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10 Simple Kitchen Items I Invested in Now That I Have to Cook Three Meals a Day

I love eating delicious food. I love complex flavors and meals with depth and variety. Eating is one of my favorite things to do in life, however, I could never really get into cooking. In fact, cooking lands somewhere between a necessity, a chore, and a mystery to me.

Social distancing has changed all this! Being at home means I’m making everything from breakfast (no more croissants and coffee on the go!) to lunch (no more second cup of coffee and second croissant on the go!) to dinner. Hell, even DESSERT has to be made at home.

So I am embracing my kitchen, clumsily and with a little bit of resentment. Here’s a list of ten very basic kitchen items I finally buckled down and bought and DAMN have they made simple kitchen tasks even simpler!

Apple Cutter

Have I mentioned that I’m lazy? I used to be an on-the-go apple eater, but now that I’m home I want apple slices with almond butter every day (literally the best snack-do not argue with me). This item will save you MINUTES.

Vegetable Peeler

Do not – DO NOT – settle for a cheap vegetable peeler. Bad vegetable peelers will make you never want to eat a vegetable! Give yourself a break and get one that actually works.

Potato Masher

So many items on this list, this seemed frivolous to me! Like, just use a fork! But the truth is I’m way behind on any and all exercise and my arm gets tired after mashing for even a few minutes. I’m not trying to work up a sweat here, I’m trying to eat a fucking potato.

Aluminium Foil

Is this the holy grail of kitchen items?! I think it is!!

Spices That Haven’t Gone Bad

Did you know spices go bad? After only like three or four years! That’s not enough time for me! Because I don’t cook! Also I apparently kept all my spices in direct sunlight which I don’t think I’m supposed to do.

A Vitamix

Okay, this one is cheating a little because my partner petty-bought this since their ex stole their last one (shout out to their ex! I hope you’re reading this! Oh my partner and I? We’re doing great and had hot sex this afternoon, thanks for asking!). Every morning, I make a very mediocre smoothie in this Vitamix. Everyone tells me smoothies are easy: frozen fruit, yogurt, and a liquid of some sort but I have YET to make one that actually tastes good. This is my social distancing goal: make a smoothie that doesn’t suck.


This one seems obvious, right? Well apparently not all tupperware is microwavable, something I found out the hard way when I was microwaving honey only for it to leak and immediately solidify all over the microwave and countertop. Related: am I not supposed to microwave honey?

More Than Two Bowls

I live with my partner and they were always on about how we need more than two bowls. Irrational, I thought! There’s only two (2) of us, a bowl for you and a bowl for me! However, a week before social distancing took place I invited a few friends over. I made us soup (from a mix I bought at a local pop-up). I didn’t think the night through and after one friend ate soup out of a measuring cup I finally succumbed to my partner’s wishes and bought us more bowls. And I am admitting, right here for public record, that they were right and having more than two bowls has made our life better.

A Knife Set

I had a similar knife dilemma to my bowl dilemma: I had one knife and that was that! The rest: butter knives. Ends up, butter knives don’t do much and a single knife, if not taken care of, ends up pretty dull after seven years! Invest in your knives, people! Invest time and energy to care for them! Learn from my mistakes!

Bulk Sponges

Sponges are DISGUSTING. Literally so gross. And cooking three meals (and snacks) a day from home? It requires SO MANY DISHES!! I definitely had a breakdown about dishes a week after social distancing started. Anyways, having extra sponges on hand so I can replace a nasty sponge quickly has been a godsend.

BONUS: A Garlic Press

Garlic: not just for the vagina. Everyone in the world adds more garlic than the recipe calls for! It’s a universal truth! Make adding too much garlic a breeze with a garlic press!

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I'm a cartoonist living in Minneapolis. Co-Author and artist of A Quick And Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns. Author of Grease Bats, coming out Fall 2019 with Boom! Studios! If I'm not working I'm socializing. If I'm not out with friends I'm drawing. If I'm not doing any of those things I'm probably depressed. Support me using Patreon.

Archie has written 117 articles for us.


      • I legit just set up this account so I could tell you Archie: parchment paper is gonna BLOW YOUR MIND! it’s great and IMO far superior to foil. Never clean a pan again!

        • NICKEY ROBO I love that you could have just texted me this but instead made a profile on Autostraddle dot com to comment!! K I am including parchment paper in my next grocery order

          • If I put parchment paper over a plate when I ate dinner, would I not have to wash the plate after? 🧐

          • Archie, you can put parchment paper over a plate and you will not have to wash the plate afterwards.

            I remember back in the day, when there were restaurants… they’d put parchment paper in a straw basket and slap that down in front of you, then when you were finished, they’d dump the parchment paper in the garbage, shake out the basket and use it for the next person. Really those are my goals.

        • A thing about getting older is that the older you get, the easier it is to have random pantry things that you have had forever because you’re not paying attention

      • 2011… damn. Maybe I had some spices that old too… Oldest dated thing I found during the last purge was curry paste that had expired in 2014. But I cook a lot and use a lot of spices and these had just moved to the back of the cabinet. Also had spaghetti that expired 2017 but was fine to eat. I’m slowly getting to the end of my pre-pandamic pasta hoard.

  1. This filled me with the perfect combination of joy, hilarity and delight! Thank you for writing this, Archie!!

    About honey: you can microwave it, but *carefully*. Always microwave it for loads fewer seconds than you think it might need. E.g. if you have runny honey that has solidified/crystalised, microwaving makes it runny again. But if you look at the honey container and think ’10 seconds will fix that’, go for 3 seconds in the microwave and work from there!

    There is an exceptionally narrow margin of error between ‘ideal consistency of runny honey’ and ‘terrifying, molten honey-lava’…as it sounds like you found out.

  2. I love this! I used to cook a lot before this, but now I’m sort of regressed.

    As someone who wants their smoothies to hit like a milkshake, I always add a frozen banana to mine. Any time I’ve made a smoothie that wasn’t good, the culprit was either too much liquid (I like them thick!) or too many ingredients. My go-to is frozen banana, almond milk, pb, cocoa powder, and sometimes I’ll put protein powder or baby spinach (you won’t taste it). People like to add chia seeds, but I’m not about picking those out of my teeth for the next several hours.

  3. My ex once called apples and nut butter a “stalwart snack” and I will think of it that way forever.

    I have the opposite of the more-than-two-bowls problem. This morning I had a moment of thinking “damn, why do I own so many cups and glasses?” before remembering that I used to have friends over to share meals…

    • I can relate to this. I have a collection of Arabia Muumin cups and a very lazy girlfriend, which translates to me not finding a clean cup to serve my drinks and a dozen of dirty cups spread all over the apartment.

  4. I’m so glad you have all these things now! And that your future post-quarantine friend dinners won’t involve eating out of a measuring cup (though that does have a certain charm in a way).

    I’m remembering when we lived in the fourplex off 1st and the only thing you ever cooked was curry! Very rarely! And you had like four kinds of curry powder but no other spices really! Now I’m wondering how old all of those curry powders were lol.

  5. I laughed at the bowls because before moving back to my mom’s I owned two spoons. I always figured it was enough because I don’t have a lot of company. But I’m also bad at doing dishes so I spent a lot of time eating spoon foods (cereal, soup, applesauce) with either a fork (soup is liquid….it doesn’t stay on a fork) or a stirring spoon or a measuring spoon. Once I told a friend who was over they just had to slurp their dinner with their tongue (still single, btw) and that’s when I realized spoons are valuable and you need a few

  6. I’ve been buying new kitchen stuff slowly since November, and I actually have used all of them.

    Pie plates, Cast Iron skillet, Tawashi Scrubbing brushes, cheap but durable kitchen towels, Microplane, a couple of pyrex storage containers, citrus juicer, 13×9 cake pan, and a set of 3 strainers. I also got a really nice knife for Christmas that I promptly cut myself with because I’m not used to using a knife that sharp!

    After our last roommate moved out, I realized that we’re down a colander, so that’s probably next on the list. Also mixing bowls. I would like a blender or a food processor but I’m not sure I’m at the point yet where I would actually use either with regularity.

  7. lol this article is speaking to my heart! My partner is doing a lot of the cooking and my lack of supplies is baffling to them! So we are improving my kitchen lil bits at a time.

    I AM however the smoothie king in my house! So here’s my simple recipe for a smoothie that actually tastes good:
    Simple frozen fruit mix of
    (A couple extra berries don’t hurt but the mango is essential!)
    Add half pineapple juice, half vanilla flavored milk of your choice!
    Sometimes I add some greens too but when I really just want a treat that’s it! It’s the only delicious smoothie I make after many attempts at other combos. Lemme know if you like it!

  8. You don’t need all of the knives, but if you do get a chefs knife, don’t forget to get a sharpening steel! They are pretty easy to use and do a pretty good job.

    Personally I cannot use the peelers like pictured without peeling my fingers, I find the swivel peelers (if I’ve googled that correctly) so much easier.

    And if you eat a lot of tomatoes (like me) a tomato knife is great. I’ve bought one for like 60 cents and I’ve been using it for years and it’s still going strong.

      • I eat a lot of tomatoes?

        But seriously, even sharp knives tend to squish the tomatoes. No one wants squished tomatoes right? Tomato knives are very finely serrated and work perfectly. You can get those thin slices without having the skill of a chef. And considering it takes up less space than my butter knives, I’m a fan.

  9. as someone who recently caved and bought cutting boards because i was getting sick of the noise of the knife on my regular-ass plates this article speaks to me

    as someone who bakes all the g-ddamn time and has Every Kind Of Baking Chip kroger carries, how did you not own foil? what a chaotic life

  10. I love this article and I’m so excited for you! I’m trying to decide whether I need a cast iron skillet badly enough to ask it to be shipped to me in a pandemic and so far the answer is no, but Time Will Tell!

    Here’s my smoothie advice – color matters as well as taste! So, I try to keep like colors together (and Never smoothie berries and greens together, my number one smoothie rule):
    Greek yogurt, or a frozen banana or frozen mango all do good things for texture imo.
    Orange juice is key in my smoothie lexicon.
    I try to sneak in vegetables for example:
    Roasted beets with berries (mint or like an ounce of chocolate are good additions here)
    Roasted carrots with peach/pineapple/mango
    Spinach or kale with peach/pineapple/mango (red stuff and green stuff make a sad brown smoothie so no berries here)
    Kiwi and coconut milk! Go nuts and add an avocado! (No oj here, the coconut milk is the liquid!)
    Canned pumpkin with your fave spices, a little vanilla, and a frozen banana!

    I’m feeling inspired to go get MY Vitamix out now!

  11. My go-to smoothie is one large frozen banana, one tbsp of whatever nut butter I have on hand, chocolate protein powder, and almond milk. Tastes like ice cream.

  12. I REALLY love eating and I REALLY don’t enjoy cooking and I have to cook all the time now and it’s nice because EATING IS GREAT but hard because DISHES/COOKING and I just feel really seen, that’s all. Love you. Coveting your Vitamix! (I hear you can make soups in them? Like, fully heated and prepared soups?)

  13. One of my favorite smoothie recipes (tell me your thoughts!!)

    one half or whole banana
    1/4 cup whole rolled oats
    6 ice cubes
    pinch cinnamon
    pinch sea salt
    1 blop almond or peanut butter
    1 cup almond or cashew milk


    *To level up, an espresso shot does not hurt *

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