Saffron, Knives, Crêpe Pans, and Vanilla: What's Worth Spending Money On In the Kitchen?

What's worth your cold hard cash when it comes to kitchen tools and cooking luxuries? Is saffron worth its high price? How about vanilla beans, expensive knives, food choppers, nonstick skillets, filet mignon, or good vinegars? Two LA Times writers weigh in on these and more, giving a thumbs up or down. Here are our thoughts. We mostly agreed with their opinions; they pick, for instance, their Dutch oven as one of their most-used pans. But we don't think that a roasting pan is necessarily the place we'd invest a lot of money, as they suggest. We agree that all you really need are two good knives, but we got a little defensive on behalf of our electric food chopper, which they dismiss. We use ours all the time; it's one of the most useful little appliances in our kitchen.

Pieces like this often speak more to the kind of cook that you are; everyone has their favorite, most-used tools, which may not be universal choices for every cook. There are good pointers and tips in here, though, especially for those of you just setting up a kitchen.

And we can definitely agree with them on this pointer: never skimp on good coffee!

Take a look through the piece and then tell us - what did you agree with, what did you disagree with? What would you add? (We, for instance, would add an inexpensive oven thermometer and a note to never skimp on your flour. Buy the good stuff; it's not much more expensive.) We also have links to more information about some of their recommended picks below.

• Read the article: Kitchen essentials, and items you can pass by

Good kitchen equipment
How To Use a Waiter's Key Corkscrew
Kitchen Tools: Instant-Read Thermometer
Good Product: All-Clad Petite Roti Pan
Dutch Oven Roundup
Holiday Gift Guide: Knives!
Sources: Vanilla Beans in Bulk
Good Product? Spanish Saffron from Trader Joe's
How To Choose Good Cheap Wine from the Big Brands: Cabernet Sauvignon
Good Product: Krups Fast Touch Coffee/Spice Grinder

(Images: LA Times)

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