Here, I will try to offer my view on which kitchen products to buy, and which one can live without.
You don’t have to be rich to become a great cook. You don’t even have to have a big kitchen. Although I’d love to have one, mine is barely 3 steps over 4. I don’t even have a dish-washing machine!
However, there are some things that are essential:
Rule # 1:
If you can’t afford or do not have space for a lot of stuff, make sure to purchase a few, but great quality things. Also, if you cook kosher like me bear in mind that you will need at least two sets of everything – so buy things that are distinct in color, and are easily distinguishable. That way you will never (or, almost never) use a dairy spoon for a meat bouillon.
I used to buy metal, but now I buy glass bowls – they are easy to clean, withstand high heat, and better from the kashrut point of view. These bowls will give users added flexibility of using smaller ones as serving dishes for condiments, pickles, etc. Nowadays, you can also find similar ones with lids, which makes them so much handier!
Lately, I also grew to like glass baking dishes. They are versatile, easy to clean, easy to coat your ingredients in marinade prior to baking, they withstand rather high temperatures – a good find! You don’t need very expensive ones, just different sizes, and shapes.
Of course, one needs a good mixer. I finally bought myself a KitchenAid! I was measuring my kitchen a thousand times to make sure it fits. What can I say – my bread making life is a bit easier now even though mine is the smallest model. Do invest in one of these if your kitchen is big enough. You will not regret it. If you do not have a good standing mixer, you will need to have good size and quality bowls for mixing with a hand-held one. My little mixer is working for years now and is very compact. I found these metal bowls rather useful. I have just two – parve and dairy ones.
Rule # 2:
Always size up your small appliances and determine what size/brand combination you need. It seems that the kitchen trends constantly guide you to buy more and bigger. No need. You will not use the appliance that is so big that to take is out of its place is half the job. Be realistic.
If you like smoothies and pureed soups, buy a good blender. I am not a soup person and do not eat pureed things anyway, so I just have a food processor. It’s pretty basic, but it serves the purpose. I do lots of cutting/shredding the old way – by hand or using an old-fashioned grater.
Get great knives and care for them. Knives vary greatly by the material of the blade, the handle, and pricing, of course. I don’t think I can recommend a knife that’s worth $200 or more here, but I do think that just a few great knives, especially a great chef’s knife are an investment well spent.
Rule # 4
Get only the best quality spices, and do use them! I buy mine mostly when I get a chance to go to Israel, straight at my best food shopping place. If you are not so lucky (I know I am blessed but I never go anywhere else), do buy organic spices, and if possible, grind them yourself for the best result. Apart from your standard ones, I always use Turmeric, Za’atar and Aleppo pepper.