All of these products have been vigorously tested at Fork & Bottle. These are items that we have, use regularly and can unqualifyingly recommend. - Joanne
Thermapen Splash Proof
Superfast Digital Thermometer
The Best Kitchen Thermometer
This is an incredibly accurate and easy to use digital thermometer. I use it for everything from water temperature to oil temperature to roast temperature to BBQing. It folds up for easy storage - and the point is very sharp. It's fantastic and an essential in my kitchen. I use it everyday, multiple times. I've still have the old model which I use as backup (I frequently need 2 thermometers). Over the years I've broken the tip and had it replaced - that's easy and possible with Thermoworks. Thermapen thermometers are extremely good quality, well made and well designed. Comes in 11 colors.
A great (albeit expensive) stocking stuffer!
Amazon: Thermapen Superfast Digital ThermometerZojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel Lined Lunch Jar, Silver
Our 5 year old and myself have been using these for lunches for a couple months and I really love the design. They are the most commented on lunchbox I've ever had. I warn you that you will likely have to rethink your lunch. Filling all the jar containers is daunting and you will become clever. The reviews complain about the heating cooling and the seals. We haven't had any spills and we often use them for soup - but we are careful not to tip them over- however sometimes it's hard for littler hands to get the top off the rice container is it has soup in it without spilling - an older child would have no trouble. The big rice container is what we've been using for soup and it keeps it warm - not as warm as a thermos but pleasantly warm. Cold things are pleasantly cool. The only thing that could be addressed is the lack of a place to put a drink. We still love them for elegance, whimsy and design. We eat better and less, allowing lots of little courses in a meal and more menu variety.
A hand-held mandoline-like device with a ceramic blade. I use it for quick slicing of potatoes for gratins or anywhere I need quick thin slices. It's amazing on apples. Washes well. I was dubious too - but now that I have it I never drag out the big mandoline and I use it regularly. On the back is a way to change the opening size - you have a choice of four thicknesses. A great kitchen gadget.Comes in black and red.
I was skeptical that this expensive gadget would be gathering dust. I used to be rotten at making rice. Now I make perfect rice everytime. This rice cooker is simple to use and easy to clean. It has a lovely chime song to start and finish. It's a pleasure to use and it gets used. Leftover rice I turn into rice pudding.Le Creuset 13-Quart Round French Oven I use this pot for stew or braising – it holds enough to feed an army of ranch hands. Because of it’s size the surface area for sautéing and browning is wide. I’ve made fantastic braised lamb in it and wonderful beef stews and soups. It takes a beefy lass or laddie to heft it from the pantry to the stove but that just indicates the comfort level of that nice stew you’ll produce. Do you need it – no! But it is awesome – it comes in blue, cherry red, dune, white, green or flame. I have the flame.
These are the best oven mitts I've found. They do what Orka mitts don’t – they make it possible to actually pick something up wearing them – and they aren’t slippery. If you’ve ever tried to wrestle a heavy roasting pan with Okra mitts or tried to pick up a casserole dish with them you’ll know what I mean. These mitts you can bend - they are foam rubber-like and you can actually get a grip on something with them.
I highly recommend them. I have 3 pairs.
You need a pair or two in your kitchen.
We have 4 - and I give them as gifts. It's US made and approved by both Greenpeace and NSF. It's made of a wood fiber composite and it's safe for dishwashers and even ovens up to 350F. They make a kitchen series – ¼ inch thick, a thicker ½ inch “chef’s version” and a 3/8 inch “gourmet” version which has a black core. The kitchen series board seems to waterlog a bit in the dishwasher so we let it air dry before putting it away - but it hasn’t warped at all. They seem to “heal” cuts well and they are tremendously better than any of the plastic boards I’ve used. I love the large gourmet board with the Juice Groove - it's been working great for me.Makes a great Hostess gift!
Silicone Universal Lids Consume less plastic wrap by using these lids for leftovers in the fridge. I keep 3 or 4 around for different size bowls. The lid makes an okay seal on whatever you put it on it.
It also works as a heat trivet.
All fat separators are not created equal. This one is the biggest one I could find. It holds 4 cups and is great for gravy and stocks – even soups! I love it because it cleans so well in the dishwasher. The previous separator I used was plastic/Acrylic and after using it for awhile, it became crazed and cloudy. This one I’ve had for years. My only dislike is that it just doesn’t pour that well – it’s passable but needs a redesign. I see Oxo is making a 4c one now - perhaps it will stand up better to heat and pour better.
Jack loves 'Cucina Detergent for Dishes: Fruits and Passion'. He's been using it happily for more than three years - and he's very picky. It smells good, it’s biodegradeable, vegetable-based (coconut oil and cornstarch) and easy on the hands. The scent of choice is Ginger & Sicilian Lemon, but there is also Fig & Fresh Herb, Corianader & Olive Tree and Zucchini Flower & Truffle. It works great on dishes and pots.
Look Cookware – 13” Frying Pan
A Better Non-Stick Pan
If you use non- stick cookware, Lookno further, as this company from Iceland has revolutionized it. Your old Teflon needs replacing and this is the new company to choose. Their “non-stick” surface eco-friendly and durable. It bonds titanium particles to the surface – and the process is water-based. Read more here.
The pan is heavy and heats reasonably evenly. I just re-purchased this pan. After a year of daily use the surface was starting to wear (but not tear) and now I have a brand new one. The review? The surface lasts a bit longer than regular Teflon - but I had to replace my Teflon pan every year as well and this one is more environmently friendly making me much happier when I cook in it.
I've had it for over 20 years and other than the frying pan it gets the most use of all the pans in the kitchen. (The runner up would be the All-Clad Stock Pot.) I roast chickens, rack of lamb, any kind of roasts, duck breasts, Turkey breast, fry potatoes, Vegetables. It's shallow so it makes a great
roasting pan (much better than one with high sides) and I always get a crispy skin on
my roasts and chickens. Plus it cleans wonderfully and despite the hells I've put it through continues to look near-new. After years of use in our kitchen, I can honestly say that All-Clad
stands up to the test of time and was well worth our investment.
A must for
Gas Stoves! It heats MUCH FASTER than other kettles on a gas stove top. Really!
Simplex Coil Bottom Kettle –
For Gas Stoves
We’ve had this kettle for years and given them as presents (makes a great wedding present as well!). Made of tin-lined copper it heats quickly and is really durable. For the number of years you are likely to have it – this a no-brainer. Copper lovers can find the same version here in copper! If you need a flat bottom kettle – they make both finishes in that version as well. (Note from Jack: Regular flat-bottomed kettles take forever to heat up on a gas stovetop. This coiled-one is clearly superior.)
What makes great coffee? The right coffee beans, the right water temperature (and water!), the right pot? Here’s another element you can control - the right grinder. There may be others, but this one is great.
Bodum Thermal Stainless Coffee French Press (8 or 12 cups)
I love it. It’s shiny, doesn’t break, keeps the coffee warm and is dishwasher safe. Plus it’s a French press and makes great coffee – and a lot of it – 12 cups. I’ve come back 3 hours after making coffee and still had warm coffee. If you really can’t see the 12-cup doing you much use you can splurge less and get the 8-cup version. This pot gets daily use at our house, and it still looks like new. It's an essential if you like French Press.
I have two of these in rotation in the kitchen and love them. I chose two colors so I could tell them apart - they come in a myriad of colors. The sharp edge seems to clean bowls out better than any regular spatula that I've ever tried.
I probably have about 10 whisks of varying shapes and sizes in the kitchen gathering dust. This is the one I actually use. You must own one. It's perfect anywhere you'd use a fork, a spoon or in a non-egg-white situation. The really important feature is that whatever you're whisking doesn't get caught in the center of the whisk rendering it useless. It's also easy to clean. I've had the 8.6" one for over 10 years and it looks like it's brand new. Rösle equipment is beautfully made.
I have a fine and a medium ribbon grater that I use all the time in the kitchen. The fine I often also use for zesting. I recently got the slider attachment so Trent could grate cheese. It's a bit challenging for cheese as you need to cut it up before fitting it in - but it works great for small things like ginger. Amazon have a holiday gift set with my 2 favorite graters and the silding attachment. It makes a great hostess gift too.
So like me - you are probably skeptical (probably more so since it's Rachel Ray endorsed.) There are so many knife sharpeners out there – why is this one better? For one, you can’t mess up your knives. In manual knife sharpening/honing you have to practice to be good at it – meanwhile your knives suffer.
With the Furi Tech you can hone daily, sharpen whenever you feel the need, and rescue badly sharpened or honed knives which still have merit. The Furi Tech fingers keep the knife you are sharpening/honing *always* in the right place so you can never mess up the edge. It folds for easy storage and looks cool enough to leave out on the counter.
An absolute essential in our kitchen. I have three. They have multiple uses from baking on them to rolling pastry to roasting potatoes or squash upon. Demarle also make extra large mats for pastry (endorsed by Francois Payard). I can't live without them now and hardly ever use parchment paper. You can give away your teflon coated cookie sheets. The best thing ever for roasting sweet potatoes.
This gorgeous-looking Grill toy actually works! We don’t have many grill toys and this one was so pretty we couldn’t resist –if you grill hand-formed burgers it makes flipping a cinch. While the copper colored coating will blacken with use – it’s still an essential in our house – and makes a great gift! It cleans up really well - but you must be careful not to scratch the coating. It's very heavy gauge so we haven't had any trouble with heat - we use a charcoal kettle style grill. We also have the Fish basket, too and like it! They also make a Vegetable basket which is great for sauteing/ grilling vegetables like summer squash, baby artichokes, asparagus and peppers/onions.