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The Little Product That Can Do Basically Everything

Okay, not everything — but bench scrapers are pretty awesome kitchen tools

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This post originally appeared on May 12, 2020, in Add to Cart — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.

I felt a little less alone in my cookware obsession last week when Twitter lit up with responses — positive and negative — to a tweet from Mindy Kaling: “I have a boring but important question. I need a new whole collection of pots and pans (like everything; a wok, griddle etc). Is there a brand that sells them all in a pack or box? I want this to be super easy! Thank you!”

Though Kaling ended up deleting the tweet (after getting heat for accepting an offer for freebies from Le Creuset — which she acknowledged by making a big charitable donation), she received many replies filled with cookware recommendations.

So which brands do people really like? There were many All-Clad mentions — unsurprising, given its favored status among professional chefs. A lot of Lodge recommendations rolled in, too, in response to Kaling’s ask for a griddle. Then there were the cookware startups: I was surprised by how many folks swore by Caraway, the newish brand whose selling points are poppy, millennial-friendly colors and a clever storage system. Less frequently mentioned but still recommended were GreenPan, Great Jones, and Equal Parts.

Learning about brands people love and discovering new ones is what this newsletter will always be about, even though next week will bring a change: Today is my last edition of Add to Cart, as I’m handing over the reins to editor Monica Burton.

Which is bittersweet for me, because I love writing this thing! Taking recs from my coworkers; learning about new designers and brands; being able to spotlight small businesses — it’s a joy and privilege to do every week. I’m obviously not going far: You can still find me online, if not in your inboxes, at and occasionally on Eater when I can sneak a byline in.

As the editor behind Eater’s shopping content, Monica’s got some of the most discerning eyes and excellent taste on the Eater team. She’ll dish out new product recs, in addition to stories about what we buy and why we buy it, in this space. I know you’ll love it.

Things to buy

  • One of the unsung tools of any professional kitchen is the bench scraper. As Sister Pie’s Lisa Ludwinski said on Eater’s Instagram Live today, “It’s not that fancy and it’s extremely versatile.” Use it for cutting dough, breaking down frozen butter, scraping up crumbs, and a million other little things.
  • Also on Instagram Live this week, Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman recommended a Scandinavian-style whisk, which has a small, rounded head that can get around the edges of your pots and pans.
  • For the cutesy crowd (I see y’all), these enamel food pins by New York-based illustrator Dingding Hu are a tiny delight.
  • There may be no better slogan to sum up this time in our lives: “This too shall pasta.” Get it on a pasta shirt.

Things to know

  • Face masks have quickly morphed from purely clinical equipment to everyday apparel, and with that comes all sorts of considerations, like: How does one drink to-go beverages while wearing a mask? (It may sound like a callous question, but I myself encountered the dilemma after buying a to-go iced latte and promptly struggling like an idiot.) Fast Company profiled one mask maker whose solution is a tiny flap, just big enough to poke a straw through.
  • I have pretty much zero to add to the Alison Roman-Chrissy Teigen kerfuffle from over the past few days. The one news-you-can-use (should you want to) nugget I’ll call out from Roman’s viral interview: “I have a collaboration coming out with [the cookware startup] Material, a capsule collection. It’s limited edition, a few tools that I designed that are based on tools that I use that aren’t in production anywhere — vintage spoons and very specific things that are one-offs that I found at antique markets that they have made for me.”
  • Also on the cookware startup front: Food publication Saveur now has its own line of cookware and bakeware, including stainless steel pots and pans, called Saveur Selects.
  • A followup to the Nancy Meyers kitchen photo from last week: this lovely, thoughtful consideration of fancy kitchens and what they represent, from Curbed.
  • Rob Pattinson’s relatable quarantine diet: “I’ll literally put Tabasco inside a tuna can and just eat it out of the can.”

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