From a 1970s food processor to a small but mighty microplane, these are the tools they reach for again and again.
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Box Grater and Microplane
Credit: Lennart Weibull

Looking for ways to become a more confident cook at home? Our food editors are here to help. Each week, we're shining a spotlight on the exciting things happening in the Martha Stewart test kitchen. Our editors will share their best cooking tips, favorite products, new ideas, and more in our weekly series, Out of the Kitchen.

Maybe you have a KitchenAid stand mixer you received for a special birthday or anniversary. Perhaps you treasure a set of copper pots and pans that have been passed down by multiple generations. Or maybe you just find yourself reaching for the same rubber spatula when baking. No matter the value or history behind an item, everyone has a must-have, prized kitchen tool—including our food editors.

For deputy food editor Greg Lofts, it's his grandmother's bright yellow Cuisinart food processor from the 1970s. "She passed away (too young from cancer) when I was still in college and, since I was the budding cook in the family, mom gave the processor to me. It's slightly smaller than their standard model today, and best of all, the feeding tube is in the front of the machine instead of the back, so it's easier to see what you're doing when you feed ingredients in while the machine is running," he says. And even after 50 years, the machine hasn't faltered a bit. "Grandma Crunchy's blade from four decades ago is still razor sharp and that motor hasn't slowed down even a skosh," he adds.

Assistant food editor Riley Wofford and I rely heavily a Microplane grater ($14.95,, a tool Riley calls small but mighty. "I use it pretty much every day, usually to grate lemon zest or Parmesan cheese. And I almost always use it to grate garlic and ginger instead of mincing (which prevents getting both a knife and a cutting board dirty)," she adds.

Another inexpensive but essential kitchen tool—and one that food director Sarah Carey reaches for—is a spider. No, not the insect but rather a mesh slotted spoon. "This mesh-like sieve is the best at scooping food out of boiling water (think ravioli or blanched vegetables), as well as gently lowering eggs into boiling water. It has a much larger surface area than a slotted spoon so it's far more efficient, says Sarah.

Sarah and senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell came to share a mutual love of the Field Skillet ($75, "It has a smooth, nonstick surface. The cast iron is a great heat conductor but is more lightweight than traditional pans," says Sarah.

So, take care of your prized kitchen tools—they'll serve you well now, and maybe even loved ones in the future.


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