Kitchen Shop

Kitchen Shop and Gift Guide for Cooks, photograph of a kitchen and kitchen window

Welcome to the Kitchen Shop!

Smells good! What are you cooking?

Every cook needs good tools, and these are some of my favorite essentials. Everything in the Kitchen Shop is something that I either use personally or is a very close approximation. I also share why I recommended it.

Most items in this shop are affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission for qualifying purchases. Especially in this Kitchen Shop, I’ve given a couple of different options for retailers for the same item, as these items are widely available.

Shopping in this Kitchen Shop helps to support me in creating Wonder & Sundry, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen to shop here. Thank you!

Food Prep & Food Storage

Beeswax wrap offers a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap. I like this roll of beeswax wrap, because you can cut it to size for what you need. NOTE: I do not advise using this for uncooked meats.

A little bit of fun for your pantry organization. These chalkboard labels are cute and add a bit of uniformity to your kitchen. NOTE: While the chalkboard marker does come off, these do best when treated as one-offs where you will use the same container for the same item.

Mis en place makes cooking so much easier, and these durable bowls are a key tool. They aren’t necessarily cheap, but they last a long time and look good doing it.

Sanitation is critical in the kitchen, and cutting boards can be a major source of contamination. To be safe, I use a separate cutting board for raw meats. This Gorilla Grip set has three cutting boards for different sized jobs. They are sturdy enough not to fly all over the place, they clean up well, and the grooves come in handy. They are BPA-free and come in different colors (note that the prices will vary).

A good set of liquid measuring cups is crucial for every cook. This one has a 4-cup, 2-cup, and a 1-cup, so your bases will be covered. Do take care in subjecting glass measuring cups to extreme temperature shifts, as it’s possible for them to break. I have the 4-cup from this set, but I like it much better than my 1-cup from another brand, so I’m recommending this set.

Not only is this a lovely cutting board, but it’s made with bamboo, which is a more sustainable option than wood. The grooves help to catch any liquids. I’ve had mine for over two years, and, while it has cut marks in it, it has held up very well under regular use. Do make sure to follow the seasoning instructions. This is a two-tone version of the one that I have.

Reusable storage bags can cost a small fortune. These do not. I’ve used these bags for over five years, replacing them every year or so. For standard food storage needs, they work just fine. Do not overfill them to help ensure that the seal lasts.

Tools

This is a great little dish scrubber that lasts a long time and is safe on Le Creuset and nonstick surfaces (which sometimes need a little love).

Tis better to weigh ingredients than to rely on measuring cups. This little scale lasts forever—I bought mine in 2014—and has both metric and imperial measurements. It now comes in different colors, too!

Separating the fat can be a time-consuming chore. A fat separator makes it much, much easier. I use this one to make short work of the task.

I’ll admit it: I originally bought these so that I could do froufrou platings. However, I wound up using them for a lot more than garnishing. They’re perfect for when you need a bit of precision in the kitchen. This is a pack of two, one snub-nosed on the bottom and one pointy. They are stainless steel, and thus far, have held up very well.

A food processor makes short work of things and is well worth the space it takes up. This one is reasonably priced and does the job. I’ve had it for years, and they are still selling the same model. If you use a food processor all the time, it might make sense to invest in a more expensive model, but this will do just fine for average use.

An immersion blender makes blending soup neater and easier. I use mine all the time. This is a newer version of the one I bought nearly fifteen years ago (still going strong!).

This little organizer changes lives. Well, it frees up space in a kitchen drawer, and if you have a tiny kitchen, that’s kind of the same thing. Stash your flatware in the slots and marvel at how much extra drawer space you’ve made without compromising on organization!

If you bake with any kind of regularity, a stand mixer is a must. KitchenAid is the gold standard. It’s a heavy beast that takes up precious space and is worth every bit of it. They take a beating and last forever. Brioche becomes a cakewalk and your egg whites will be perfect. And so much more, especially if you invest in a few more attachments.

TIP: KitchenAid mixers often go on sale around the holidays.

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If you bake with any kind of regularity, a stand mixer is a must. KitchenAid is the gold standard. It’s a heavy beast that takes up precious space and is worth every bit of it. They take a beating and last forever. Brioche becomes a cakewalk and your egg whites will be perfect. And so much more, especially if you invest in a few more attachments.

TIP: KitchenAid mixers often go on sale around the holidays. This comes in different colors, but note that there are different price points on Amazon.

If you bake with any kind of regularity, a stand mixer is a must. KitchenAid is the gold standard. It’s a heavy beast that takes up precious space and is worth every bit of it. They take a beating and last forever. Brioche becomes a cakewalk and your egg whites will be perfect. And so much more, especially if you invest in a few more attachments. This model is the Classic Series, which costs a bit less than the Artisan models. It’s bigger than the mini-mixer, which I think is a good choice to allow for making larger batches when desired.

TIP: KitchenAid mixers often go on sale around the holidays.

Potato Chard Terrines

Simple ingredients come together in a comforting, rustic dish

A good mandoline makes short work of slicing. This is a classic. You need to be VERY careful when using it, as it doesn’t have fancy safety measures, but it’s a great mandoline for the price. I’m recommending this older version, because the reviews on the newer model are not as good.

A mortar and pestle has tons of uses, from cracking pepper and grinding spices to making pesto. I like marble for this, because it doesn’t retain odors. This one is similar to the one that I have but has a silicone mat that will help with stabilizing while you use it.

I have a confession to make: I used to poopoo Microplane zesters, because I thought they were expensive and unnecessary. I made do with a lesser zester for years. Dear Reader, I was wrong. This is a superior zester, and it makes short work out of the chore. Just get it and see for yourself. Happy zesting!

Swedish dishcloths are super helpful in the kitchen, and these owl ones are super cute. They hold up after washing and last so much longer than sponges.

This is a great vegetable peeler, but I’m recommending it for one specific reason: if you need strips of zest without pith, this is your tool. It does a perfect job every time.

If you want fluffy mashed potatoes, and who doesn’t, a potato ricer is your friend. This is a great one, and it will not break the bank.

Silcone basting brushes are useful not just for basting, but also for pastry. These clean nicely and hold up well. Plus, the colors are cute, and the price is right.

I use this colorful hotpad every single day. They are heat resistant to 600F, so you aren’t going to melt it when you pull something hot out of the oven. I use mine under my pour-over coffee maker every morning. I also use it to stabilize bowls when I’m whipping something. Plus, the colors are fun. Mine’s green!

This set of three silicone whisks do the job and are safe to use with Le Creuset and nonstick pots.

If you’re making popsicles and fudgesicles (and I hope you are!), these molds are fantastic. I’ve used these several times thus far and am very pleased with the results. They create that classic popsicle shape, they unmold well, and, they are just so darn cute!

I’m not a huge fan of single-use tools, working in small kitchens, but a strawberry huller is a useful little tool for saving as much of the strawberry goodness as possible. It works with tomatoes, too. So maybe it’s not a single-use tool after all.

This is a super simple thermometer/alarm that signals when your meat has reached your designated temperature. It’s also less expensive than the other ThermoWorks models and comes in tons of cute colors.

A reliable thermometer is a key tool in any kitchen, and Thermoworks makes one of the best.

My mom introduced me to the magic of this little Nordic tool, and I’m in love. This makes whipping cream a breeze, and I use it over a wire whisk for most jobs. This is a similar whip.

Cookware

I use Le Creuset almost exclusively when I’m cooking at home, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. These pieces are expensive, it’s true, but they will last you a lifetime and make a huge difference in your cooking.

In putting this Kitchen Shop together, I’ve learned that, to my dismay, Le Creuset appears no longer offer their 1-quart pot, which is one of my mainstays. I’m on the lookout for a suitable substitute and will update the shop when I find one. In the meantime, these are the pieces that I use the most.

Nonstick pans come in handy, but they also often have dangerous chemicals and do not last. GreenPan is different. This pan is perfect for eggs and other small-batch dishes, for which nonstick is most helpful.

When cooking for one, this constitutes a “larger” pot. I use this for small-batch soups and veggies and the like that won’t fit into my 1-quart pot. I also use it in the oven.

When cooking for one, this constitutes a “larger” pot. I use this for small-batch soups and veggies and the like that won’t fit into my 1-quart pot. I also use it in the oven.

Use this Le Creuset Oven to roast a chicken or make large-batch soups and stews.

Use this Le Creuset Oven to roast a chicken or make large-batch soups and stews.

This is a Le Creuset pan that I reach for again and again. It’s not too big for cooking for one, and it’s not too small when cooking for company. Highly recommended, especially for Julia Child’s Pork Chops. I have this in Flame, and it’s available in multiple colors.

This is perfect for dishes that need a crispy top. I do everything in here from Retro Artichoke Spinach Dip to potato dishes. It fits nicely in an apartment oven. This is a newer version of what I have.

This is perfect for dishes that need a crispy top. I do everything in here from Retro Artichoke Spinach Dip to potato dishes. It fits nicely in an apartment oven. This is a newer version of what I have.

A Lodge cast iron skillet is my workhorse. Cook on the stove, put it in the oven (better yet, start on the stove and finish in the oven), this beast works better than my far more expensive Le Creuset skillet. This now comes with a silicone hot handle, that I’ve never used before, but I imagine would be welcome.

A Lodge cast iron skillet is my workhorse. Cook on the stove, put it in the oven (better yet, start on the stove and finish in the oven), this beast works better than my far more expensive Le Creuset skillet. This now comes with a silicone hot handle, that I’ve never used before, but I imagine would be welcome.

This is perfect for making small-batch cornbread and cooking smaller-batch dishes on the stove, in the oven, or both!

Bakeware

Versatile mini ramekins are the solo cook’s best friend. Bake single-serving dishes, use them for snacks, or even for food prep. The uses are endless.

Use these for baking Mini Dark Chocolate Cake and other delightful tiny cakes.

Ingredients for Boston Brown Bread on a wooden table with the can to steam it ini in the foreground and string

Mis en place for Boston Brown Bread

These are the best sheet pans for cooking for one. They are excellent quality and just the right size. They fit in apartment ovens.

Earl Grey Cookies

Cool on the pan for five minutes and then cool on a rack

These precut sheets make life a whole lot easier, especially for quarter-sheet pans. Often times with parchment rolls, you need to trim in order to get it to fit a quarter-sheet pan, but not with these. This is high-quality, unbleached parchment, and it doesn’t curl.

Coffee

A burr coffee grinder makes a huge difference to your morning cup. This gives you the exact grind that you need, from the finest espresso powder (nice for baking) to a coarse grind for cold brew and everything in between. This is Baratza’s more affordable model, and it was my pandemic gift to myself. If you’re serious about coffee, this is a nice treat. My one gripe with was the assembly required (it’s fine, but a pain for that price point). Make sure that the on/off switch is secure in the socket before using it.

I love a good pour over, don’t you? This is the pot that I use every day (yes, I drink a bit of coffee). It comes with a metal filter, but I also use a paper filter for taste. This Bodum model costs a lot less than a Chemex, makes great coffee, and I think is really rather cute.

I love a good pour over, don’t you? This is the pot that I use every day (yes, I drink a bit of coffee). It comes with a metal filter, but I also use a paper filter for taste. This Bodum model costs a lot less than a Chemex, makes great coffee, and I think is really rather cute.

You don’t need a fancy machine to get decent froth at home. I love to make a nice cappuccino from time to time, but not enough to invest in the works. This manual milk frother makes good foam. Add hot milk to the pitcher, get to pumping, and you’ll have a lovely coffee. You will need to replace this from time to time and make sure to clean it properly, but it does last.

This cute little pot makes excellent coffee and looks adorable doing it. Moka Express is the classic stovetop Italian coffee maker, and you really can’t go wrong with it. Well, unless you leave it unattended, but you wouldn’t do that.

This cute little pot makes excellent coffee and looks adorable doing it. Moka Express is the classic stovetop Italian coffee maker, and you really can’t go wrong with it. Well, unless you leave it unattended, but you wouldn’t do that.

Specialty Ingredients

Once you try freshly ground cardamom in baked goods, you will not go back to the stuff in jars. You can also use pods to flavor simple syrup, mulled wine, and other delights (I love it and use cardamom all the time).

Good quality cocoa powder for a good price. I use this in my Lavender Fudgesicles and other chocolate treats.

Good olive oil can cost an absolute fortune. This single-origin extra-virgin olive oil doesn’t. Graza’s Drizzle is perfect for salads, flavoring soups, and other tasty dishes, and it doesn’t break the bank. Plus, the bottle is super cute.

Graza Sizzle Olive Oil, a single-origin extra-virgin olive oil from more mature olives, is designed for cooking. Roast and sauté with it (though do mind the smoke point for olive oil). This is really good olive oil, and it will not break the bank.

Finishing a dish with flaky sea salt gives it that special something, and Maldon is perfectly flaky.

You don’t have to go to Zadar, Croatia, to get these delicious cherries (though I highly recommend it).

Use this in Roasted Mushroom Pâte and other dishes where you want that depth of porcini flavor.

Use this to top your Nordic baked goods. It’s excellent quality. Comes in a pack of two.

Cookbooks

Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

 

Dorie Greenspan, perhaps best known for World Peace Cookies (the original recipe is in this book), created a cookbook so good that it inspired a movement: Tuesdays with Dorie, where people from all over would cook recipes from Around My French Table. I’ve turned to it again and again in the years since I bought it, and it never lets me down. The appetizers section will have you in party dishes for years to come.

Baking Yesteryear: The Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s, by B. Dylan Hollis

Have you ever flipped through an old cookbook and wondered what people were thinking? B. Dylan Hollis did, and he’s cooked them up and shared them in his delightful TikTok.

Some of these old recipes are absolute gems, and some are well . . . turkeys. In Jello.

Hollis brings his unique project to the page, sharing both the best of what he’s found and the worst. This book is a lot of fun, and, even if you never dare bake anything from it, it makes for a great conversation piece.

Fire & Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Dana Goldstein

If you’re looking for a creative and accessible introduction to Nordic cooking, this James Beard nominee is your cookbook. Taking inspiration from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, Goldstein’s recipes are delicious and doable. The photos are gorgeous, and you’ll want to try all of the unique dishes. She has a helpful section on where to source specialty ingredients, and, where appropriate, she’s suggested substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients.

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Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes, by Rachel Khoo

This was a hard cookbook to find for a while there, and I’m really happy to see it available again. If you have a tiny kitchen and want to cook delicious French food (or, even if you have a big kitchen and you want a good introduction to approachable modern French cooking), look no further than Little Paris Kitchen. Rachel Khoo’s compact, beautiful book is filled with delicious recipes that you can do at home without a ton of special equipment or culinary training. I use this book all the time, and I highly recommend it.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary Edition, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

This is the book that changed American cooking. Julia Child demystified French cooking, sharing step-by-step how to create the most demanding dishes. While I don’t cook from this book every day, this is where I turn when I want to make something really special. The recipes are clear, the writing sparkling, and the impact unmistakable.

The Modern Larder: From Anchovies to Yuzu, a Guide to Artful and Attainable Home Cooking, by Michelle McKenzie (Author) and Rick Poon (Photographer)

This beautiful book shares pantry ingredients from contemporary cooking and recipes to use them in. If you’ve ever wondered how to use that cool ingredient you picked up somewhere that time, this book will likely have a suggestion for you.

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, by David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is famous for his writing about desserts, but this cookbook has so much more. Approachable and elevated, his take on modern French cooking will have you reaching for this book again and again. And the stories are great.

The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated: 200 Recipes for Ice Creams, Sorbets, Gelatos, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments, by David Lebovitz

If you’ve ever wanted to make ice cream (or sorbet, or gelato, or granitas, or or or . . .), get this outstanding book by David Lebovitz. He covers everything you need to know about making ice cream and there’s so many ideas! The chocolate ice cream on the cover is what the angels eat in heaven when they’re happy.

The recipes are great, but for the technique, this book is an absolute must.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat, illustrated by Wendy Macnaughton

Most cookbooks give you recipes, this contemporary classic teaches you how to cook. Or, really, how to taste. This beautiful book goes over the four elements of good cooking, and you will never be the same. There are recipes in here for you to try (the buttermilk chicken is out-of-this-world delicious), but what you’ll really come away with is a better understanding of what makes good food good. If you don’t already have it, get it!

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg

I thought I cooked seasonally until I cracked open this James Beard Award-winning cookbook. This is perfect for vegetarians, but also for anyone wanting to eat more seasonably. The winter dishes will warm your soul.

Books About Cooking

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine, by Edward Lee

This book made me think a lot about cuisines in the US. Lee celebrates immigrants and their cuisine and the cacophony of bringing them together. Lee is no purist, but nor is his “melting pot” hegemonic. His adventure across the US to unexpected places and his beautiful writing about the dishes he finds (and the recipes he creates) will have you hungry for more. It’s not an uncontroversial position Lee takes, but it comes from the best of places. Worth a read.

How to Cook a Wolf, by MFK Fisher

If you haven’t read MFK Fisher, let this be your introduction. In How to Cook a Wolf, written during World War II, is ostensibly a book of how to make do with the ingredients on hand, but it’s so much more than that. It makes you fall in love with food and shows you how to wring life out of nothing. For those of us lucky enough not to have lived through wartime, Fisher’s writing may still conjure up images of our student days, and, while many of the recipes are dated, the writing is timeless. You’ll love it.

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