8 Kitchen Essentials for Mastering Vivian Howard’s “Deep Run Roots” Recipes — Plus Where to Buy Them

updated Mar 5, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Hello, spring! We’re kicking off March’s Cookbook Club with Vivian Howard’s award-winning cookbook, Deep Run Roots, which is brimming with over 200 delicious recipes structured around single ingredients like watermelon, peaches, summer squash, figs, and okra. To help you master the recipes, we’ve rounded up eight of Howard’s favorite kitchen tools, along with our own product recommendations for each. So grab the cookbook, get the tools, and try whipping up a new recipe or two, then let us know how it goes! Share your comments in our Facebook group, or post a photo of your dish on Instagram, with a short review of the recipe in the caption, and use our #kitchncookbookclub hashtag to be featured on our Cookbook Club hub page. Happy nomming!

Credit: Material

1. Smaller Plastic Boards

Howard uses a big rubber cutting board for most of her work, but supplements it with smaller plastic boards that easily fit in the dishwasher and are great for breaking down meats and fish. As she puts it, “…the dishwasher kills bacteria that my little scrubber doesn’t.”

Kitchn recommends: The reBoard, $35 at Material

Credit: Amazon

2. Microplane

“I have an emotional attachment to my microplane even though I have cut the crap out of my hands a million times,” says Howard. Microplanes are ideal for grinding fresh ginger for her marinated turnips with orange and pumpkin seeds or fresh garlic for her slow-roasted beef short ribs with herb-scented turnip puree and turnip gremolata.

Kitchn Recommends: Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater, $13 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

3. Japanese Mandoline

“I believe the risk of a mandoline is worth the reward,” Howard says in her book. Mandolines make slicing and dicing veggies easier and faster and besides being a workhorse for Howard’s vegetable-forward recipes, it’s an essential tool for everyday cooking.

Kitchn Recommends: Benriner Japanese Vegetable Slicer, $31 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

4. Y-Shaped Peelers

According to Howard, Y-shaped peelers are the absolute best. The sharp blade easily glides through even the toughest fruit and vegetable skins, saving you tons of time and effort. “Companies should stop making the other one,” adds Howard.

Kitchn recommends: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, $7 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

5. Stainless Steel Fish Spatula

“It’s the last spatula except for a small offset spatula I’ll ever need,” says Howard. The thin blade can slip under delicate fish and barely set pancakes, while the wide head supports everything as you flip, with no drippy edges.

Buy: Winco Medium Stainless Steel Fish Spatula, $7 at Amazon

6. Serving Spoon

Surprisingly, Howard’s favorite kitchen tool is a serving spoon! Followed closely by a fine-mesh sieve that’s great for refining sauces and soups.

Kitchn recommends: All-Clad Cook Serve Stainless-Steel Solid Spoon, $22 at Williams Sonoma

Credit: Amazon

7. Collard Chopper

“My mom’s ‘can’t do without’ kitchen gadget is a collard chopper,” says Howard. Although it looks like a biscuit cutter with a wooden handle, the serrated bottom edge is sharp enough to slice through hard nuts, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and even onions. Plus it’s easier and quicker to use than a food processor, especially for meals on the go.

Kitchn recommends: Deluxe Serrated Manual Food Chopper, $ 13 (normally $16) at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

8. Tongs

This kitchen essential is an absolute no-brainer for transferring potatoes from a pot of boiling water to the cutting board, or even flipping meats and veggies in the pan. Howard’s only pet peeve: “I turn things with tongs but wince when people treat tongs like spoons.” Point taken.

Kitchn recommends: OXO Good Grips 9-inch Tongs, $14 at Amazon