Look, the way I’m interested in food isn’t about sustenace. Chef’s love to brag, “Feeding people is such an important pursuit” but the truth is that if you just wanted to feed people there are a lot more efficient ways than serving butter-poached quail with mushroom espuma. No, for many of us food is an obsession to fuss over — just like movies, TV, or video games. It’s a recreation and it’s meant to be fun.
The gadgets listed below have made cooking fun for me. They allow me to spend less time chopping and more time obsessing over “flavor profiles” like a pretentious assh*ole. With that said, I realize that some of the things on this list are going to seem silly-as-all-hell to some readers, and I get it. I’ve ranked them in order of utility — so that once you cross your own metaphorical Rubicon with this guide, you don’t have to keep plowing ahead.
Listen, be condescending about all my other choices, but you should seriously buy an ice cream maker. There are about a million reasons, but here are my top four:
- It isn’t particularly expensive.
- The ice cream is better than anything you’d ever get at a store.
- It allows you to make concoctions and weird flavors.
- People act like the ability to make ice cream from scratch is goddamn devil magic and will forever treat you like a Michelin-starred chef.
I made “Date and salted vanilla bean” ice cream for Thanksgiving, and it was #1 on my list of things I was thankful for.
You need these shears. It’s easier to trim meat, cut herbs, cube chicken, etc. They aren’t expensive, they stay sharp for a long time, and they’re constantly useful. Of all the things on the list, this is certainly the most crucial for a chef to have.
Also, your date will be impressed when you snip chives over an already-plated dish. Trust me on this.
We all know that a regular cheese grater has the side with smaller holes — for fancy grating, zesting, or rasping. What this tool presupposes is, “What if it didn’t?”
Can you grate with the rectangular grater found in every kitchen in America? Probably. Will it look as cool as leaning over your date’s plate to add a little parm, or rasp a few shreds of nutmeg atop her coffee? No, no it won’t.
In the power rankings of “things you need to not make cooking feel incredibly f*cking tedious” this is probably #1. The ability to chop veggies instantly is just wonderfully convenient. For $30-odd bucks it’ll pay for itself in the first week. Salsas, pastes, mirepoix — literally everything is easier.