Cook’s Essentials: A Wishlist

I’ve always believed that it’s possible to create great meals with a few simple, basic kitchen tools. There are many products and appliances on the market that are very helpful, innovative, and trendy but they don’t necessarily make you a better cook. Some may make your life easier, such as a good name brand standing mixer or a juicer. Then there are some appliances that just provide more dishwashing opportunities or have too many parts to be lost. However, there are also those mega-splurge tools over which cooks everywhere salivate. Here are a few of mine.

I have a small hand juicer that is absolutely essential because I cook with a lot of citrus for its bright, clean flavor and acidic balance. What cook wouldn’t love either a large, industrial sized hand-crank or electric juicer? It would come in handy for marinades, dressings, homemade juices and cocktail mixers and so much more.

I’ve had my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for almost twenty years. It’s a phenomenal piece of equipment and I couldn’t live without its stable presence in my kitchen. Yet most cooks crave to have one with a large bowl capacity and a revved up, heavy duty engine that can stand up to any dough or attachment, such as the Kitchen Aid standing artisan mixer, or a heavy duty Viking. It goes without saying that a few attachments would be a nice touch, such as the food grinder, pasta maker, or perhaps the sausage stuffer.

I love lattes! I also love my modest Delonghi two-shot espresso machine but it would be heavenly to take my caffeine addiction to the next level with a top of the line model. My dream machine would not only make the perfect espresso with its dark, bitter bite and creamy crema, but would include an automatic grinder and a hot water dispenser.

One of the most basic elements needed in a kitchen is a set of cookware. I have a very fine set but when you cook every day these eventually need to be replaced. Most cooks dream of owning a complete set of top of the line cookware, such as All-Clad, Le Creuset, Emile Henri, and more. A whole set is prohibitively expensive, but a gentle hint at a birthday or Christmas could add a piece to your cupboards.

I dream of ice cream! I’ve put off purchasing an ice cream machine for one reason only. I’m afraid, very afraid of the consequences. Yet as a cook who doesn’t believe in deprivation, only moderation and a lighter look at most dishes, I would love to experiment with different kinds of ice cream. I remember helping my grandmother make it with an old hand crank machine, using lots of ice and salt. While that made for good memories it’s not really necessary anymore. There are lots of fairly inexpensive models out there that are easy and quick to use, so this might be the most feasible item on the list.

Most foodies enjoy wine and a home wine cellar would be their ultimate desire/gift. I know my fridge is usually pretty full and it can sometimes be difficult to fit in my bottles of white and rose so that they are chilled. Another advantage is that they can be placed anywhere in the house, freeing up usually much needed room in the kitchen. They’re a wonderful “investment” piece for your kitchen if you’re a wine collector with limited space or just enjoy having enough wine on hand to throw an impromptu bash.

Speaking of room in the fridge, one of the ultimate kitchen splurges would be an oversized, top of the line fridge. They have options and enough room to make entertaining and storing a breeze. They’re also tremendously expensive and personally I would be just as happy with a reliable, top-brand fridge that was larger.

These items are on many a cook’s wishlist. They don’t necessarily have to have any of them in order to create mouth watering meals, but they would certainly make life in the kitchen more fun. Of course we could live without them, but we all have dreams, and foodies fantasize about all food-related items. So keep wishing, and maybe one of these days the kitchen fairy will deliver your most-wanted item when you least expect it.

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