Once you try it (or its vertically oriented cousin), you'll never settle for another. It's super-comfortable in the hand, and replaceable blades means it's always sharp and works well.
Simple and super-efficient; it catches the seeds. Look for one made from metal, not plastic.
Makes cutting up a raw whole chicken a breeze. Essential for cutting through the backbone and breastbone.
Gotta have it! No other way to scrape those bowls.
The best way to juice a lime
This model is over 10 years old, but Oxo makes the easiest-to-use and probably safest mandolins (with its well designed hand guard) for home cooks. Dial your thickness. Slices and juliennes.
Just the thing for making guacamole. Look for them in supermarkets specializing in Mexican ingredients.
Marble mortar and pestle
Looks beautiful on the counter and feels great in the hand; Sur La Table sells a nice one. Essential for grinding spices.
Nesting dry measuring cups
I reach for these constantly. Simple and streamlined.
Oxo garlic press
The most efficient one I've found: great torque, and it has rubber thingies that unclog the holes.
Fine Microplane grater
Perfect for grating a mountain of Parmesan in a jiffy. Also great for citrus zest.
Suisin inox gyutou (chef's knife)
Simply the best knife I've ever owned. Somehow it stays sharp forever, it's well balanced and comfortable in the hand – and it's an amazing knife for the price: about $112 at korin.com.
Yeah, I know – seems rather specialized. But there's nothing like it for lifting delicate fillets from a hot pan.
Atlas manual pasta maker
I've had this baby, which clamps to a counter, more than 30 years. It's simple and fun to use – a classic.
Small Peugeot pepper grinder
Peugeot makes some of the best grinding mechanisms in the world, and their grinders come with a lifetime warrantee. I use the small one for white pepper.
Tall Peugeot pepper grinder
I keep mine filled with black pepper. Peugeot makes some of the best grinding mechanisms in the world, and they come with a lifetime warrantee. When my last grinder quit, Sur La Table, where I'd bought it, replaced it no questions asked.