Well, if there was ever a year to figure out how to cook, it was 2020. Twas the year to upgrade your knives, finally buy a decent coffee maker, and consider becoming an Adult With an Instant Pot. We probably don’t need to state the obvious, but we will anyway: We’ve been stuck at home all year (the responsible ones among us, anyway), and we’ll probably be experiencing more time in our own kitchens for at least the first half of 2021, or shall we say, “the foreseeable future.” But it’s all good, because the world is full of shiny things that were designed to make the process of cooking for yourself and your loved ones ever more enjoyable. These are our favorite tools, gadgets, cookbooks, and other miscellaneous things that should be in your kitchen cabinets.
Island Creek Oysters shucking kit
What's that you say? You don't know how to shuck oysters?? Well, get this kit, complete with knife and glove (and 2 dozen oysters), and watch our video so that you can pour yourself a glass of bubbles and get shucked up ASAP.
$75, at Island Creek Oysters.
Equal Parts essential pan
If you publicly express even a passing interest in cooking, you have likely been inundated with ads for about a bajillion different direct-to-consumer cookware companies. Equal Parts is among them, but our staff can confirm that their essential pan really, actually does everything it's supposed to; is truly very non-stick; and looks great through it all. If your cabinets are still full of scratched, Teflon, hand-me-down skillets from discount stores, toss ‘em all out and grab one of these instead.
$95, at Equal Parts.
Artisan Revere chef’s knife
This heavy-duty chef's knife is comfortable to hold and offers perfect precision while cutting. Not only that, it stays sharp longer than most knives, and we know how often you're chopping away while cooking dinner at home these days.
$356, at Artisan Revere.
Haden x Poodle & Blonde stainless steel electric tea kettle
It's baffling that so many people insist on hovering around their stovetops like maniacs, waiting for their old-fashioned kettles to scream at a deafening volume, when they could just get an electric kettle like this Haden bad boy, as handy for Top Ramen fans as for big-time tea drinkers. Hit the switch, and you’ll have piping-hot water in just a couple of minutes. It even has a little old-timey dial to tell you precisely how hot your water is. Most of all, this thing really jazzes up a countertop.
$99.99 (on sale), at Wayfair.
Leather Oven Mitts
Made using nontoxic dye and sustainable leather, these oven mitts are perfect for everyday kitchen use or grabbing skewers off the grill. Dare we say you may even want to wear them in public to keep warm this winter? OK, maybe that's a bit too far, but these fancy mitts are so much prettier than those side towels you usually use to grab the cookies from the oven.
$145, at Eatingtools.
Roccbox pizza oven
We hear you've gotten really into sourdough lately. Well, instead of making bread nonstop, why not make some pizza dough and throw it in this here oven? It heats up quick (reaching over 950°F!!), is portable, and cooks pizza in less than two minutes. Sounds way cooler than some stupid bread, if you ask us.
$499, at Amazon.
Blue Rocco double Old Fashioned glasses
These chic, super-affordable cocktail glasses look straight out of a mezcal bar in Mexico City. They're thick-walled and virtually unbreakable, and just as perfect for everyday water-sipping as they are for enjoying round after round of margaritas with your friends (when this is all over, naturally).
$19.96 for a set of four, at Cost Plus World Market.
OXO mini tongs
Is it weird to be obsessed with a pair of tongs? Because that's how we feel about these little guys. They're perfect for flipping veggies in your cast-iron, serving spaghetti carbonara to the one you love, or pinching the bums of anyone that disturbs you while you're cooking. Take them camping, take them on a picnic, or just leave them home to use everyday.
$6.99, at The Container Store.
Microplane Classic stainless steel zester and cheese grater
If you don't have a microplane yet… it's time. Zest a Meyer lemon into your cookies! Grate some fresh Pecorino Romano onto your spaghetti! Get some fresh nutmeg goin' for your Tom & Jerry!!! You will find a million uses for this thing—and so will whoever is lucky enough to get one in their stocking.
$14, at Houzz.
Le Creuset Dutch oven
Everyone always asks us if a Dutch oven is truly necessary… and honestly? Yeah, it is. You'll use this one pan for 90 percent of the things you cook, whether you're braising chicken, sautéeing vegetables, or frying up a hash on the morning of your next hangover. It's easy to clean, and hot damn, all those colors sure are pretty. It's definitely a purchase you won't regret.
$180 (on sale), at Le Creuset.
The MUNCHIES cookbooks (duh)
Hey, we've got to mention our cookbooks, because they all really are that good. Buy one for your mom; buy one for your roommate; buy one for yourself. This one—the MUNCHIES Guide to Dinner—has a really, really excellent lasagna recipe. You're welcome.
$27.60, on sale at Bookshop.
Since the moment we found this spoonula, life just hasn't been the same. It's the ultimate tool for the home cook and baker alike. You thought that merely having a spatula and also owning a spoon was enough, but you were wrong. Get a spoonula for each and every one of your friends, and two for yourself.
$7.95, at Gir.
Breville’s The Bambino espresso maker
You've been missing grabbing coffee from your favorite local spot, and let's face it, the sludge you're brewing at home isn't cutting it. It's time you upped your caffeine game and invested in a professional-level espresso maker. Embrace your inner barista. And with a name like The Bambino, how can you resist?
$299.95, at Breville.
Matty Matheson’s Home Style Cookery
Our old pal and frequent host Matty Matheson came out with another killer cookbook this year—this time focused on his favorite Canadian-style home cookin', from a salt-crusted leg of lamb to a "Kitchen Sink Salad." To know Matty is to love Matty, and to know his cooking is to love his food.
$25.49, at Amazon.
That dang Benriner mandoline (again)
Yes, we recommended this very same mandoline last year. But it really is that good. It has truly changed the game, and made countless quarantine meals things of beauty instead of sad couch lunches. It has topped our salads with elegant curls of carrot and transformed our fennel into paper-thin slices of semi-translucent vegetal perfection. And isn’t the teal a flex?
$24.39, at Amazon.
Check out the rest of MUNCHIES holiday gift guides here.
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