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Why Zest Without a Microplane?

The latest dispatch from Eater’s shopping newsletter, Add to Cart

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This post originally appeared on April 21, 2020, in Add to Cart — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.


While I have certain kitchen tools I like, as anyone who’s read this newsletter knows (hello, serrated paring knife), I never took myself to be too persnickety about them.

Except, well, turns out I am. Like a few other New Yorkers, my husband and I (somewhat shamefully) absconded to the suburbs a few weeks ago to avoid being quarantined in our small apartment. We immediately took over my parents’ kitchen, enthusiastically preparing family dinners and taking on baking projects while luxuriating in the abundance of counter space. But as we plumbed the depths of the cabinets and drawers, we quickly realized that there are certain key tools my parents’ kitchen lacks. It seems we are pretty persnickety about our tools.

So we’ve slowly, subtly, been ordering our “essentials” to round out my mom’s collection. (Whether she’ll use any of them when we leave is another story.) Below are the items that have shown up on my parents’ doorstep these past few weeks.

Things to buy

  • Zesting lemons is always a little annoying, but with a crappy zester it’s insufferable. We discovered my parents don’t own a capital-M Microplane, which we remedied immediately.
  • My husband’s best cooking companion is the Javelin digital meat thermometer, which he uses not only for meat but for fish, baking, and more. Needless to say, my mom has traditionally relied more on intuition.
  • Endless pots and pans and not a pretty Dutch oven among them. We fixed that too, though we went with the trusty and more affordable Lodge 4.5-quart Dutch oven rather than a fancier brand.
  • Still on a baking sprint, my husband has decided the kitchen needs “measuring cups and spoons that aren’t from the 1980s,” aka are not plastic and clunky. The next order will probably be a set of our copper Crate and Barrel measuring spoons — easy to read, easy to wash, nice to hold.
Hay Enamel Tray

Things to know

  • For all the MoMA Store fans out there: Hay is having a kitchen and dining sale, meaning all the colorful, statement-making dishes and pitchers and salt and pepper grinders you love are on sale. This enamel speckled tray is irresistible.
  • It’s nice to have your reliance on basic canned goods validated, as this Strategist list of 52 canned goods that chefs swear by does.
  • I must admit I’d never heard of Squirt soda until recently, but now I’m really, really craving a Squirtarita.

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