We love cooking for big groups of our friends and loved ones, but there are a couple of ways to make it a whole lot easier. Clearing out your pantry, freeing up counter space, and getting rid of all that stuff jamming your utensil drawer will make cooking up Friendsgiving feasts and frittata-filled brunches a lot more manageable. You might be surprised at how much clutter you’ve accumulated over the years, but once you get rid of the items on this list, you’ll have the space you need to spread your culinary wings.
1. Analog thermometer
We’re not saying that you don’t need a candy thermometer or a meat thermometer in your kitchen, but you’ve got to keep up with the changing times. Toss your old thermometer, and exchange it for a digital probe thermometer. They’re incredibly accurate, especially compared to the old analog kind, and cheaper models are about the same price. After churning out perfect roasts and never burning your caramel again, you’ll be thankful you made the switch.
2. Egg separator
Face it — you don’t need a special tool to separate eggs. You can use the egg shell itself or your fingers to do the job. So save the space in your utensil drawer for the items you actually need.
3. Garlic peeler
Peel garlic one clove at a time by smashing it with the flat side of your chef’s knife (or smash several at once with a large can of tomatoes), or put a whole head of garlic between two metal bowls and shake vigorously to loosen all the peels. But don’t bother with a specific garlic-peeling tool — at the end of the day, it just takes up space and time.
4. Bread machine
You just don’t need a bread machine. Don’t like kneading? Blitz your dough in the food processor for a minute (trust us; it works!) or opt for a no-knead bread recipe. Let the dough rise in a oiled bowl covered in plastic wrap. And you can bake your bread in a regular loaf pan, or in a covered, pre-heated Dutch oven, to mimic bakery conditions. What you don’t need is an enormous, single-use appliance taking up space in your kitchen, especially since bread made the old-fashioned way just tastes better.
5. Pastry cutter
Having a pastry cutter in your utensil drawer is as irresponsible as leaving loose knives in there (and you don’t leave your knives loose in drawers, right?). All it does is threaten your fingers and get tangled up with your other cooking implements. Luckily, mimicking the actions of a pastry cutter is simple — just use two butter knives, your fingers, or a food processor to blend flour and fat when baking.
6. Baby food maker
Cook and mash. That’s all a baby food maker does, and you can do that on your own, without dedicating the counterspace to one machine. Steam, boil, roast, or microwave, and mash, blend, or process.
7. Panini press
Wrap your sandwich in foil. Put it on a preheated pan, put a plate on top, and weigh it down with a couple of heavy cans. Flip it once so it heats up evenly. Isn’t that so much easier than lugging out an enormous, heavy panini press every time you want a sandwich?
8. Glass cutting boards
Glass cutting boards will ruin your knives, full-stop. They’re also dangerously slippery, making your food skid as you slice and chop it. Get rid of them ASAP, and opt for sanitary, blade-friendly plastic instead.