Find really, really good and sharp knives. Spend as much as you can afford. I frequent discount stores like Homegoods, T.J Maxx and Marshall's searching for good deals on professional knives.
Never, never, ever put them in the dishwasher and as I have recently learned, don't let them lay around in a drawer, beating each other up. A restaurant supply store sells magnetic knife holders. I got mine for Christmas and still wonder how I ever survived without it! I love it SO much, I bought one for the church kitchen, as well.
Isn't it nifty?A microplane can do the duty of several gadgets. It can zest citrus, grate nutmeg, fresh garlic and hard cheeses, such as Parmesan.
Silicone spatulas can scrape cake batter out of a bowl and also be used in a non-stick pan to make an omelet. They generally withstand heat up to 500 degrees without melting.
I will not go back to the old, melty plastic ones.
A nice rolling pin. Get one that is a solid piece of wood. It can be used to roll out various types of dough, biscuits or shortbread and pie crusts, but also used to pound out a chicken breast or piece of veal (wrapped in plastic) to make a scallopini. If you are the owner of a refrigerator sans ice maker, it can also be used to crush ice by placing cubes in a gallon zipper bag and beating them with the pin.
I found a couple at our local Homegoods for around four dollars.
A nonstick skillet or saute pan is indispensable for everything from breakfast pancakes to midnight fritattas and everything in between with a minimum amount of clean-up. You could cook almost anything in it, if you had to.
I love flexible cutting boards. I have several wooden ones including one made of bamboo and an old one my dad made out of a scrap of wood from an old church pew. These bendy boards work well for saving your countertops, and for moving cut food from counter to stove or dish.