I’ve been cooking since I was a wee kid, but life changed for me in 1986 when my mother bought a small kitchen and bath store in our hometown. I was 11 years old and my mom, being a single mother, needed to spend a load of time building her business. Chores all of a sudden became a necessity if I wanted clean clothes, or a clean bathroom, or dinner. This is not a sob song; trust me, I was a happy pre-teen having the house to myself most of the time. And as I got older and more experienced, my mom would make sure that there were groceries so I could cook dinner myself, and I loved it.
Now that we had access to all the best cooking gear on the market, we started building the kitchen with quality gear. My mom gave me the best quality that she could find and afford, and I still have several of the original pieces from over 20 to 30 years ago.
What are my 5 fav’s?
1. A really really good fry pan. I am very fortunate that my mom gave me hand made 2.5mm copper fry pans when I was about 15. These pans are still amazing, but unfortunately these have become so expensive that it’s nearly impossible to justify. The next best thing? Proline from Demeyere. Absolutely amazing and arguably just as good as my copper, with a load less maintenance.
2. The Susi Garlic Press, by Zyliss. This may be a funny one for my second choice however it’s not uncommon for me to talk to people that have a 30 year old press. Mine is a newer version because I gave my old one to a friend.
3. A Santoku Chef Knife – I haven’t had mine nearly as long as most of my stock items but it’s an indispensible tool. I have an old Shun, which I love, but if I replaced it I would choose the Miyabi Artisan.
4. Atlas Pasta Machine – My mom taught me to make many vegetarian dishes, but a staple growing up was pasta. I’ve taken my inherited love of pasta making and have passed it onto my kids. It’s really like playing with playdoh, that you eat. Super fun!
5. Vitamix – I grew up with a Vitamix, which was an old style that had a narrow beaker. For whatever reason I didn’t do much with it other than baby food type soup once in awhile. So I can’t really say that I my love affair with Vitamix came from my childhood. It’s a relationship that I built in my adult life, post having kids. I now use the tool multiple times a day to ensure that my family is getting enough antioxidants into us. This would be my desert island tool….as long as there is power there, I guess.
6. Sorry, I have one more. A Cast Iron Oven – this is an indispensible item. It’s like the Vitamix of cookware. I could use my 5.5 Round Cocotte for cooking almost anything. Thanks to my mom for passing on the love of Cast Iron, especially her obsession with Staub.
People assume that I have every tool under the sun, but the reality is that I like to cook all the time with the simple basics. As long as the quality is high I like to get by with quite little. This may sound strange for a guy that sells cookware and tools but simplicity if what we advocate. If it works, use it, If you can get something that works better, do it.