Gents who enjoy a good grilling, it’s time to cross tongs and rejoice. The kitchen is no longer the domain of the fairer sex.
Simply turn on the telly and you’ll realise most legendary chefs are of the male persuasion, so don’t be deterred by decades of male-dominated barbecuing. It’s time to extend your wolfpack skills to the stovetop, so join us in the kitchen as we go through the ten most invaluable tools every functioning kitchen deserves.
#1 Dutch Oven
Get your minds out of the smoke-filled gutter and behold these multi-purpose wonders. Suitable for the oven, grill, stovetop or campfire, almost anything can be cooked within the solid walls of an enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven. Searing and stewing is just the beginning. Woo your ladylove with a refined risotto, a platter of shallow and deep fried delicacies, or a whole roast chicken for the more carnivorous companions.
Heavy, efficient and long lasting (no, we’re not talking about you), French is best when choosing a Dutch oven, with Le Creuset leading the charge.
#2 Wooden Cutting Block
Ponder the planet and say no to plastic. Flimsy synthetic boards may be cheap, but they’re certainly nasty. Likewise, more expensive glass mats should be overlooked unless you enjoy blunt knives.
A thick wooden clopping block will serve you well no matter the meal. Fulfill your long-buried wood-chopping fantasy and make one DIY-style. Don’t have an axe handy? No problem. Some of our favourites come from Mar & Par’s Unique Kitchen Boards in Killarney Vale on the Central Coast. Generally constructed from camphor, each hand-made board is unique and quirky.
Rather than selling out of a shop, Mar and Par crisscross around Sydney, visiting various markets and charming customers with their craftsmanship. Visit the Facebook page to see where Mar and Par will be throughout the week.
#3 Quality Blades
Captain Obvious argues that the number of utensils one owns directly correlates with the time one spends washing up. So, with this ‘revolutionary’ fact in mind, keep your blades to a minimum. Two or three high-quality knives will suffice to slice and dice through most ingredients. Disregard the convoluted knife sets you see floating around in catalogues or on late night TV (and go to bed! A man needs his rest).
To encourage longevity avoid putting knives in the dishwasher, run the blades over a sharpening tool every month, and wrap the pointy ends in tea towels to protect the blades and your clumsy late-night, beer-buzz fingers.
An 8inch-12inch chef’s knife is a must, closely followed by paring and filleting varieties. Japanese knives are some of the sharpest and most durable available. Global are one of our particular favourites and in honour of their 30th anniversary, a limited edition 3-piece Global Knife Set has been released.
Feeling the Swiss love? Victorinox is another reputable brand offering affordable knife sets. Check out their 7-piece bundle with black nylon roll-up pouch can be purchased here.
Finally, we have the German knife masters Wusthof. Bear in mind they are perfect, though pricey with 3-piece starter kit fit for amateurs and professionals alike. Get it here.
#4 Sandwich Press
The humble sandwich press can handle more than yesterday’s almost-fresh loaf. The versatile tool welcomes meat and seafood as heartily as it does a Panini.
Toasted sandwich lovers from way back should consider an old-school jaffle maker. Although you’ll have trouble cooking a steak on one of these, the delicious crunchy crispy cheesy edges make up for its lack of adaptability.
Drop in to any department store and pick one up for under $30. If you’re after a genuine sealed-edge sandwich, it doesn’t get better than Breville’s Original ’74, available from Billy Guyatts.
#5 Blender Bender
Just like a tailored suit, every man needs a good blender. And it just so happens the dutiful blender has received incredibly powerful upgrades in recent years, along with a handful of innovative design improvements.
The proof is in the late-night infomercial onslaught: Nutribullet and Vitamix being the biggest commercial culprits. Smoothies for breakfast, pureed goodness for lunch and late night bevvies with the boys, a blender can keep you nourished from morning to night.
#6 Measuring Cups & Scales
You might dismiss the need for a scale or measuring cups, but answer this: how many tablespoons of butter make up 4oz? If you answered eight tablespoons, please proceed to number 7.
For those who’ve let their high-school hospitality skills fall by the wayside, it’s best to grab a couple of stainless steel measuring cups or a digital scale and avoid giving your next date salt poisoning, or worse.
#7 Cast Iron Skillet
Don’t waste your time and money on so-called non-stick fry pans that are touted as lasting a lifetime. Rather than slowly eroding Teflon or the $15 pans you can find at the supermarket that couldn’t fry an egg to save their bacon, a cast iron skillet will only get better with time.
The forged cookware feels almost industrial, while the heat distribution and retention is unbeatable. The best part? Cleaning is optional. Give it a scrub down with paper towel and be on your way.
#8 Stainless Steel Bowls
If your living room is a hub for the hombres, you’ll need a stack of stainless steel bowls. Perfect for marinating meat, serving snacks and salads or a monster serving of cereal, stainless steel bowls are cheap and longer lasting than plastic, glass or ceramic options. Just remember not to put number 8 into number 9. See below for more details.
#9 A Man’s Microwave
A man with a can shouldn’t be underestimated, but a kitchen without a microwave should. Great for reheating leftovers, making chocolate cake (Google ‘5-minute chocolate mug cake’ for directions) or preparing a frozen dinner (don’t pretend you don’t have one hiding in the back of your freezer), the microwave is the sous chef of the kitchen.
#10 Capsule Coffee Machine
Wake up and smell the coffee with your own fresh brew. If you’re a De’Longhi diehard like George Clooney and can’t get enough of Nespresso’s convenient pods, a capsule coffee machine will make crawling out of bed a whole lot easier. Ditch the instant and check your finances before perusing the infinite varieties on the market.