, because when the oven light illuminates odds are it’s the first thing you’ll be reaching for. No matter if you’re baking some fries or roasting a rack of lamb, this will be your go-to. You can never go wrong with aluminum, it heats quickly, never rusts, and will last well beyond your years. It will be pristine when you get it, but don’t hold back, it will only get better with age. All we ask is that you refrain from baking cookies on it. You’re not there yet.
Quality over quantity is something we strongly believe in, but don't confuse it with indestructibility. Treat these items as you would your leather shoes, with care but not carefully. They can take a beating, just don’t abuse them. In exchange they’ll give you years of loyal service.