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Can’t-Live-Without Kitchen Utensils: Our Favorite Things

Maybe it’s the garlic chopper that saves you an extra five minutes when you make your world-famous homemade marina sauce. Or maybe it’s the lime juicer that spares the tiny cut on your index finger from the stinging citrus pain of lime juice when you’re making margaritas. We’ve all got our tried-and-true kitchen favorites. Our editorial team dishes about the items in their kitchens that they just can’t live without.

Renae Hurlbutt, Editorial Assistant

A visit to my kitchen is a bit like time travel. With nary a microwave, toaster oven, or electric can opener in sight, my kitchen is less Martha Stewart and more Laura Ingalls Wilder. Believe it or not, the only electric appliance I’ve ever felt a pressing need to own is a refrigerator. (I’m a Luddite, I know.) However, all of this changed when I met my KitchenAid mini food processor. It was a hand-me-down, and when I inherited it, I was ambivalent. Great … it chops things, I thought. So do knives. Oh, the naïveté. This wondrous red wizard of a machine has transformed me into a fearless culinary Magellan, pushing the boundaries of what can (and possibly should) happen in the kitchen. Chopped ginger in lemonade? Done. Puréed peaches in popsicles? No problem. Godiva chunks in those boring cookies? Please, challenge me. With my trusty KitchenAid, I am a kitchen pioneer. I think Laura would approve.

Rebecca Brown, Editor-in-Chief

I’ve never loved something deeply while also believing it to be pure, hot evil sent straight from hell, but that’s how I feel about my Cuisinart ice-cream maker. I had been coveting a maker for a few years, but always felt relieved when I saw the expensive price tags because it meant that I could continue with my façade of healthy eating. Then Sur la Table put this model on sale for a mere $49.95 (you can get one, too!) and my life changed. Now I can have any flavor of organic, homemade ice cream my little heart desires (and believe me, I have) simply by mixing a few ingredients and flipping a switch. Dinner guests are impressed; my scale is not.

Nikki Deterding, Partner Coordinator

I’ve accepted that I probably won’t be able to cook an amazing meal, so I might as well eat cereal and save myself the time. Even though I might not put time and effort into cooking, that doesn’t mean that I don’t put time and effort into making alcoholic drinks. When I want an amazingly yummy margarita, I rely on my Tahiti Margaritaville Frozen Drink Machine to get the job done right. And just in case one pitcher of margaritas won’t do it for you—er, your party—this baby comes equipped with three pitchers so you can get your drank on.

Annie Tucker Morgan, Editor

I’m a sucker for any tool that increases my efficiency in the kitchen, but if I had to choose only one thing to take from my house in a fire, it would be my Shun Classic 7-Piece Knife Block Set. For years before I got these beauties, I hacked my way through cooking preparations with dull-edged blades that could barely slice a piece of soft cheese. But each of my Shun knives is composed of thirty-two layers of high-carbon hammered steel, which is a fancy way of saying they’re sharp as sharks’ teeth. Thank you, Japan, for your master craftsmanship.

Vicki Santillano, Staff Writer

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t drink tea. In fact, I’m sipping some as I type this. (It’s peppermint, for the record.) So it probably comes as no surprise that a frequent tea drinker like me would favor the Proctor Silex 1-Quart electric kettle above all other equipment in her kitchen. It boils water in less than two minutes, which is just enough time to grab a mug, pick a flavor, settle into a chair, and then get up again to choose another flavor because I’m indecisive. It’s handy for all water-boiling occasions, really; I just prefer the ones that end with tasty, soothing beverages.

Allison Ford, Staff Writer

Although I cook a great deal, I generally don’t commit recipes to memory. Relying on at least two trusted cookbooks per day, they tend to bear the telltale signs of that love: splotches, splatters, stains, and greasy fingerprints. While I love the feelings behind the filth, I prefer that my books stay readable, so my Williams-Sonoma cookbook holder is a perfect fit. My books stay propped at the perfect angle for viewing, and they stay safe and dry, despite any disasters involving blenders and pea soup (trust me on that one). Bonus that it has common measurement conversions etched on the dishwasher-safe glass, since that’s another thing I can never remember.

Vicky Gannon, Copy Editor

My parents bought the Braun Hand Blender around the time they began leaving my brother and I home alone. The device felt revolutionary; left untended in the kitchen, he and I made countless messy milk shakes out of bowls of ice cream that we had softened in the microwave. Several years ago, I reclaimed the tool from my mother’s kitchen. I use it for healthier fare now—mostly soups and sauces. Too lazy to do unnecessary dishes, I love the way it saves me the trouble of transferring liquids to a blender and lets me purée right in the pot.

Casi Contreras, Coordinator, Strategic Partnerships

When my alarm goes off each morning, there’s only one thing that keeps me away from the snooze button: my Hamilton Beach BrewStation Pro 12 Cup Coffeemaker. Every night before I go to bed, I set my coffeemaker to start brewing ten minutes before my alarm goes off the next morning. My eyes don’t even open as I make my way to the kitchen, where I grab my coffee mug and press it easily against the one-hand dispensing device. As you can probably guess, I’m not a great morning person, so it’s in everyone’s interest to make my first morning task an easily dispensed cup o’ joe.

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