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The Most Important Tool in My Kitchen

19 February 2024

I have a lot of kitchen stuff!  I've been collecting for decades, much to my husband's chagrin.  When two good friends moved south, I took on additional useful items: a hand blender/food processor (great for travel workshops) and a plastic slider press (makes the best veggie burgers!).  Clearing out my mom's apartment, I found a couple of new Oxo measuring cups.  After a cooking workshop with a friend, she gifted me the Epicurious cutting board I'd had my eye on. And if you've been following my blog (22 May 2023), you know about my “almost essential” cooking recommendations.

This week I had an epiphany, though.  What is the most important tool in my kitchen?  It's the Sharpie!  Let me explain:

  • Labeling my (recycled) jars tells me what it is and when it was made.  This reduces confusion (what is this brown substance in my freezer?) and also helps reduce food waste (FIFO/first-in-first-out).
  • I use this handy pen to label flavor mixes (Greek, fajita or tofu scramble seasoning) in the spice cupboard.
  • In cooking workshops, when everyone makes a different quesadilla (or anything), I can easily label the parchment next to it (Sharpie is NOT food safe, so take care not to let it touch your food) to be sure each person gets their own creation from the oven.
  • When I open a jar of tomato sauce or carton of soy milk, I can write the date opened on the top, so I know how long it will be safe to use.
  • Taking food to-go for a pot luck?  Label the lid with the contents, allergens and cooking/serving instructions.
  • Prepping some overnight oats?  Make a bunch of different flavors and then label them so you can choose in the morning.  (BTW, I'm considering a QUICK overnight oats workshop so please LMK if you would be interested)

I do actually use my Sharpie(s) every day!  This is mainly due to my love of glass jars and leftovers. I guess it's an overstatement to say that Sharpies can save the world, but at the very least, they can make life less stressful and reduce food waste.

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