There are a lot of kitchen items that you know you need when you move into a new home. You buy yourself pots, pans, a spice rack, drinking glasses... but then there are also the items you put off; the items you see in other peoples' kitchens, but you never buy for yourself because they seem frivolous, specific, or not necessary right now. For my mom, this item was (and is) nice dish towels. She loves good, absorbent, pretty dish towels, but she rarely buys them for herself. So, if me and my sisters are ever stumped for Mother's Day gift ideas, we can always fall back on a set of dish towels, and they never disappoint. In the past few years, I've acquired a few kitchen tools, all gifts, that I probably would have never bought for myself, but now that I have them, I use them constantly. If you see these items on sale at T.J. Maxx, snatch them up and watch your kitchen game instantly upgrade.
My Le Creuset Dutch Oven I received this item as a gift when I attended a press event a while back. Some gift, huh? Everyone knows Le Creuset Dutch Ovens are great, so it may seem a little more obvious than the others I'll talk about, but I needed to include it simply because of the extent to which it transformed my cooking. If you have considered getting one, but keep putting it off because of the price point, I can relate. But I will say that since I've had mine, I use it to cook more meals than I don't. It lives on my stove top, always ready for the next soup, stew, braise or sauce. Sturdy and reliable, it far out-performs its stainless steel stockpot counterpart.
My Oxo Potato Ricer About a year ago, on this very blog, I mentioned that I didn't have a potato ricer. A few weeks later, my dear and considerate pal brought me one as a birthday gift and I've used it countless times since. I had no idea how often I was mashing potatoes, making gnocchi, smashing pie filling and pureeing other roasted veggies (cauliflower, yams). I'm not sure it's the right fit for every home, but if you love a buttery mash like me, I can't recommend it enough.
My Swissmar Mandoline Dan would always tell me about how his mom used a mandoline to thinly slice veggies and julienne carrots (a must for kimchi!). We didn't have one in my house growing up, so it seemed extraneous to me. Then, he surprised me with one earlier this summer and I've been using it constantly! All season, I used it to thinly slice tomatoes for BLTs and shave summer squash for pan frying. Now that it's oven weather again, I can't wait to make beet chips and potato galettes.
My Glass Salt Cellar This one was a gift to myself, sort of. I had a bunch of rewards points at Crate and Barrel and used them to buy a bunch of little home items I never wanted to spend my money on. This glass salt cellar (sadly, this specific one is no longer available) was one of those things and I love it with all of my heart. I can't tell you how convenient it is to have your salt always by your side and ready to go. Plus, the glass is easy to clean when kitchen stickiness and grime builds up!
My Fish's Eddy Glass Storage Bowls My sister bought these for me last Christmas and I think they're just delightful. These nostalgic bowls come with plastic lids that fit snugly (curbing Tupperware cabinet chaos), plus they're the perfect size for packing up a portion of leftovers to bring to work for lunch. Also, they're glass, so marinara sauce doesn't stain them and greasy residue isn't so impossible to remove like with plastic storage containers!
Are there any items in your kitchen that you can't live without? Or, that your surprised you use as often as you do?