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5 Kitchen Items to Avoid (and What to Own Instead)

There are a whole slew of gimmicky appliances that you might think would make the cooking experience easier, whether it’s a single-purpose tool like the quesadilla maker, trendy cookware such as the sourdough starter, egg steamer, or banana slicer. Or even a glass cutting board that would seemingly be the easiest to wash. You might think these tools will turn you into a master chef, but if you take a look at an actual pro’s restaurant kitchen, none of these pointless items are anywhere to be seen. When deciding on which appliances and utensils to use, it is important to focus on practicality and quality. With that in mind, here are things you should use in the kitchen and what you should include in your collection instead.

1. PLASTIC UTENSILS

Even if you slept through high school science class, there are probably two things that you recall: using Pepsi and Alka-Seltzer tablets to simulate volcano eruptions is spiffy, and plastic melts really easily.

What to use instead: Rubber, wooden, or steel utensils

If you’re an aspiring cook with little experience, kitchen utensils made of rubber, stainless steel or wood are the way to go. They are strong, sturdy, and can handle the heat. But if you’re cooking with a Teflon pan, never use a fork or spatula made from metal because it will scrape away the pan’s surface. Instead, use a spatula that is also made of Teflon. Another helpful tip: for the freshest tasting grated cheese, buy a block and use a grater rather than buying the pre-grated variety.

2. SINGLE-USE APPLIANCES

Curious about making yogurt? You could buy a yogurt machine. Love quesadillas? It’s possible to invest in the aforementioned quesadilla maker. But let’s be honest; how often would you really use these products? Same question as it relates to breadmakers and convection ovens. If you answered, “Probably all the time” the only person you are fooling is yourself.

What to use instead: Multipurpose appliances

Mixers do everything from making a perfect dough for a pie crust to whipping the cream that you’ll put on top of that pie. Buying a high-quality blender and food processor is also a good idea because they can be used every single day for every meal.

3. TRENDY COOKWARE/MASSIVE COOKWARE SETS

When some new cookware comes out, there’s a feeling that you need to have it in order to keep up with the rest of the neighborhood. But seriously, how many additional pots and pans do you truly need? Why spend money on temporary fads? You should also resist the temptation to buy these huge matching cookware sets simply because it makes your kitchen look like a happening place.

What to get instead: Individual pots and pans that have a good reputation.

Dependable cookware doesn’t have to cost a lot either; there are plenty of people who spend $20 on a pan that they continue to use for decades.