I love my pampered chef bamboo utencils… they are super smooth and dishwasher safe. Actually I like the PC silicone spatulas/spoonulas too. I also like stainless steel ice cream scoops - I have 5 different sizes and I use them for meatballs, cookies, muffins, rice, etc… basically everything but ice cream). Oh, and I don’t know what I’d do without my OXO veggie peeler (the traditional style) - it’s so sharp!
I’d have to say my restaurant supply half-sheet pans, dollar for dollar a great bargain. What took me so long to get these?? They must sell a ton of them, they had a rack full right in the front of the store.
My pie crust rings to make a perfectly round with no waste crust. I’d probably have given up on pies years and years ago if I had not bought these.
I also adore the Pourfect products that Rose talked about some time ago. I have the bowls, which are just wonderful for dumping things into the KA mixing bowl without getting flour all over the kitchen, the beaker (and it really does NOT drip after you pour from it) and all the measuring spoons - from 1/32 to 2 tablespoons! Just absolutely perfect for scaling down recipes to really small batches.
I get rubber spatulas (one-piece, white and very basic) by the handful at a wholesale place for under $2. I like them for folding sponge cakes and for working with chocolate because they are one-piece so you never have the possibility of water getting trapped between the handle and the spatula part. They are also very flexible so they get every last bit of whatever it is out of the bowl. I also like their pricer heftier high-heat cousins.
I have a joke that I always make thouh, that the most indispensable tool in the kitchen is a sense of humor.:D
MrsM - Oh, I love the Pourfect bowls too!!! Why didn’t I think of that! I don’t have the beaker yet - it’ll be on my list this Christmas.
Reenicake - I love the Pampered Chef silicone spatulas because they are all white, don’t stain, the white handle is permanently attached to the silicone head, and they are heat proof and dishwasher safe. They are a little expensive, but I have about 7 now, some of which are over 8 or 9 years old and still look perfect.
I love my microplane graters as well. I have 4 of them, and I use them all the time (so much so, I’m glad I have 4 of them). Those are probably my favorite kitchen tools.
Other tools I consider cheap essentials:
my Zyliss garlic press (you can press unpeeled garlic through this)
my Zyliss serrated peeler (it peels tomatoes and peaches!)
my OXO good grips stainless steel bench knife
plastic bowl scrapers (I have a bunch of these. they are sooo cheap)
my “wonder cup” measuring cups (I have 2 sizes)
my Zyliss locking can opener (best can opener I’ve ever had)
my Victornox bread knife
my Messermeister pairing knifes (once you find a favorite pairing knife, buy a dozen!)
and last, but not least, a cheap coffee bean grinder specifically for grinding whole spices
I don’t think that it gets any cheaper than this: About 20 years ago I lived with a room mate named Harriet. The apartment had been hers for many years and I moved in with her right after graduating from my post-grad program. We lived together for three years and at that time Harriet decied to move to Florida. When she left she said:“anything I didn’t pack up you can keep”. There was a cheap nylon spoon (Junk to start with…and of course…I paid nothing for it) I have used to mix absolutely everything for the past 15 years. I love it. Just the right size, feels good in my hand, and quite frankly…junk!
Oh yes - I ordered my microplane from a cooking school before they were available everywhere like they are now… I’ve probably used it hundreds of times and it’s still just as sharp as the day I got it. Hey, while I’m thinking of it… if you have the long skinny model, and it didn’t come with a plastic cover, you can call the company and they will send you one free of charge (at least that’s what they did for me a couple of years ago).