Pots and pans. Knives and spoons. Bowls, whisks, sieves...everyone has these in their kitchen, even people who don't cook. But, what about the fun stuff? What did you see someone use on "Chopped" that you decided you *had* to have? And, better question: do you actually use them? Here are some things that I own that I know most people don't have (or think they need, for that matter).
Meat Grinder - I bought a hand-operated one, and ended up breaking it by trying too hard to tighten the parts. Grinding meat by hand is a pain anyway: besides being labor-intensive, it takes so long that the meat warms up and becomes progressively harder to grind without smearing. The one I bought to replace it is superb, and not that much more expensive ($60 vs $40):
Vacuum Sealer - This sat for a few months before I finally used it; I had some vague idea of using with a sous vide machine (which I don't own...yet). But, I've found this indispensable when making sausage (portion it, vacuum seal it, freeze what I don't need for now). I also frequently use it to season meats before cooking (put all the goodies in a bag with the meat, let it rest, then cut open later and enjoy the deep flavors). The one I got was $100, but it's been marked down to half that:
Ricer - I realize that this isn't exactly exotic, but not many people I know own one. I've mostly used it when making gnocchi, but occasionally find other uses (like squeezing water out of watery vegetables).
Brulee Torch - Not particularly expensive, but I'm the only one I know who owns one. I've mostly just used this for Creme Brulee (of course), but I've also used it to quick roast/blacken the skin of peppers when I didn't feel like firing up the grill.
Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker - I bought this for ultra cheap on eBay, minus the freezer bowl (which cost $20). I use it entirely for churning the ice cream, but that alone makes it indispensable:
Spiralizer - The most underutilized tool in my kitchen. I bought it because...well...I *needed* it. I tried twirling some vegetables, just as a test, but I really do need to get going and start using it.
Gnocchi Roller - My wife bought me this, and I have used it when I feel like putting the characteristic grooves on my gnocchi. But, usually, I'm not thinking about presentation, so I skip it.
THINGS I HAVE THAT I'M NOT COUNTING FOR THIS LIST: mandoline, pressure cooker, quail egg scissors (a quail egg PEELER would have been useful, however)
WISH LIST: 1) Sous vide machine; 2) mortar and pestle; 3) salamander (no...I'm not kidding; I *need* one of these!)
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