What does your kitchen need to look and function like a cuisine (that’s French for kitchen)?
Well the French will swear to the fact that they’ve been cooking with only forks, knives, spoons, and bowls for hundreds of years now, but there are a few tricks.
Here are 5 tools that instantly French-ify your cooking space:
1. French Cast Iron
Cast iron has become almost synonymous with the French kitchen ever since Le Creuset debuted their classic cast iron cookware in 1925. Enameled cast-iron pots are near perfect for those long-roast French dishes or casseroles and I’ve never cooked a steak as well as I have in the oven with a cast-iron skillet.
Le Creuset can get a little pricey, so I try to skim the flash sale websites for my next purchase: RueLaLa and Hautelook both run Le Creuset cast iron cookware regularly with discounts of anywhere from $50-100 off retail pricing.
“Good equipment which will last for years does not seem outrageously expensive when you realize that a big, enamled-iron casserole costs no more that a 6-rib roast…”
– Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2. Wooden Spoons
The French are far less gadget-y than us americans, so most of the whipping and stirring is done by hand. The wooden spoon is not only iconic, but also just seems to give the food that extra taste of love.
3. Kitchen Scale
You want to cook all these European recipes, but the ingredient quantities are written in… grams? Do yourself a favor and get an electric kitchen scale – it will allow you to reproduce French recipes with greater accuracy (and authenticity) than those conversion tables.
This is a fun one!
Literally meaning “Chinese” in French, a Chinoise is a very fine mesh conical strainer that serves many useful purposes.
How do the French produce such creamy custards? They filter them through a Chinoise. The rich velvety texture from your soups and bisques? Same deal.
A Chinoise also doubles as a duster for powdered sugar. The fine powder looks just lovely on about any dessert.
A madeleine pan is just something you’ve got to have. You can make madeleine cookies in any form, but the iconic shell shape just screams “French kitchen.”
Even if you don’t make madeleines, these pans make beautiful displays and only run about 20 bucks.
Often one of the best (and cheapest!) ways to French-ify a space is to start by eliminating the items that the French rarely use:
Ditch… your tupperware (the French usually store fresh ingredients)
Ditch… your white bread (just try finding wonderbread in Paris)
Ditch… your pantry snacks (the French don’t really snack)
What are some of your favorite kitchen tools? Your least favorite? Let me know in the comments!