The kitchen can be a sanctuary, an exciting adventure of exploration, or a chore. One major problem with many kitchens is outdated products in them. Are your pots and pans old and worn out to the point you don’t even want to make eggs in the morning? When is the last time you looked down the kitchen isle for new potholders or mittens so your hands are not getting burnt every time you dare turn on the oven? Is every utensil cracked, broken, chipped, or scrapping the cookware?
There is a simple solution to the problem and it starts like this. Hello, my name is _____, and its time for a kitchen upgrade. I desire above all else in this site to help bring back passion into your love for cooking your grandmothers recipes or having homecooked meals once a week for the family. However, having the right tools in the kitchen is a must to help you feel inspired and jumping in the kitchen versus a twinkle that is squinched by exhausted tools.
Wherever there is a problem there is always a solution. Together we can identify the places in the kitchen that may need an upgrade and then its up to you on when to start to replace these items either all in one swoop or piece by piece. I know we all wish that when we first bought our brand new kitchen tools, appliances, cookware that they would all last forever, but sadly it’s just not a wish that can come true.
I know when I had to face that my cooking was suffering, I was gaining more weight eating out all the time, and I was spending less time with my family engaged around a meal at home due to needing new cookware and tools in the kitchen was a challenging self-revelation.
The Signs and Symptoms
Everything in the kitchen including what you cook and prepare food with has an expiration date, signs that they are going bad. Spatulas are in multitude in most kitchens and the most frequent problem is when they are kept despite when they begin to melt or scratch at the cookware as this is when the chemical makeup begins to break down.
Wooden spoons are a fan favorite of mine, some I cook with, and others I use for salads and serving. Like all wood over time, they observe moisture causing them to crack, discolor, break, and eventually fester bacteria thus the importance of replacement them prior to it getting that far. As a tip, never leave the wooden spoons in the sink or sitting water because this will accelerate this process and cause soft wet spots to appear on the spoons in a shorter lifetime of the spoon and once they appear you need to immediately throw out the spoon.
While cooking many of us use spices; however, when was the last time that you looked at the expiration date of the spices on the rack? They do not last forever and just like you don’t want expired foods going into your body, you don’t want bad spices either.
Knives serve a grand purpose as they cut, slice, dice, smash or mince their ways into our hearts when at their best. Over time knives can chip, become dull beyond repair, rust, and if they are stamped knives can become loose and break from the grip.
There are so many options available now for cleaning our cookware and many people still use sponges. I believe that back in college the sinks full of dirty dishes and sponges had to be one of the most traumatic and disgusting sites of my life. Sponges can be a zest pool of bacteria. First of all the sponges are cleaning off half-eaten food, soaking and messing with filthy water, and despite popular belief, they are not self-cleaning. Whoever came up with the disposable heads sponges has to be a millionaire and my hero. The signs of bad sponges are the nasty smells, discoloration, stuck on food, standing water because someone in your home forgot to ring it out, and if you look close enough I am sure you can watch the bacteria grow by the second.
Do you feel the burn? Oven mitts are a necessity for baking as well as moving some pots off the stove to the table etc. They naturally wear down over time and become thin. Especially when you wash them regularly which you should do as they come in contact with food periodically or something spills on them. They are not immune to stains or bacteria. The thinner they become the more likely the next time you reach in for the muffin pan the rack is going to burn through the mitt and burn you.
We have talked several times about healthy nonstick cookware but if I was going to place a bet, the majority of people still have a few of the nonhealthy tfal or other nonstick cookware around in the kitchen. Either way, time is detrimental to cookware overall and eventually most (not all) nonstick cookware becomes NO STICK cookware. This process is sped up if there has not been proper care of the cookware over time. They can also rust, chip, and scratch all of which tells you that this pot, pan, or skillet needs to be cast aside for a newer model.
Cookware in general for the pots, pans, and skillets have a few other tell signs as well. One common overlooked sign is the thinning of the cookware itself. The thinner a pan becomes the less cushion so to say there is between the food and the heat which destroys what you are trying to cook. Much like the problem when the burner (convection or induction) has burnt the bottom of the pan so badly it’s not allowing the food to be cooked properly. They can also be warped, the core could be showing, and may have loose, broken or melted handles.
Cutting boards now come in so many varieties including wood, marble, plastic, and bamboo to name a few. No matter the type all the boards are meant for the same purpose which is for you to use your brand new, nondamaged knives to cut into them. And in doing so this is going to cause grooves to appear on boards that are expected. However, these boards handle raw meat, vegetables, and anything else you are wanting to slice up in the kitchen. While yes, you can wash them with some soap and hot water to help preserve them there is still going to be bacteria growth overtimes with continued grooves and more exposure. As the grooves go deeper the harder they are to clean.
Glass bakeware is one set of items people don’t often discuss replacing because it can typically last a long time with good care practices. However, glass can chip, break, have oil or nonstick cooking spray stains, or stuck on food that won’t come off. All signs they need to be replaced.
Bakeware such as bake sheets or any types of muffin pans has 2 primary issues. They rust and warp. Every get a fresh set of cookies out of the oven and the base sheet pop loudly as it cools? That is a sure fire tell sign that it has warped and needs to be replaced. Likewise once there is rust there is no real good way to remove it or prevent it from getting on your food one day when your busy and not paying attention.
The Average Time Table
When evaluating an expiration date some times it can last longer than others. Likewise, some pieces in the kitchen can have longer longevity with good care practices.
|Nonstick Cookware||2-4 years|
|Cutting Boards||1 year|
|Knives||1-3 years based on the quality of the knives|
|Baking Sheets||1-2 years|
|Wooden Spoons||3-4 years; sooner if soft wet spots begin to appear|
|Oven Mitts||2-3 years|
|Cleaning Sponges||every 2-5 days of active use|
|Muffin Pans||1-2 years|
|Glass Bakeware||3-5 years; depending on care practices|
|Spice Rack||6mts - 2yrs|
Health & Cooking Hazards
Personally, I am very health minded in the kitchen especially centered around the themes of health and cooking hazards as you all well know. Expired tools in the kitchen, in my opinion, is one of the leading causes of these health hazards. When the materials of your tools and cookware breakdown chemically, start to chip, cracks or melt all of these particles are ending up in your food and thus your body.
Additional hazards like bacterial growth is a problem like with the wet spots on wooden spoons. If you continue to use kitchen tools past a certain point it is like eating fruit with mold on it.
Rust is another big problem with many tools in the kitchen such as knives and bakeware. Rust can be very damaging to the body if you are routinely cutting through a fresh steak with a rusted knife.
Let’s not forget about the hazards with some cookware poses naturally.
Honesty In The Kitchen
A lot of time and effort goes into what you make in the kitchen and you deserve quality tools to get the job done. Part of that means replacing some worn out products. The other vital piece is taking care of ones in good condition currently or new purchases. Cookware, in general, can sometimes last 5-10 years if you take care of it properly. I know for many that is easier said than done as we are busy people with hectic lives but its a goal to strive toward.
In an effort to assist with that goal I buy high-quality tools myself. These are products that I have also started doing product reviews on for you and will continue to do so to help weed out lesser products. I have found with higher elite tools I spend less time on clean up and maintenance with my kitchenware and more time enjoying the kitchen. Likewise, I spend a bit more on the front side but I also do not have to replace everything in 1-2 years, for me its at least double or more.
We have to figure out what works best for each of us.
Making the Most Come Out of the Kitchen
I recognize that strolling up and down the kitchen isles may not give everyone the same thrills that it gives me as I fantasize about having an unlimited amount of money to purchase two of everything, one for use and one backup. Many times when we all started our kitchen collections we were young adults starting out in the world. How many times since then have you indulged and replaced your cookware or bought a new knife set?
To me, it feels like a lot of us hold onto our kitchen tools way longer than we should because in our lives there is almost always something that seems more important to spend our money on. And that may be true. At the same time, I urge you to take the health of you and your family into consideration as I remind you that you are important. That does not mean spending thousands of dollars today but perhaps making a game plan to upgrade the kitchen over time or take care of those most used tools in the kitchen then deal with the rest.
Really the upgrade process is up to you! Together we will make the most out of the kitchen and reignite the passion for cooking with one delicious recipe at a time.
I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions or concerns on your own kitchenware that may need replacing or want to leave your own personal review or story, leave a comment below.