The Simplest Things In Life


My Favorite Cooking Gadgets

I am often asked what are the best kitchen gadgets to buy on a limitd budget. Or what are the basic gadgets I need to start cooking?

There are millions of gadgets. They come in all cost ranges from pennies to hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

There was time I had to have every gadget on the market and in catalogs. I spent boo coo money on these dastardly contraptions. Some did not work. Some did not work for small recipes for just one or two people. Some did not work as advertised. Some were a pain in the kitchen sink to clean. Some were just stupid.

Almost all of them cost way too much money.

I am SO over those days.

I have learned that the most expensive toy is not always best or what you need.

If I had it to do over, and with the wisdom that comes from experience, these are the gadgets I would start off with. In no particular order these are the essentials I believe every kitchen needs and every beginning cook will need.

A good cutting board

I waited way too long to get a really good cutting board. I love the one I have now.

Get the biggest you can afford. When you have half a dozen veggies to dice and slice it is nice to have one board to do it all on.  I also recommend a Cadillac version. In the long run it will save you money. They simply last longer than the cheaper boards. This is one tool you do not want to skimp on.


Meat Boards

The people who write about these things say you need 3 such boards: one for chicken, one for beef, and one for pork. I have two: the green one for chicken, and the blue one for beef and pork. I am still alive. I rest my case.

But it is imperative you clean these boards well and often. I wash these after each use in HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT water and I use bleach for a second washing, especially on the chicken board.

I also liberally use a lot of full strength vinegar on my meat boards. And I have a small brush I use for all washings so that I can get into the knife cuts and slashes where the germs and bacteria love to hide.



You will need several of these in different sizes. I don’t know how I ever got along in the kitchen with out whisks. I guess a fork would do. But whisks just mix liquids so much better. Plus they are just so much fun to use. They are like a toy for me. I just whisk and whisk away. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Shake your whisker.


Mixing and Prep Nesting Bowls

This is another AMAZING thing I don’t know how I ever lived without.

They are great when you have a dish with lots of ingredients. I can prep everything up front in assembly line fashion and keep them in these bowls for when I have to add to the pot. On my more orderly days I can even line them up in the exact order in which they are added to the pot.

Of course my only problem is I want to keep all of the dishes in correct order by size.  No, I do not suffer from OCD. I have CDO, cause I put the letters in alphbetical order, like they should be!

I have had this set since the late 1970’s. They are miraculous things and look so cute all piled all on top of each other. Too cute. They make cooking fun.


Microplane Citrus Zester

When a recipe calls for the zest of a lemon, orange, lime, or other citrus fruits you cannot do wrong with this tool. Zested citrus fruits add heavenly flavor to dishes. They are so easy to use and you get the zest quickly.

I also use a zester on nutmeg in many recipes. Nutmeg adds a subtle earthy and nutty flavor to a dish. I like to buy the seed nutmeg and zest my own. The already ground nutmeg does not seem to have as strong a flavor as when I zest it myself.


 Channel Zester

A channel zester simply gives you citrus fruit zest in long thin strips. These strips are very pretty, as well as they add great flavor when used as a garnish for a dish. Like with a regular zester it gives the flavor of the skin without cutting into the bitter white pith.


And Last But Not Least…….
A Tupperware Strainer

My favorite gadget is just this plain, humble plastic strainer. I got this free at a 1970’s Tupperware Party. I bought several items at the party. But this is the only item I still have left.

I use it for its real purpose, which is to drain water off vegetables and spaghetti.

But I also use it to drain tuna, canned fruits add vegetables. I use this little thing more than I do almost any other gadget I own.

This simple, free little piece of plastic is the best kitchen gadget I have ever owned.

I don’t have to use can lids to drain cans anymore. Since I have four stitches in my right thumb from a can top slicing me, you know and can understand why this gadget has a special place in my kitchen.

Life is strange like this. Many times it is the humblest, simplest, and least expensive item that meets our needs the most.


Featured Recipe    Lemon Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Wings


This is a heavenly divine chicken wing dish!

I love the sweet-tart flavor of lemon and I love soy sauce. So I married them. So far, it has been a marriage of pure bliss.

In short, I really like this sauce.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

2 dozen chicken wings

¼ cup lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar

2 cloves garlic pressed

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Sesame seeds


Cook the chicken wings according to the directions here: How To Bake Chicken Wings. I decided to add this technique to More Thyme’s Cooking School page since I use it so often in recipes on More Thyme. This technique works for wings using any kind of sauce.

While the wings are cooking make the sauce. Combine and mix well all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and mix well.



Pour the sauce into a pan and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes to a boil. Remove from heat source and let sit until the wings are done.


When the wings are cooked to a nice brown add the wings to the sauce (I place the sauce in a big casserole for this step and do the saucing in batches.) Turn the wings several times in the sauce to coat them thoroughly



Place the wings back in the cooking pan and into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.


When done, remove from the oven and sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken before serving. Serve with fresh fruit.


Pour some of the left over sauce into a small bowl and serve with the wings for dipping.


Bon appétit!!!


24 chicken wings                   $10.43

¼ cup lemon juice                $0.98

¼ cup soy sauce                   $0.60

2 tablespoons sugar              $0.06

2 tbspns brown sugar            $0.20

2 cloves garlic minced           $0.24

¼ teaspoon gnd ginger         $0.06

Sesame seeds                      $0.34

Total cost = $            $12.91

Cost per person = $      $3.23

Quote of the Day

Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.

William Saroyn


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5 comments to The Simplest Things In Life

  • I think you’ve covered the biggies. The one thing I can’t live without is rack – I use it for cooling and for cooking bacon in the oven.
    Instead of multiple cutting boards for meats I use a waxed butcher-type paper to cover my cutting board and then toss it when I’ve finished cutting up raw meats. And then I wash my cutting board with hot water and plenty of detergent. So far so good.

    • Roberta

      GREAT ideas, Julia. I especially love using the waxed butcher type papaer. Saves time. 🙂

  • I love nesting bowls… I have 3 covering cupcakes in my fridge right now. They are so great and if you forgot to get the second cake carrier back from someone you delivered crisp to a few days before (oops), they are great to cover cupcakes with out smooshing the buttercream! Your wings look so yummy! You just can’t go wrong with good teriyaki. Hugs, Kate

    • Roberta

      Oooooo! If you have 3 bowls covering cupcakes in your fridge now I know that another Yummy post from you is soon on its way. Can’t wait!!! 🙂

  • This traditional style rotary whisk has twin whisk heads and stainless steel blades. Easy to use and makes light work of beating and whisking.