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Confessions of a Shopper & 15 (non-grocery) Recommendations for the Cook

I have a confession to make.

One outcome of the Corona Shutdown is a new awareness of my habits, especially my shopping habits. Placing orders online and doing grocery pick up narrows the scope of what goes into my cart and I am now painfully aware of how much time and money I’ve spent shopping as a pastime and hobby. I’m not proud to admit it and would hate to see a tally of all the money I’ve spent just to entertain myself- complete honesty here.

Nonetheless, without the ability to pop into Marshalls, Target, or a grocery store, I’ve managed to do a fair bit of shopping on Amazon. Here is a peek at all the things I’ve bought while on lockdown:

  • Books- Kindle version and regular books
  • Pdf downloads of counseling resources for my students and myself as we navigate the world of online caretaking
  • Computer programs and memberships- Screencastify, Loom, and various memberships
  • Clothes- soft and comfy- two maxi skirts in tshirt fabric, wool joggers, new underwear, and new bras. There may be more on the way (wink, wink) and, am I alone in forgetting what I’ve ordered?
  • Magnetic false eyelashes- these haven’t arrived yet and they may be returned- lol!
  • Gadgets and everyday household things like baking soda and powder, lemon oil furniture polish and  beauty products- eyebrow dye, curly hair potions, dog nail clippers

In spite of the confession offered here, I wonder if maybe you need a little retail therapy, too? Or, like me, have you been ordering online and shopping from your phone all too much?

I’m listing and linking 15 of the little kitchen helpers I frequently recommend. (I am not an affiliate, so I get nothing from these recommendations.)  You may find something on the list that might make fun little gifts or be helpful in all of the extra cooking we are doing in this unusual timeframe. I think they are small indulgences that can make the task of cooking more enjoyable.

1. Garlic peeler– We use a lot of in Julie’s Table classes and using this little silicone tube makes peeling cloves quick and easy! 

2. Garlic press- A garlic press is indispensable for getting fresh garlic squeezed into recipes. I love this one from Oxo because it has a reversible cleanout setting.

3. Dough scraper–  This multipurpose metal tool for scraping up dough, cutting all kinds of things, transferring cookies from board to pan, etc. Also using a dough scraper to scoop up diced veggies will help preserve the sharp edge of your knives.

4. Stainless Steel Odor Remover Bar– After chopping, handling onions or garlic the smell lingers long on your fingers.  By using this magic stainless steel bar under running water the onion smell goes away- amazing!

5. Plastic scrapers- Similar to the dough scraper, but these are flexible, so they serve almost as an extension of your hand to scrape batter out of bowls, to scrape up vegetables from the chopping block, and more!

6. Kitchen twine– There are lots of uses for kitchen twine, but I use it most frequently when roasting a chicken or turkey.

7. Oxo silicone spatulas- I love these spatulas because they do everything from scraping batter in a bowl to scrambling eggs (heat proof!).

8. Mesh Dish rags – My dishwasher has stopped working so I’ve been washing dishes by hand multiple times a day. Even though I loved these rags before, they are my hero now! If you’re not doing a sink ful of dishes, you can squeeze a little soap onto the rag and get through several individual items quickly.

9.Digital scale – This version has a detachable, washable bowl. So convenient for parceling out any kind of food, and for weighing flour for baking.

10. Oxo pepper grinder- We’ve had many pepper grinders over the years, but this simple little grinder from Oxo has held up better than all of them.  Love fresh ground pepper!

11. Rolling Pastry cutter– I’ve always used this tool for making a lattice on pies and cobblers, but recently when I learned to make homemade pasta,I found a new use for it.

12. Oxo Pastry blender– A pastry blender is indispensable for making pie dough but also for combining ingredients for crumbles, biscuits, mashing fruits and more. 

13. Flexible cutting mats– I love my butcher block countertop and often chop right on it. But there are times I want to use a cutting board, whether to easily transfer ingredients to the stove, or just to contain the mess. I love these flexible mats for that purpose.

14. Mise en Place bowls- Some may think that this technique is only a gimmick used on the Food Network Channel, but developing the habit of working through a recipe and assembling ingredients before beginning to cook really does make the task easier. These little bowls are perfect for that!

15. Electric Knife Sharpener– A sharp knife is a safe knife and I recommend having an electric knife sharpener in your kitchen so you can keep your blades in tip top shape.

Let me know if you buy one of these and how you like it!