Exciting news! We’ve launched MR Think Tank, a digital braintrust we want *you* to be part of. We’re kicking it off with a survey that will help us get to know you better, so we can keep making stuff you love. In exchange, you’ll receive exclusive content and other fun things. Interested? Sign up by taking the survey!
In the back of my journal, I’ve been keeping a list of everything that’s going to remind me of quarantine: Alison Roman’s shallot pasta, the opening music in Animal Crossing, and these Outdoor Voices shorts I’ve been wearing almost every day. That list also includes spicy margaritas—made with one part tequila, one part Cointreau, one part lime juice, and sliced jalapeño—which I’ve been making every Friday night.
My Friday cocktail hour is one of the best parts of my week—the sound of ice cubes shaking inside a Mason jar delivers instant end-of-the-week calm. But here’s the thing: One part lime juice is a lot of lime juice—like just as much lime juice as tequila!—and I dread squeezing limes. It’s worse than you think: My hands would end up raw and rashy (is a lime allergy a thing?), and I’d lose a considerable amount of juice down my arms. Suitably inspired, I started researching the best juice squeezer on the market. I was subsequently thrilled to discover a recommendation from none other than Bon Appetit’s Chris Morocco: the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer. Obviously, I ordered it immediately.
This nifty $20 juicer was everything I could have hoped for and! more! With barely any effort, lime halves are squeezed into cute lil’ flat discs, every drop of juice collected and ready to be mixed with tequila. I’ve also used it on lemons and plan to test it out with a small orange ASAP. The little utensil has single handedly taken my Friday night routine from perfect-once-I-get-these-damn-limes-juiced to consistently excellent start to finish.
In an effort to spread the word about my juicer—and potentially find something else new to try along the way—I asked the team to share their favorite kitchen utensil.
A steamer basket that won’t leave you with soggy, sad veggies
Recommended by: Jasmin
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? My mum actually bought this for me. At first I was like, “Surely just boiling your veg is fine enough?” But this actually makes it so much easier! Never over-boiled, and the clean-up is minimal!
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? I’ll usually steam broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc., while the main part of the meal is cooking (maybe some baked salmon), so when I’m ready to plate up, the veg is good to go. Recently I’ve also been tossing my vegetables in oil, salt, and lemon, too—not groundbreaking but definitely delicious.
Who would you recommend this item for? Someone with saucepans deep enough to fit a steamer basket and still close the lid.
A silicone baking mat that will save your sheet pan
Recommended by: Tiffany
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? This glossy mat nestles in the bottom of your baking tray and catches all the oily-sticky bits that would normally bake onto your sheet pan to form food rocks that need to be chiseled off—use this and you’ll never have to scrub your sheet pan again.
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? Mostly I roast veggies on it, but I’ve used it for everything from baking cookies to making pizza. Recently I’ve been baking tarts using it—this Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Tart from NYT Cooking was a good one.
Who would you recommend this item for? Do you love eating, but hate washing up? Use this! Hate waste? Use this to cut down on single-use baking parchment. Francophile? This silky mat was developed for French patisseries, so you can live your best Julie & Julia fantasies without leaving your home. (Stanley Tucci not included.)
The rounded-tip paring knife from this very good Wusthof set
Price: The set is $19.95
Recommended by: Leandra
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? I took this knife from my mom’s house one weekend two summers ago, I am pretty sure, after acknowledging how good it was at cutting shit: an apple, a slice of baguette from a loaf, and parmesan cheese from a pretty big block, all in an hour’s work.
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? Apparently I am supposed to be using it to peel, cut, and mince, but because the blade is so sharp and the knife is so light, I basically use it to cut everything from raw fish (and other forms of protein) to bread or onions–so while there is no one particular food that I love to make with it, the knife plays a role in basically everything that comes out of my kitchen. I am sure this is a gigantic faux pas (or as I like to call it, a fax piss), but I didn’t even know what a paring knife was before this, so I prefer to call it progress.
Who would you recommend this item for? Anyone who is aware they are in a bad relationship–cut that shit!
A microplane that makes zesting a breeeeeze
Recommended by: Elizabeth
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? Three weeks before I wrote this story, which goes into great detail about my love for it. I’d seen it on a NYT YouTube video of necessary pantry essentials. (Also, my mom has three.)
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? Basically everything, from sweet potatoes to yogurt to cake to sparkling water to garlic, which produces an aromatic, creamy garlic paste. I’ve also used it to grate chocolate over ice cream and nutmeg over a cocktail. Everything!
Who would you recommend this item for? Anyone who takes photos of their foods. But also, anyone who loves a citrusy burst in their dishes, snacks, desserts, and drinks.
A stainless steel tea kettle that will calm you the f— down
Recommended by: Mikaela
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? My family bought this tea kettle after moving to St. Louis 15 years ago—we were excited to match all our utensils to our fancy new kitchen, with stainless steel appliances. For the last three months, it’s been used about six times a day. I guess tea is our chosen coping mechanism.
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? Earl Grey tea with a splash of Coffeemate creamer
Who would you recommend this item for? It’s perfect for the dehydrated and H2O averse who must be coerced into drinking water. Try it scalding and steeped with plants; your pores will thank me.
A marble mortar and pestle perfect for smashed avocado lovers
Price: On sale for $23.95!
Recommended by: Marisa
When did you buy this and, most importantly, why? This was actually a housewarming gift from my mom a few apartments back. I love a homemade guacamole moment, and this set was the perfect tool for the task.
What’s your favorite thing to make with it? Any sort of smashed avocado. It’s also a great vehicle for mashing garlic, crushing spices for a homemade blend, or crafting pesto/aioli/chimichurri/the like.
Who would you recommend this item for? The smashed-avo lover with arms of steel and a penchant for marble decor.