I love to cook and feed my family — food is absolutely my love language. Even when I'm feeling low or like a crap mother, I know that I can make something healthy and delicious for my kids and husband that shows them how much I love them when words are failing me. Over the years, I've even found at least 12 kitchen gadgets worth buying, no matter how silly they seem. Honestly, you really need these in your life to streamline your cooking and meal prep, and to just make life easier.
Anyone who's ever watched an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown has heard of the "unitasker" — those kitchen gadgets that seem to only do one thing really well, and just aren't worth the space they take up in your kitchen cabinets. There are certainly many of those, but none of them are on my list. Trust me, if I list the gadget here, it will be used frequently, or at least seasonally. The best gadgets perform multiple tasks, but there are a few that are really only used for one thing, but they do it so well, they've made themselves indispensable in my kitchen. Whether it's pitting cherries or slicing grapes to safely feed your kid, these tools rise above the rest.
1. Cherry/Olive Pitter
Ever try to pit your child's 293853946 cherries? It's messy and annoying. This pitter, which works equally well on olives, makes the job a breeze and doesn't take up much space. When cherries are in-season in June, buy tons of them, pit them, and freeze them for a quick addition to smoothies or for pie. This pitter is hard-core. It feels solid in your hand, and having had mine several years, I will tell you that it takes a beating.
I know what you're thinking. "Oh my gosh, this woman is going to try to tell me that zucchini can be noodles!" No, I'm not. Cut it however you want it, zucchini will always be zucchini, and no matter how you slice it, eggplant is always the fruit of hell. However, this spiralizer makes prepping veg for stir fry, soups, and pasta a breeze. Plus, when you have your kids help you spin the spiralizer, they get excited about eating the veggie they're slicing. Mostly, though, it's just easy, fun veggies with quick cleanup.
3. Ove Glove
I know, this looks ridiculous. It feels ridiculous, but they work. I cook in cast iron almost exclusively (save for one pan you'll see later), and this glove is so much more moveable than wearing a mitt when I shift the pan. It's also fantastic for grilling outdoors and, strangely enough, moving space heaters.
4. Electric Wine Opener
I have limited mobility of my left hand, and this is a gem of a wine opener. Also, have you ever wanted to open a bottle of wine when you're holding a baby? I know I have. And because I have an automatic wine bottle opener, I can do both. Rosé all day, guys.
5. Grape/Tomato Slicer
This slicer quarters grapes like lightning. This is definitely one that seems silly, but quartering grapes and cherry tomatoes for your kids (or your salad) gets old fast. Thankfully, this tool takes care of that in a jiffy. It's easy to rinse and clean, and it's pretty small, so it's not like you're storing a huge salad shooter.
6. Pestle & Mortar
Hear me out. I know you've probably seen these at Mexican restaurants used for guacamole, or sitting on the shelf at Target or HomeGoods and thought, "Looks cool, but I'd never use it." Au contraire, mon amie — this little stone bowl and wand are magic in the kitchen. They're the best at pounding out ginger and garlic into a paste, grinding freshly toasted cumin or sesame, and pulverizing those pills that you can't get your kids to swallow. They're also really good for guacamole. Just saying.
7. Butter Crock
If you don't have a butter crock in your life, you're missing out. This allows you to keep butter soft, and at room temperature, ready to spread on your morning bagel. Sure, if you don't have air conditioning, you might want to wait until September to use it, but for many of us, soft, pliable butter is a a year-round option with this crock.
8. Coffee Grinder
There's a real difference between freshly ground coffee and pre-ground coffee. It smells better, it tastes better, you can keep beans longer than you can grounds, and you control the grind. Trust me on this, you won't go back.
9. Reusable Food Bags
Not only are traditional food saver bags terrible for the environment, they're also really pricey. These are better on both counts, plus, they're heat and freeze resistant, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and really not that pricey.
10. Stainless Steel Soap Bar
Looks weird, works great. Ever chop garlic, onions, or peppers and your hands smell like a garbage dump? Hold this in your hands under running water and the scent evaporates like it was never there. Although you'll still need soap with surfactant if you were handling hot peppers.
This is everything. Trust me. Sticky chicken, tater tot nachos, cookies, whoopie pies, biscuits, you name it. Food won't stick to this, and it wipes clean with a damp cloth. I get that it's pricey, but it's worth every cent you pay just to have the ease of cleanup and continuity of cooking.
12. A Pan Just For Pancakes & Omelets
This is not going to be the pan you make everything in — that's a solid cast iron job. But this pan is for easy omelets, pancakes, and even parmesan crisps. (If you're not doing it on the silpat, which I recommend as well.) It's non-stick, not expensive for a ceramic pan, and you'll soon find that you're making eggs and pancakes way more often than you did before.