We spend a healthy chunk of our lives in the kitchen. Whether we’re pouring a glass of wine after a trying day, catching up with friends and family over a dish of Grandma’s lasagna or cleaning up sticky messes from a weekend bake with the kids, the kitchen is a universal area of joy and disappointment. Despite how you’re feeling from one day to the next, your kitchenware should never be a source of disappointment; your cast iron pan should only bring you happiness when you look at it or hold it in your hand. A kitchen should be filled with long-lasting, durable products that withstand rigorous daily use and are robust enough to pass on to the next generation. Whether you are an amateur cook or professional baker, we at BuyMeOnce feel these products will serve you (and your children) for many years to come. Buy these items once and you’ll never buy them again.
Words: Amanda Saxby
For our best cooking essentials, continue reading. If baking is more your thing, click here to skip to our favourite baking essentials.
A Classic Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron is one of the toughest and best materials available: it’s durable, retains heat, boosts your iron intake and provides you with a safe non-stick surface for your cooking. Cast iron pans are also exceptionally versatile, meeting all of your sauteing, frying, baking, broiling and roasting needs. Solidteknics have engineered one of the best cast iron pans on the market. The pan is completely composed of metal -- no rivets, no synthetic non-stick, only ergonomically designed brilliance, which means there is less of a chance it will break. If I haven’t convinced you yet, you should also know that they’re a snap to clean. Solidteknics also backs all of their cast iron products with a multi-century warranty, meaning you’ll be set for your lifetime, your kid’s lifetime, and your grandkid’s lifetime!
A Set of Hardy Cooking Pots
There’s a reason your grandmother swears by this pot. Le Creuset have long been a household name for long-lasting cookware; in fact, they were an inspiration behind the entire BuyMeOnce movement. While that seems like a lot of pressure to put on one casserole dish, we assure you Le Creuset can handle it! Not only will your pot come with Le Creuset’s lifetime guarantee and the same cast iron benefits as a Solidteknics pan, it also presents beautifully on a table. Whether you’re serving up a Christmas bird or a simple Sunday stew, your trusty Le Creuset pot will see it through to the very end.
While the Creuset roasts your bird to succulent, fall-apart tenderness, you’re going to need a set of pots to cook the accompaniments to your holiday feast. All-Clad makes an excellent line of high quality stainless steel saucepots and pans that would look right at home next their cast iron pals. Designed to keep up with professional chefs, the pots in All-Clad’s Master Chef line are built to last, USA-made and feature three-ply bonded construction. Their stainless steel cookware also comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you can rest easy knowing every festivity is covered. Just be sure to set a timer!
A Sturdy Cutting Board
An elegant chopping board can spruce up the most dismal kitchen countertop. J.K. Adams is a family-owned business producing high quality kitchenware in Dorset, Vermont; they’ve been designing and carving their signature cutting boards for over 70 years. J.K. Adams ensures that their solid wood cutting boards are thick, built to last a lifetime and protected by a lifetime guarantee. Each wooden cutting board is unique and can be custom engraved or designed, making it the perfect wedding or housewarming gift.
BuyMeOnce Tip: A wooden cutting board should last a lifetime if proper care is taken with its maintenance. Never submerge a wooden cutting board in a sink of water or place it in the dishwasher; instead, wipe down a cutting board with a soapy cloth, rinse and pat dry with a clean towel. You can further preserve the longevity of a wooden board by moisturising it with a beeswax-based cutting board cream after washing. You can also make your own cream to further reduce waste!
A Dynamic Blender
Blenders are extremely useful, multifunctional kitchen tools. With a powerful blender in your arsenal, you can make anything from a simple morning berry smoothie to a summery gazpacho to a chocolate hazelnut pie (yes, I did say pie). To make sure all of those leafy greens get liquidised, BuyMeOnce recommends Blendtec. Their Total Blender popularised the YouTube “Will it Blend” campaign, which demonstrates the Total’s capacity to crush just about anything. Not only do Blendtec offer one of the toughest blenders on the market, but they’re also the only company to provide an 8-year warranty on their products. With a BPA-free unbreakable jug, an industrial strength base and a 1560 Watt motor, the Total Blender should keep humming for years to come.
Heroic Cooking Utensils
“A hero is only as good as his weapon,” says Disney. I would like to amend this to “A cook is only as good as his utensils.” While a perfectly balanced knife is a chef’s most essential tool, there are many other components that make up a kitchen toolkit. Every day I use either a slotted turner, soup ladle, solid serving spoon or slotted spoon to make a meal, and I bet you’re the same. Just like their cooking pots, All-Clad's 6-piece Kitchen Tool Set has passed the test of professional chefs. This solid and durable set is made of heavy 18/10 stainless steel polished to a mirror finish, is dishwasher safe and carries a lifetime warranty. Trust me, get a solid set of utensils and you’ll be a hero (in the kitchen) for life.
A Tough Set of Strainers
While a strainer may not seem like a kitchen essential, I assure you owning a quality set of mesh colanders will make your life much easier. How many times have you rinsed quinoa or rice and ended up losing half of it down the drain because the holes of your colander were too large? Have you burned yourself draining pasta because your strainer’s handle was too flimsy or bent? How often have you had to extract cement-like mashed potato from the open underwire of your colander? LiveFresh has set out to make these common strainer struggles a thing of the past. This set of three different-sized mesh colanders offers super fine wire mesh, heat-resistant handles, rubberized grips and sealed stainless steel rims. These colanders are so dependable and well-crafted that LiveFresh backs them with a lifetime warranty. Never flush another grain or pry another potato!
A Technologically Advanced Grater
My family has owned the same box grater for over 60 years. The 5-sided tool was presented to my grandparents on their wedding day; they then passed it down to my mother and father as part of a housewarming gift. It still possesses the same sharp edge it had in 1948. While the manufacturers of my family’s box grater have long gone out of business (boo!), I have found a suitable 21st century alternative in Cuisipro's 6-sided Box Grater. The brand’s exclusive Surface Glide Technology makes this grater one of the best on the market -- the blades are composed of evenly spaced, repeated grooves which reduce resistance and provide a longer cutting surface. Cuisipro’s technology makes the grater safer, easier to use and yields maximum gratings per stroke. Along with seven different blades for various grating needs, the unit also comes with a non-slip handle, a removable base for easy cleaning and a dry measure gauge. A generous 25-year warranty comes with the grater to make sure it lasts well past your silver anniversary.
Stylish Salt & Pepper Mills
Salt and pepper is a staple of any well-stocked kitchen and freshly ground is best. A set of sturdy, reliable salt and pepper mills will last you a lifetime of seasoning, which is why we at BuyMeOnce recommend Peugeot's Bistro Light Wood Salt and Pepper Mills. The pepper mill has a case-hardened steel mechanism -- a process by which the surface layer of metal is made considerably harder than the metal underneath. Case-hardening makes the interior grinding head and ring as tough as a ball bearing and keeps the mechanism sharp over a longer period of time. Similarly, the salt mill mechanism is made from commercial grade stainless steel to keep the salt from corroding the gear, giving it a longer life. These classic wooden grinders look timeless and are backed by a lifetime guarantee.
BuyMeOnce Tip: To keep your salt and pepper mills in tip top shape, we recommend the following:
Never submerge your mills in water. The mechanisms may rust and the wood will crack and neither of these issues are covered under warranty.
Don’t over-tighten the top nut. Doing so may cause the internal mechanism to wear out.
Old peppercorns go soft and moldy, and old salt can harden into a block. Always remove peppercorns or rock salt from the mills if you don’t intend to use them for a long period of time.
- Watch the size of your rock salt and peppercorns. 6mm in diameter is the maximum size of spice a mill can handle. If you aren’t getting any pepper out of your mill, it’s likely your peppercorns are too large.
A Darling Set of Crockery
You’ve spent an hour preparing a flavourful, healthy meal for your family and now you’re ready to plate it. You take a plate from the cupboard, arrange your meal and, with an overzealous flourish, pass it to your child. He promptly drops it to the floor, shattering your plate into porcelain shards. It’s happened to all of us. From removing a bowl from the dishwasher and knocking it against the counter to chipping your favourite mug, it’s inevitable that crockery is going to break. Corelle crockery may not come with a lifetime guarantee, but they are built to last. Made from resilient and lightweight Vitrelle glass (the same material once used for television screens), these dishes are scratch- and stain-resistant and considerably more durable than their porcelain competitors. Corelle’s products are USA-made and dishwasher, refrigerator and pre-heated oven safe. This particular 18-piece set includes six each of dinner plates, bread plates and soup bowls and comes in a classic frost white.
Whether you’re sleepily spooning cereal into your mouth on a Monday morning, slathering a slice of whole wheat bread with mayonnaise or diving fork-first into your mom’s triple chocolate cake, you’re going to need a sturdy set of cutlery with which to do it. It’s no wonder we chose Liberty Tabletop as our top pick for table settings. Liberty flatware is formed from the highest grade 18/10 stainless steel and designed with weight and balance in mind. Furthermore, the company champions the environment; Liberty has a responsible environmental policy encompassing non-toxic chemical and oils, renewable hydroelectric power, recyclable packaging and locally-based manufacturing. American made, built to last and secured with a 25-year warranty, you can expect a Liberty Tabletop cutlery set to last well past your great-granddaughter’s 30th wedding anniversary.
In a perfect world, dropped drinking glasses would bounce off of the ceramic tiled kitchen floor and into your hand in pristine condition. Unfortunately, reality tends to shatter these illusions. We can’t tally the number of glasses we’ve broken between us here at BuyMeOnce, but we can count how many brands we would choose to replace them. Italian glassware manufacturer Luigi Bormioli is one of the highest regarded international glassmakers. They are committed to providing glassware of the finest quality and durability; their signature SON.hyx glass ensures each of their lines are highly resistant to breakage, dishwasher safe, eco-friendly and will retain their transparency despite vigorous washing. Luigi Bormioli’s designs are simple, elegant and timeless, making them perfect for everyday use as well as for celebrations.
A Snazzy Set of ScalesA fantastic set of kitchen scales is essential for any professional or amateur baker. Baking is as much a science as it is a creative act; if you don’t measure your ingredients properly, that sponge cake you’re baking may resemble a pancake. Taylor Precision is our go-to brand for digital and mechanical kitchen scales. Established in 1851, Taylor Instruments grew into a formidable empire by supplying North America with professional precision measurement tools. As a multi-century manufacturer and supplier of kitchen scales, you can be sure Taylor Precision knows their stuff. BuyMeOnce recommends Taylor’s Stainless Steel Kitchen Scale. We chose a mechanical scale over digital because they are proven to last longer and don’t require wasteful, single-use batteries. The stainless steel scale comes with an 11-pound capacity bowl, a 5-inch diameter dial for easy reading and a 5-year guarantee.
An Award-Winning Stand Mixer
If you’re going to buy one pricey piece of kitchen equipment that will last the rest of your life, let it be a stand mixer. Stand mixers are brilliant tools. Not only are they perfect for whisking up any dessert you fancy, many mixer companies now sell a range of attachments to turn your humble friend into a ten- or twelve-function super machine. Now you can own a pasta maker, a meat grinder, a spiralizer, and a food processor without shelling out hundreds of extra pounds. But with so many different stand mixers available, it can be difficult to decide which one to get. Thankfully, BuyMeOnce has done the homework for you. The Ankarsrum Assistent Original is the only food mixer you will ever need. In terms of longevity, power, ease of use, multifunctionality and classic design, this Swedish mixer beat out the likes of KitchenAid, Kenwood and Bosch! That is some serious competition.
The Assistent first appeared on the market in 1940 amidst the chaos of the Second World War when families were reviewing expenses and preserving more homemade goods than ever before. This machine provided a durable, reliable solution to this problem, allowing families to produce and store more food during a time of crisis. Over the years, the Assistent has been voted “best in test” on various occasions, and Ankarsrum is the only food mixer company to offer a 5-year warranty on their appliance. (The other companies provide a 1-year limited guarantee.) The mixer is made from chrome and steel and boasts an 800-watt motor, which is located underneath the bowl. This unique design is what gives the Assistent the edge in power and longevity over its competitors. By using the motor to turn the bowl instead of the paddle, it allows an even distribution of power and results in a longer-lasting product. Like a KitchenAid mixer, the Assistent is available in a myriad of colours. It comes with a dough roller and hook, scraper, proofing lid, double beater, cookie and balloon whisks, a 3.5 litre plastic bowl and a 7 litre stainless steel mixing bowl. Various extra attachments are available for purchase separately.
Video: You can view the Ankarsrum Assistent’s powerful motor and superior mixing ability here.
A Brawny Set of Bowls
Mixing bowls are so versatile. You can toss a salad in them, spoon cookie dough from them, melt chocolate in them, store last night’s soup in them and bring them on a picnic. Whatever you choose to do with them, you better make sure you have a robust, durable set in your arsenal. I recommend glass bowls. Stainless steel bowls are fantastic and unbreakable, but you can’t microwave them, use them over a bain-marie nor see how high your dough has proofed at a glance. Pyrex uses tempered soda-lime glass for all of their kitchenware. This type of glass is most often used in windows and containers because it is hard and reasonably workable. It can be melted down and reformed several times, which makes it ideal for recycling. Pyrex’s Smart Essentials 8-piece Mixing Bowl Set is USA-made, durable, oven, microwave, fridge, freezer and dishwasher safe and protected by a 2-year guarantee. Mix to combine with confidence.
A Whippy Whisk
Even if you have a stand mixer, it’s always great to have a good old-fashioned wire whisk on hand. You know, for those days when you don’t want to drag out the mixer for a batch of pancakes or to whisk up some scrambled eggs for dinner. Cuisipro's Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk is our recommendation. Its flexible wires are attached at the handle with a watertight seal, making this whisk perfect for small-batch mixing, beating, whipping and whisking. Like all of their products, this sturdy 18/10 stainless steel whisk is backed by Cuisipro’s 25-year warranty and is dishwasher safe.
A Solid Wooden Spoon and Spatula
Before they had electric mixers, hand whisks and food processors, they had the wooden spoon. This simple tool has been used by professional and home bakers for centuries, and it doesn’t appear to be going out of fashion any time soon. Whether you’re checking the consistency of jam on the back of it or stirring chocolate chips into cookie dough, a wooden spoon will serve you well for years to come. Bambu makes a durable, lightweight organic bamboo spoon that is naturally stain-resistant and anti-microbial. Perfect for curries or raspberry jam!
A lightweight, flexible spatula is a welcome addition to any baker’s kit. Spatulas come in handy for a multitude of tasks. From folding fluffy egg whites into batter to scraping every last drop of caramel sauce out of the pan, this gadget makes sure you stick to your zero waste pledge! GIR's Ultimate Spatula is the best in show. Its ergonomic handle and strong blade make it easy to manipulate food and batters. This spatula is heat resistant, dishwasher safe, BPA/BPS free, comes in a wide array of colours and is backed by a lifetime guarantee. Sturdy, sustainable, no-waste tools; you can’t do any better.
The Ultimate Baking Pans
You’ve weighed your ingredients and you’ve mixed your batter. The oven is warm and you’re drooling in anticipation of eating your moist cinnamon coffee cake. But first, it needs to bake. Any serious baker knows you need a quality set of baking tins if you intend on producing well formed, perfectly baked treats. USA Pan has been creating quality cookware and bakeware for over 50 years. Their products set the standard for commercial quality bakeware and are trusted by professional bakers across the country. USA Pan constructs their pans from 65% recycled aluminized steel, which makes the pans highly durable and offers superior heat transfer and rust-resistance. The pans are also corrugated for strength and impact protection, and they’re coated with the company’s trademark Americoat Plus, a safe and eco-friendly silicone release coating. USA Pan provides a limited lifetime warranty on all of their bakeware as well -- just in case you happen to maul it eating your cake hot out of the pan.
We chose to leave knives out of this article not because we think they're inessential, but because we are aware of exactly how essential they are to a well-stocked, long-lasting kitchen. There are so many durable knives on the market -- Henckles, Global, Wusthof and Robert Welch, to name a few -- we felt the BuyMeOnce Kitchen Knife deserved its own article. We will be performing a comprehensive in-house test of some of the leading knife brands to guide you in the process of choosing the best and most sustainable kitchen knife. Keep an eye on this space!
This is the first article in a series written to help you live more consciously and produce less waste in the kitchen. We hope this detailed guide to building your own BuyMeOnce kitchen helped smooth out any questions or concerns you may have had about sustainable kitchenware. Let us know the kitchen products you’re proud of and wish to share! Share your suggestions with us on Facebook or Twitter -- we’re always looking for new BuyMeOnce products!