Essentials No. 01

Essentials No. 01

Mar 13, 2014 by Christine

If you were left alone for five minutes in the kitchen of a chef, food blogger, or avid home cook, we imagine you’d have the completely justifiable urge to ever-so-casually rummage through cabinets and discover their secret ingredients, favorite cookbooks, and must-have tools. In this new series, we’re doing the snooping for you.

First up, yours truly. Because my cabinets are totally snoop-worthy.

  1. Wooden spoon collection – Is there such a thing as too many?
  2. Bourbon Barrel worcestershire sauce – I can pronounce this correctly maybe one out of ten times, but it’s like a little dash of magic. It adds a can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it depth to egg salad, dressings, marinades, and burger sauces.
  3. Lodge 12” cast iron skillet – From roasting a whole chicken to baking a cake, there’s not much you can’t cook in this. This is my desert island pan; I use it daily.
  4. Hand-written recipe cards with family favorites – No more hunting down recipes on Pinterest boards and cookbook indices. And last minute meal ideas are so much easier. These are the meals I hope my kids remember for life and will cook for their families one day.
  5. Nielsen Massey vanilla extract – This tops the list for ingredients you should splurge on and not think twice. There is a noticeable difference in good quality vanilla extract that takes French toast and baked goods to the next level.
  6. Rösle garlic press – Presses garlic like buttuh. My search for the perfect garlic press ends here.
  7. Le Creuset 7¼ quart French oven – This always beckons from its shelf for big batches of chili or braised meats and lots of people over.
  8. Food Rules – Food for thought on how to eat and why.
    Rule 2: “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
    Rule 30: “Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.”
    Rule 76: “Place a bouquet of flowers on the table and everything will taste twice as good.”
  9. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – This book made me fall hard for seasonal eating and living. In my next life I want to live on a farm in Virginia.
  10. An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adler writes so beautifully about simple, economical cooking. If you ever thought bringing water to a boil was mundane, she’ll make you feel like it was the most artistic thing you’ve ever done in your kitchen. Whenever I’m in a cooking rut, this is the book I reach for.

illustration by the lovely Alessandra Olanow