Since I had such fun putting together my 2018 list, I’m back with the 2019 installment of all of the kitchen equipment I bought (or was given) over the course of the year. Like last year, my home kitchen is still small, I still hate crowded counters, and I’m still mindful of what earns a place in my kitchen. Here’s what made it in this year.
1. An Outdoor Griddle Cooking Station
This Blackstone 36" Griddle Cooking Station was a birthday present from my father and it is, by far, the most exciting piece of equipment I’ve owned in a long time. The sheer size of the cooking area is simply awesome. I especially love it for cooking large breakfasts—you can fit pancakes, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and eggs on the cooktop all at the same time. It is pure fun.
2. A New Food Processor
I’ve owned a heavy-duty, professional food processor with serious horsepower for many years. I don’t like leaving it out on the counter, but it weighs a ton, which means I have to fetch it from a cupboard whenever I need it. The base has withstood my clumsiness over the years and still works fine, but the plastic work bowl and lid both cracked on me this year. And of course, replacement parts are sold out. So, I bought our winning processor, the Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor, and am very pleased with how light and small it is—perfect for a home kitchen.
Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food ProcessorIt works beautifully, and test kitchen cooks love the powerful motor, responsive pulsing action, and simple design.
3. A New Dish Rack
We’ve owned our winning Simple Human Steel Frame Dishrack for many years with great success, so when it came time for a new one, the choice was obvious—to me, anyway. My husband, however, balked at the price and wanted to try a simpler, less expensive option. Ha! His simpler rack lasted only a few hours on our counter before he went back to the store to buy this one. This rack holds a lot of dishes, drains well, has a nifty wine glass rack on the back, and is easy to disassemble and clean. Plus, it looks kinda cool.
Simple Human Steel Frame DishrackThis deluxe dish rack fits bulky pots and pans, has nice features, and is made of attractive, fingerprint-proof stainless steel.
4. A Roaster
I initially bought a Granite Ware Covered Rectangular Roaster to make a huge batch of oven rice for a party (you can use both the lid and bottom as roasting pans), but I’ve been using them ever since to make dog food for our two German Shorthaired Pointers, Hazel and Ziggy. We started making dog food to help Hazel recover from a nasty bout of Lyme, but both dogs loved the food too much to stop. (They are picky eaters and on the skinny side. So much for a dog resembling its owner!) Anyway, I love these pans because they are big, lightweight, and easy to clean, and they nestle together for storage.
5. A Replacement Knob for My Le Creuset Dutch Oven
My Le Creuset Dutch oven is such a workhorse that I never put it away; it lives on the stovetop. The original, black plastic knob in the lid pot survived my heavy-handed use for a good decade or so, but it finally cracked this year. Not to worry. This replacement knob is easy to buy and install, and the new metal knob will last forever.
6. A New Set of Measuring Cups
This wasn’t the most exciting purchase, but a good set of measuring cups can make a big difference in your cooking. I love the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups because they’re very sturdy (no bending of handles when scooping out brown sugar) and they nest together well thanks to the magnetic handles.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring CupsAccurate and extremely durable, this set snaps together for compact storage. The handles are seamless with the cups themselves, making them easy to level off.
7. Butcher's Twine with Handy Dispenser and Cutter
I’m fussy when it comes to butcher’s twine. When it’s too thick, it’s hard to tie tight knots, yet when it’s too thin, it cuts through the meat. And then there’s the storage problem of what to do with that loose ball of twine. This handy spool from Regency Cooking comes loaded with my preferred type of twine and solves the storage issue. It also comes with a built-in cutter which is very handy. I wish I had bought this year ago!
8. A New Potato Masher
My old masher was my Oma’s and dated back to the 1950’s or so. I felt a bit sentimental when it broke, but my new masher, the Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato Masher, is much more efficient and a lot sturdier, which my Oma would have appreciated. Also, I love the bowl scraper built into the side of it.
Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato MasherThis tall tool’s plethora of small holes on its mashing plate made an ultracreamy, smooth mash, and its handle felt comfortable in hands of all sizes.
9. A Blade-Style Coffee Grinder
I labored over this purchase. Do I go big and buy a burr grinder, or go budget and buy a blade grinder? In the end, the smaller, less expensive blade grinder won out. I love the Krups Coffee and Spice Grinder because it stores easily in my cupboard and is easy to clean. Now I just need to master the “pulse and shake” technique for grinding the beans for a French press (my preferred brewing method).
Krups Coffee and Spice GrinderThis grinder is incredibly simple to use and has a roomy grinding chamber and a crystal-clear lid that lets you monitor the grinding.
10. Wooden Spoon with a Pineapple Cut-Out
I buy a lot of fun wooden spoons and give them as gifts. I often tie them up in a ribbon around a cookbook for an easy host gift. This particular spoon, however, I bought for my 11-year old daughter, because she loves SpongeBob Square Pants (“. . . who lives in a pineapple under the sea”). Cooking alongside her at home is my absolute favorite pastime.