Essential Kitchen Tech under $30
Search ‘essential kitchen tech’ on the internet and there are millions of search results. Unsurprisingly people’s ideas of what kitchen tech is, seems to vary quite considerably. Where you live is as important as how you live when it comes to kitchen appliances – from the bijou one-room apartments of Paris to the sprawling open-plan kitchen-diners of capacious Texan ranches, countertop real estate is king and dictates the quality and type of appliances you have.
Of course, whether you’re feeding a family or you live alone, you’re likely to find a wide variety of kitchen appliances designed to increase your efficiency, reduce waste, improve your culinary skills or simply make life that little bit easier.
There are gadget review sites where you’ll find everything from a sort-off useful silicon yolk separator in the shape of a fish to something that boils eggs into a cube shape… which nobody needs. There are the ‘busy mum’ lists that always include a slow cooker and some sort of speedy chopping device – student kitchen items including some failsafe methods of freezing vodka and the trusty multi-function spork and of course toys for the man who has everything – the oh-so-hipster vacuum coffee machine.
There’s however one thing that is universal in the kitchen hardware department. Every ‘must have’ list features at least one of these and if your home doesn’t have something to make preparing eggs easier in some way then you are either vegan or allergic to eggs. Perhaps this is because eggs are so versatile but egg devices are never going out of fashion.
Keeping kitchen tech simple. The same, just better.
We’ve prepared a simple list of kitchen tech that every household should have. One that is useful for normal people doing normal things in their kitchen. Cooking to feed themselves and their families. This isn’t a list for wine buffs or aspiring molecular gastronomists. Let’s just say it’s more Tom Kerridge than Heston Blumenthal.
At #5 on our list is the humble cheese grater. Our favourite is the di Oro Living Premium Zesters
This set comes with two different grades of grating, one fine (also known as a microplane) and one thicker. And you don’t have to restrict yourself to cheese. These blades will happily slice through salads like cucumber and harder root vegetables like carrots, making side dips and coleslaws a doddle. They’re also a handy tool for grating ginger, garlic or even chocolate.
As with all blades, the sharper they are, the more effective but the di Oro has some safety features that you don’t always find in a standard grater. A large and easy to grip handle means a firm hold even against a softer cheddar for example. There is also a rubber stop at the opposite end which keeps your grater from slipping on the counter top as you work.
It’s plane profile (rather the the box versions) means less food wastage (you always loose cheese to the inside of a box grater) and it stores easily in a conventional cutlery draw for those who are a little more restricted in draw space.
#4 Silicon spatula and spoon set
When silicon kitchen utensils started to make it into the mainstream, most people hung on to their trusty warped wooden spoon until it finally gave up the ghost and split in an accidental dishwasher incident.
Now you will find that almost every one of your everyday utensils comes in a silicon version and what’s more, you can colour code your utensils to match your decor or alternatively, go for a more cheery rainbow set like we’ve picked here.
In case you didn’t know, here a couple of the benefits of having silicon utensils as part of your essential kitchen tech over the more traditional stainless steel and wooden versions:
Hygienic – all of these items are one moulded piece. That means that there are no joins for bits of your favourite lasagne to get saved in and the non-porous surface is safe from nasty bugs and bacteria building up over time. If you have the luxury of a dishwasher, they can go in there too.
Heat-proof (and freezer proof) – You don’t have to worry about leaving the spoon on the side, or top of the pan whilst you’re cooking. Your silicon spoon or ladle won’t get warm. It’s also fine to chuck in the freezer and whilst this is mostly only relevant for other silicon items like baking dishes, it just goes to show how versatile these silicon kitchen utensils are.
#3 Kyocera Ceramic Knife
Any professional chef will tell you that one excellent utility knife is better than having a draw full of blunt specialist knives.
This Kyocera ceramic knife with a 4.5 inch blade is THAT utility knife. Constructed using a patented Japanese ceramic formula, it’ll stay sharper for longer than a normal metal blade and is easier to maintain for that reason.
Ceramic knives are particularly good for cutting vegetables and salads because the technical wizardry that makes up the cutting blade, significantly reduces the browning that happens to all fruits and vegetables one they’ve been sliced and exposed to the air. It’s for this reason that you’ll find them in almost every professional kitchen in the world, making preparation easier.
#2 T-Fal Nonstick frying pan with thermo spot indicator
This pan is pretty bullet proof. It’s also idiot proof. Simply wait for the red indicators on the base of the pan to show and you’re good to go. There’s no guess work required to know when your pan is up to temperature but that’s not the best bit about this T-Fal pan.
It’s scratch resistant which means that you don’t need to be precious about which utensils you use (but you’re probably going to use those fancy new silicon one’s you’ve just got – see above!) and you don’t even need to know how your hob works. Gas, standard electric, induction – this pan will handle it all. You can also put it in the oven (up to 400 f) so there’s not need to decant all-in-one meals to brown off the top or reheat for a late-comer to diner.
#1 The Cafe du Chateau French Coffee Press / Cafetiere
The French press, or cafeteria as it’s commonly known across Europe, has been a staple method of brewing coffee for nearly 90 years. You may be wondering why this item appears on our list of essential kitchen tech? This simple brewing and filtering method of making excellent coffee has stood the test of time.
The trouble now is that everyone has a particular way in which they take their coffee which goes way beyond the ‘milk and sugar?’ routine of the past. No home is equipped to deal with the needs of every visitor without installing a full coffee machine and a qualified barista. However, the frappamachiato and the instant dried drinkers alike always seem to come together at the French Press and so your Cafe du Chateau cafetiere is your failsafe option for pleasing guests of any persuasion!
There are simply hundreds of variations on the original design but the Cafe du Chateau is one of the most aesthetically pleasing as well as being robust enough to travel with which is a rarity in glassware.
Of course, you can fill your cooking spaces with hundreds of gadgets and equipment but these 5 essentials can also be seen as investment pieces… ones that you will never be without.