Have you ever been partway through making a dish, only to discover that you don’t have a big enough casserole dish to bake the whole thing at once? We’ve all been there — and we know what a pain it is to have to divide recipes or run to the store and grab a rubber spatula or whisk soup with a fork instead of, well, an actual whisk.
What are the ingredients for a well-stocked kitchen? Here are four of the most crucial kitchen tools you should always have on hand:
A decent set of sharp knives
You don’t have to go out and drop $100 or more per knife (although you totally can) in order to have a decent knife set, but you should consider spending a little more money on knives that are less likely to warp easily or dull quickly. Most importantly, remembering to hone your knives regularly and sharpen them often will help extend the life and increase the effectiveness of your knives — so you won’t get caught trying to hack through a raw potato with what amounts to a dull hunk of steel.
A cheese grater with multiple shredding options
A box style cheese grater, or at least one with various shredding surfaces, will come in very handy for shredding or grating just about anything. Small holes for parmesan, large holes for cheddar or vegetables, strips for cutting slices, and a coarse side for shredding are essential.
Like we said above, “whisking” homemade soup with a fork is no fun. It takes forever and it’s just not effective at breaking up chunks of roux or stock. Don’t underestimate the power of a real whisk.
More than one cookie sheet
Just because you’ve never baked cookies doesn’t mean you don’t need a cookie sheet. In fact, for maximum kitchen effectiveness, you need at least two cookie sheets. These metal pans provide the perfect surface upon which to place most things you might ever need to bake in the oven, including chicken, tofu, roasted veggies — or even, yes, cookies.
Multiple sheets are important because there’s nothing worse than trying to make a batch of homemade French fries and having to do them in two batches because you don’t have a large enough cookie sheet to fit them all.