A kitchen requires only three knives: A chef’s knife with a blade that you keep sharp, a serrated bread knife, and a small paring knife that feels comfortable in your hand. The rest of the options might look nice, but I find they rarely get used. Like clothes you never wear, an excess of inessential knives (all tools, for that matter) usually just end up occupying valuble space and cause you to be unnecessarily indecisive.

The three tools you can never have too many of are cotton kitchen towels, wooden spoons, and paper towels.

A Microplane grater, which originated as a woodworking tool, is invaluable. It makes zesting citrus a breeze, turns Parmesan and other hard cheeses into the finest flakes, works as a nutmeg grater, and is excellent for creating flecks of chocolate. A sturdy pair of stainless-steel tongs is also invaluable. I like to think of them as an extension of my hand. Once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

If you really get into baking, a kitchen scale is useful.

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