What You Need in Your Kitchen to Cook Her Dinner

Getting the right sizzle requires the right tools


Kirsten Macnab |

The moment has come: you’re going to cook her dinner. We can help with recipes—in fact, how about a mouth-watering steak au poivre? It’s classic. It’s delicious. And it’s simpler than it looks, provided you have the right tools. So what if your kitchen is a little on the basic side? Stock the ten items below and you’ll be set for this and many other meals.

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The Bowl

Every kitchen needs at least one sizable, stoneware bowl. The key here is to choose something that looks good enough to serve a salad out of and it will play double duty. Keep it simple: white, sturdy, about 25-cm in diameter like this workhorse version. This time, you’re seasoning fingerling potatoes in it. Next time, you could be using it for chips.

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The Veggie Brush

Okay, maybe a vegetable brush wasn’t one of your “essentials.” But if you’re going to feed her root vegetables, she’s going to want to see you roll up those sleeves and scrub tonight’s side dish under cold running water. There are many, many ugly and childish vegetable brushes out there, so we’re drawn to this one made of natural fibres with a design that fits comfortably in your hand.

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The Rimmed Baking Sheet

This is the baking sheet chefs use, with a rolled edge that keeps it from warping in the oven. It’s the key to many future one-sheet meals that roast in the oven while you mix the drinks.

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The Carving Board

A man’s choice of cutting board says a lot about him. Big? That means he uses it for more than cutting the limes for his gin and tonics. Juice groove around the edge? That means he knows how to cook and serve meat. Which is exactly what you’re serving tonight.

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The Chef’s Knife

Guys like knives. So you probably have one already. But is it the one you need? You require a well-made chef’s knife big enough to break down a whole chicken, but not so big that it reminds people of Friday the 13th. This one from Victorinox Swiss Army, the maker of the original Swiss Army Knife, has a rosewood handle which is more crack-resistant and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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The Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet costs little, lasts a lifetime, and shows you mean business. Because cast iron goes from the stovetop to the oven, this is the pan for searing steak, baking bread, or even whipping up a breakfast frittata. Proper care is key—skip soap and your cast iron will season over time. Instead, use the salt scrub method.

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The Stainless Sauté Pan

To round out your pan arsenal, you need a high-quality stainless sauté pan. The difference here: unlike frying pans, sauté pans have straight sides, which means more surface area for reducing sauces (and less sloshing over the sides). We like to cheat a bit: a French skillet is a hybrid with the best qualities of a skillet and a sauté pan, and you can easily buy a lid that fits it.

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The Pepper Mill

By now you’ve figured out that pre-ground pepper has no flavour. You need a good pepper grinder, and the word “good” is subjective. We’ve tested some of the most expensive on the market, and a lot of them start strong and then lose grinding ability over time.

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Tongs

These are for flipping steaks, stirring roasting veggies, serving green beans, and basically anything else you want to grab or move around your stove. Get a pair with nylon coating so they won’t scratch any non-stick pan.

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The All-Purpose Stirrer/Scraper

You’re down to the final tool—don’t stop now. You might find it hard to get excited about a spatula, but this isn’t a spatula. It’s a spoonula, a hybrid of spatula and spoon that is good for everything from scraping up browned steak bits into a sauce to loosening the edges of your omelette. Plus, you can use it to taste things.

Article originally found on menshealth.com

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