As you may know, I’ve published over 6500 blog posts here on Design Mom. I rarely go all the way back in the archives, but during the site redesign last year, I needed to, and I discovered two things. First, there are many old posts that are no longer functional — perhaps the photos have disappeared or the text has become irrelevant. So I’ve been taking down old posts as needed while I go through the archives month of month. It’s a sloooow process.

But the second thing I discovered is that there some really killer content in those early years, from lots of different voices, that I had forgotten about and that you probably haven’t seen either. For example, I came across a post written 10 years ago by Adriana Velez, who is both an excellent cook and an excellent writer, where she details her favorite kitchen things. When I saw it, I was curious. Are these picks still her favorites?

So I emailed her the original list and asked her if it was still relevant, and happily, she wrote back with an updated list! So I thought it would be fun to re-publish the post with her new and old picks side-by-side. I think it’s so fun to see how things have changed, and what has stayed the same.

One thing I know that has changed for sure since this list was first posted: Online Shopping. Back in the day, when blogging was still in its infancy, so was online shopping. Amazon Prime wasn’t a thing yet, and internet shopping was still pretty unusual. So when Adriana first wrote her list, she didn’t include product links — because so few of these things were buyable online yet! Isn’t that crazy to think of? Hah!

Here’s what Adriana wrote back in the day, plus her updated picks:

First I just want to say how thrilled I am to be guest blogging on Design Mom. I have ZERO design experience but a growing interest. Design Mom has been one of my favorite classrooms — how fabulous, then, to appear on her pages!

Since my expertise is in cooking rather than design I’m going to start off in the kitchen. Perhaps you’ve seen Oprah’s “My Favorite Things” episodes around the holidays; this is my version. These are My Favorite Kitchen Things. Regrettably, the audience will not be going home with these items. But they’re cheap and easy to find!

1) Old pick: Citrus squeezer. This squeezes lemons and limes with ease; juice gushes out while seeds stay in.

New pick: So I’ve moved on from the citrus squeezer to the classic glass reamer. I like having that reservoir there.

2) Old pick: Bonne Maman jam jars. We reuse these jars for everything. We drink juice from them, collect grease in them, store food in them (microwavable, unlike your plastic storage containers). Salad dressing is a snap: just add your ingredients, close the lid tightly, shake vigorously, and pour. The jam isn’t bad, either.

New pick: I still love jam jars. Now there’s also Talenti Gelato jars, but they’re plastic so not for microwaving or food storage.

3) Old pick: Box grater. I’ve tried just about every cheese grater out there and this is my favorite. The cut edges enable you to work with gravity. Meanwhile, the box holds all the grated cheese in. Unless you have room for an electric grater (and I don’t), there is simply no substitute for the box grater.

New pick: Still love the box grater.

4) Old pick: Little scrubby friend. One of my Swiss friends gave me this for Christmas. It’s for scrubbing veggies, but I use it for scrubbing dishes. He’s just adorable, isn’t he? When I’m not using this fellow I’m using another great dishwashing tool, the flat scraper by Pampered Chef. And I feel like the most glamorous lunch lady ever with my pink dishwashing gloves.

New pick: I don’t remember the scrubby friend! But I still use that Pampered Chef scraper. There are loads of other by different brands — I like these colors. For scrubbing, I rely on those yellow and green scrub sponges, one for dishes and another for counters.

5) Old Pick: Cast iron pot with skillet lid. I love my All-Clad and Le Creuset, but this old lady really delivers. The pot is deep enough for chili, roasts, and even baking bread. The lid doubles as a skillet, perfect for scrambled eggs.

New Pick: Still love the cast iron.

6) Old Pick: Mr. Happy cold/heat pack. This isn’t exactly a kitchen item, but it does live in our refrigerator. These little guys help soothe the many boo boos an active, boundary-pushing kid collects throughout the day. You can heat it in hot water as well.

New Pick: Still have a freezer cold pack which I use more often for cooking burns.

7) Old Pick: Danby countertop dishwasher. This will give you an idea of how small our apartment is. It hooks up to the sink. I can’t imagine life without it.

New Pick: I’ve since moved into a larger place with a proper, full-sized dishwasher. I FEEL LIKE ROYALTY. But for small apartments I still stand by the Danby. If you can find a newer/updated version, go for it. But that thing was a lifesaver for years.

And here are a few more of my new picks:

8) Silicone scraper for scrambled eggs. So much more control than a spatula!

9) Boston Warehouse makes this series of tools called Animal House — love them all, especially this monkey peeler.

10) I love my immersion blender. It makes pureed soups easier. Also, I ditched my 20-year-old hand mixer when I moved, and my immersion blender has a whisk attachment that lets me whip cream and eggs.

11) I use my coffee grinder as a spice grinder. You can also use it to turn granular sugar into powdered sugar.


So many great picks, Adriana! Thank you for the update. I love seeing which items are still staples in your kitchen over a decade later. True classics!

What about you, Dear Readers? Have your favorite kitchen items changed over the years? Any recent discoveries you can’t do without?

P.S. — More favorite kitchen tools. Also, the original 2007 comments are still intact below.

Credits: Adriana Velez is a freelance writer and former food editor at SheKnows. Photo by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.