There are a bazillion fancy new kitchen gadgets out there, super high-end kitchen stores, thousand dollar knives and many more trendy things you can cook with that are gorgeous, and often really expensive. Some of these things are TOTALLY worth the price you pay, because you can buy them once, and keep using them in amazing condition for the rest of your life. Others… aren’t. So here’s my list of indispensable kitchen items that you should totally buy, because you’ll only need to buy them once, and they’ll last forever!
These bad boys are made in the USA, using traditional methods, and using actual cast iron, not steel. Full disclosure, cast iron must be seasoned properly and well-maintained in order to be able to use regularly, so take care of it! Also, with refinements in casting technology, Lodge doesn’t sand their pans down before getting to you, so a new pan will not be as smooth as an old one. You can totally take industrial sandpaper and sand it down yourself prior to seasoning and get the same effect. Lodge makes small pans, large pans, dutch ovens, grill pans, serving pots, and more, and they are SUPER CHEAP. Treat them well and they will be the last pan you ever buy.
NEVER buy cheap knives. A good knife will make your life way easier, prevent injuries, and generally make cooking more fun. If you buy a good knife and sharpen it regularly, it should last you most of your life (unless you cook a TON and sharpen it down to nothing, but most home cooks will never get that far). Global knives are professional-level chefs’ knives, and are AMAZING. Sharp like a razor, lightweight and comfortable. Chef’s knife, cook’s knife, boning knife, or buy a whole set.
A solid maple cutting board is ideal for the kitchen. Bamboo can be too hard on a knife, and the gouges in a plastic cutting board cannot be properly cleaned. Maple is a soft wood that is gentle on the knife edge, is self-healing, and looks amazing. If you treat it once or twice a year with mineral oil, it will stay looking new for decades.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ve probably gone through a dozen electric machines, but this little stovetop coffee maker will make one of the best cups of coffee you’ve ever had. It’s cheap and robust, and will likely last you decades after the best coffeemaker has broken down. It comes in every size from 1-12 cups, and in a dozen colours, and works with any type of coffee or stove.
There is no such thing as a non-stick pot that will last a lifetime. The very best non-stick coating will chip or wear off in a few years, and you’re left with a crappy pan. Stainless steel cookware is great, if you treat it well, and don’t burn the snot out of it. Look for pans that don’t have plastic parts, with handles that are bolted on, not screwed or glued, and have well-fitting lids that are also not plastic.
With virtually all of these items, with proper care, a good set should last you decades, if not your whole life. Cheap pans, cheap knives, and cheap pots you will have to replace every couple years, but a good one will keep delivering and you’ll be inspired to cook more. So what about you, what’s your favourite, indispensible cooking tool?