This year, instead of doing dumb and dangerous cleanses, we’re all gonna delete our delivery apps and cook more meals at home. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Sure, you can pretend you’re going to train for a marathon or suddenly start using that treadmill where you hang dry your clothes. But realistically, cooking dinner a few more nights a week is one of the easiest and cheapest things we can do to improve our overall health. Study after study shows that no matter what, cooking at home leads to improved health and a lower consumption of fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and salt. Basically, you’ll always cook a healthier dinner than you can get delivered because you’ll never do all the crazy shit restaurants will do. You’re not gonna put a bunch of deep-fried mozzarella sticks into a sandwich and then pan fry that sammie but damn if you aren’t interested when you see it on a menu.
Just because you’re gonna cook more at home that doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy a billion dollars’ worth of cooking equipment. Over the holidays, we both cooked in other people’s kitchens, and we were shocked at the amount of random- and mostly useless equipment- that people own. So this week we’re gonna go over the stuff we use 95% of the time in our kitchen. Nothing fancy, just a couple of simple workhorses that we think every kitchen needs. Trust us we’ve written 4 cookbooks and hundreds of recipes using this exact same shit. No ads, no affiliate links, just some real advice.
1. A Damn Good Knife
We’re not sure why most kitchens have a whole block of shitty knives on their counter. Knife blocks are full of random shit and not practical in a real kitchen. Instead put that money into one good knife that you’re comfortable using. A 7” Santoku or Chef’s knife is usually the best bet. It’s going to cost about the same as that basic block set but you’ll have it for the rest of your life.
Personally we love knives from Shun but whatever feels good in your hand is the best for you. Just hand wash it right away; meaning the “let it soak” rule NEVER applies to this and sharpen it about as often as you change your car’s oil. Michelle’s knife has been in daily use since 2006 and it hasn’t slowed down once. Not to mention, having a good knife makes all your chopping and prep work go waaayyyy faster. Plus dull knives are far more dangerous. Save your pinky and your pennies. It’s worth it.
2. A large cutting board
It’s honestly alarming the bullshit y’all have in your kitchen that you’ll call a cutting board. One time someone handed Matt a solid glass cutting board, where the fuck do you even buy that?! Put those right in the trash where they belong. One large cutting board just makes everything way easier. You can chop multiple things and just scoot them to the side without interrupting your flow. Wood or bamboo are ideal for everyday stuff and easiest on your knives. We keep a couple plastic boards around BUT ONLY for chopping fruit- since we wanna make sure they don’t taste like the onslaught of onions we chop on the main boards.
3. Three pots
Despite how regularly we cook, we only use the same 3 main pots for pretty much everything. There’s no reason to buy a big set of pots like it’s freshman year of college when you’ll end up just reaching for the same pot over and over.
All you need is one large Dutch oven, a braiser with a lid, and a large stock pot. You can handle 90% of all your cooking using just these three pans, so they usually stay parked on the top of the stove. We like enamel coated cast iron for the Dutch oven and braiser. They’ll last a long time, look dope as fuck, and are just easy to cook in. We love Lodge products but you can also occasionally find Le Creuset pans at thrift shops if you keep your eyes peeled. We swear this is absolutely the way to go.
4. Some big bowls
Last but not least, you need a few different sized bowls. A few glass, a few metal, with one large enough to hold a big salad. These are great for mixing and for holding all the veggies you chop as part of your prep work. Go to a restaurant supply shop to get these super cheap. They’ll make cooking much quicker. We swear.
Once you got your equipment dialed in, the cooking will just flow out of you. Sure you can waste your money on an instapot, airfryer, bread machine, and infrared toaster but most people who buy those kinds of specialty equipment use them for such a short time before it’s pushed to the back of a cabinet to collect dust. It’s not worth it. Invest in timeless cooking tools and watch your meals get better and prep time go faster.
Not sure where to start? In our paid-supporters edition we’re doing a series all about Beans and Rice with a new take on the classic combo every week. Cheap, easy, and goddamn delicious, this series will help take the mystery and the mystery fake meats out of your everyday plant-based dinners. These recipes are for paid-supporters only so consider becoming part of the crew.
See you in the kitchen.
Michelle and Matt