There are plenty of kitchen gadgets that just take up counter space and end up agitating their users. First, figure out what is cooked or used the most in the kitchen - this will help determine what's worth the splurge. Take note of everything that you use in the kitchen for the duration of one week. Look for devices on countertops and in cupboards that are used or overworked. Check out our list below to see the eight kitchen items that we think are the best in quality and worth laying down the cash for:
KitchenAid Standing Mixer
A KitchenAid standing mixer is the one of the best splurges for a baker. They’re reliable, sturdy, and the hands-free element does not get taken for granted. Evenly-mixed batter and achieving the proper whip for finished texture makes them super attractive, not to mention that they come in charming 60s pastel colors that make for a lovely statement countertop piece. These operate in five different speeds, come with interchangeable heads, and are great for rougher ingredients like pizza dough and bread. KitchenAids range from $250 to $350.
Vitamix are power players and the smoothest of operators. Think of them as a one-man show juicer, blender, ice cream maker and food processor. Use their muscle to grind seeds, make soups (Vitamix can handle steaming ingredients), homemade salad dressings, ice cream, smoothies, hummus and whole food juices. The power is the machine’s selling point and also what distinguishes value, with prices ranging from $450 to $650.
Try checking Craigslist for used Vitamix – just make sure to test it out before you take it home.
Espresso makers are either your thing or they aren’t. You’ll know. If they are, Rancilio Silvia is the Balenciaga of espresso machine brands. Before shopping for these buzz makers, ask yourself what types of drinks you’ll be making, how often, how many drinks per session, and the availability of power and water in your kitchen. Check Craigslist for used (possibly only slightly used) high-end brands.
Yes, you need good knives. There’s no need to buy the same knife set as Danny Bowien, but do stockpile these five chef's knives. Research Victorinox (a Swiss Army line) for inexpensive quality knives, and Coltellerie Berti for the lottery win.
Heavy Cutting Board
Cutting boards are crucial for chopping fresh fruits and veggies or if you cut meat. Just don't go for the small and thin boards - they slide all over the place, raising the risk of cutting yourself. Heavy, thick boards are best for chopping or rolling out dough. Buy the biggest board that you can afford and for which you have counter space. Cutting boards can have both a rustic and modern aesthetic to them, so don't be concerned with their visual appeal - they're good looking pieces.
Cast iron skillets are the most classic of kitchen necessities. Cast iron retains heat extremely well, cooks food evenly and is particularly versatile (use on the stovetop, in the oven or on the grill). Read this article for tips on why you should buy and how to season your pan.
Only buy crystal stemware if you are keen on washing them by hand after use, have a special place to store them, and if you don’t have butterfingers (they are lovely but tend to shatter easily). Glassware will do just fine. Bordeaux-style glasses are classic, and their shape has that slight inward curve at the top of the glass for focusing on the wine’s aromas. Have at least four nice wine glasses in the cupboard -buy six, if possible, for entertaining purposes. As long as there’s one for you and a special friend, you’re good.