I love kitchen tools and gadgets! I’ve almost purchased an entire Williams Sonoma store for myself. However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that most of them are completely unnecessary. If you read my history, you know that I came across the idea for Constrained Gourmet when I spent a summer on the beach. To say that I was lacking kitchen tools was an understatement! We rented a shack on the beach and I didn’t have much of a kitchen, much less any kitchen tools. But, I made amazing gourmet meals by being creative.

Tips and tricks for cooking gourmet when lacking kitchen tools:

  1. Purchase a basic set of kitchen tools. You can substitute so many kitchen tools with another or get to the end result by using something else. Don’t ever believe that you need all the tools that someone is selling to cook gourmet.
  2. Be creative. Don’t have a paint brush for olive oil on crostini? Use a ziploc bag. Don’t have a Kitchen Aid for dough? Knead it yourself. There are usually many ways to accomplish a recipe, even if you don’t have the kitchen tool they suggest using.
  3. Use what you have. If you’ve ever been camping, you know that your camp site will have a firepit. You can make amazing gourmet meals on a firepit only. Think about what you want to make, then modify the recipe to that tool. I’ve made great grilled bread, pizza, eggs, and even desserts on the campfire.
  4. Switch up how you use ovens and stovetops. When we were moving, I wanted to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches one night. Now, everyone immediately thinks to use the stovetop and butter the bread, turning it when the first side is brown. However, I had packed all my skillets. But, I had a sheet pan. So, in went the bread into the oven to brown. Once it was browned, I turned it and melted the cheese on the bread in the broiler. I took it out, added the ham and pickles and it was the best baked ham and cheese sandwich in the world.
  5. Have good knives. Don’t skimp on your knives. Cheap or dull knives can actually be dangerous. Even if you just have one knife, get the best and use if for everything.
  6. Grill. You’ve got a grill and you just look at it? No, no, no. Grills are the best resource for a gourmet because you can do almost everything on it, including braising beans, without needing any extra kitchen tools. It’s a great underutilized resource that can save you a lot of money.
  7. Have you used it in the past year? If not, consider boxing it up and putting it in storage, selling it at a garage sale, or donating it to the Salvation Army.

Tell me about your cooking constraints and challenges. I’d love to help!

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