• Rice Cooker (This really isn't essential unless your asian which my husband is Filipino so we cook a lot of rice) Although if you cook a good amount of rice or like oatmeal or rice onepot dishes - all of which a good rice cooker can handle - than this is essential. Notice I said good rice cooker not mediocre. Tiger brand is by far the best rice cooker out there - most rice eaters will tell you that this is the best brand, expensive, but lasts forever. My mother-in-law had hers for 20+ years. I have made all types of rice, white, black wild, brown - all come out perfect. No measuring really required, just a knuckle water test. (meaning 1 cup of rice, water sits to the first knuckle on your index finger white rice) I have made oatmeal in it, soaked it and cooked directly in this machine. Rice always comes out perfect and is always done much faster than when cooking on a pot with a lid - I think its the lifting of the lid and stirring that screws it up.
• Electric Kettle I love this gadget, boils water so much faster than a traditional kettle on the stove. While we were in Poland back in 1997 I noticed that EVERYONE had an electric kettle. So when we got back to the states we went out and got one too. Haven't gone back since.
• Cutting Boards I say you need a few in your kitchen. Having a wood one and a silicone/plastic one is essential. I have a few of each not too heavy, not too large or too small just a medium size where the food doesn't fall off the board and you can still lift it with one hand to pour food into pot. Don't buy glass ones - throw those out they dull your knife.
• Kitchen Knives A good set will set you back but if you take care of them they will last you forever. I don't care which brand you get Cutco, Henckels, Wüsthof, Shun etc. A good knife will be made out of stainless steel which resists corroding better is carbon stainless which is strong yet flexible. The part of the blade that goes into the handle (called the tang) should go all the way through on both sides. There are other factors that go into a good knife but I think that these are the most important ones. Also if you have a good knife, never stick it in the dishwasher, tends to dull the blade.
• Citrus Squeeze I love this tool, makes squeezing limes and lemons sail right through. Don't get a plastic one either get something thats made out of metal and doesn't have plastic hinges. Trust me the first one I purchased was a nice see-through plastic one, after the first lime it was done for.
• Graters probably the tool that has a ton of uses it grates ginger and garlic and cheese and spices and zests citrus and the larger grate instead of using my box grater, grates dry bread for bread crumbs.
• Silicone Tongs I use silicone because I have anodized pots and pans and I don't want to scratch them with the metal tongs but what I like about this brand which is Giadas from Target is that you pull the little pull on the top to open and close them. So they don't take up a lot of space on your drawer. Theses come in several sizes I also have the oxo brand which work the same way.
What essentials do you have to have in order to function in your kitchen - I'd love to know leave me a comment.
Next up is the kitchen tools that you can skip.