7 Things My Kitchen Can’t Live Without

An open electrical appliance next to a plate of baked goods

Electric cooking utensils and display II. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

7 Things My Kitchen Can’t Live Without

In no particular order…

1. A metal ice cream scoop. Sure, I could just say “big metal spoon”, but there’s something appealing about the heft and power of a designated ice cream scoop. Good for any scooping-like task, I especially like using it to parcel out muffin batter into cups or scoop some clarified butter out of its mason jar home.

2. Mason jars. Speaking of mason jars, I love them and use them for everything. Obviously they’re good for storing leftovers, but I also like keeping a jar of leftover egg whites in the fridge, using them to store homemade baking mixes, and make refrigerator pickles.

3. Cast-iron pan. I cook virtually everything in a cast iron pan. Never having had the pleasure of a sparkling new stove, cast iron helps more evenly distribute the heat from rickety old ranges. And in my opinion, no other pan can give you quite as satisfying a crisp on grilled cheese sandwiches.

4. Chef’s knife. Some people say that a well-sharpened chef’s knife is the only knife you need in your kitchen, and I’m inclined to agree. I still haven’t gotten around to using to using such specialty knives as boning and paring knives, but I suppose that tells you more about the types of meals I cook more than anything else.

5. Crock pot. Gasp! A unitasker! Well, in my opinion, not really. There really is no limit to the number of meals you can make in a crock pot. My laziness is acute enough that I love the idea of just putting ingredients in a pot and letting them simmer away, and I have a terminal fear of letting a pot sit on the stove; I’ve let enough pots boil over or boil dry to know that I’m just slightly too distractable.

6. Rice cooker. Another device in the “set it and forget it” school. Rice cookers make it about 500x times easier to make rice. As a person who eats rice several times a week, its usefulness cannot be understated.

7. Flour sifter. For many years, I avoided sifting flour. It’s tedious, it’s annoying, and is there really a difference? Yes, there is a difference. I’m glad that I picked up a small, serviceable flour sifter on my latest thrifting adventure.


I always find it fascinating to discover what other people consider “kitchen essentials”. What are your favorite kitchen tools? Is there something you can’t live without?