I'm moving back to Maryland! And soon, should be back in early August. So I've been packing. As I go through my kitchen stuff I thought it a good time to communicate some of my favorite tools.
In general, I like to follow the Alton Brown maxim: No single use tools. Except for the fire extinguisher.
I like silicon spatulas. They can do nearly everything, won't melt, dishwasher safe, and they aren't expensive.
I have some other ones as well, but you get the idea.
But they don't fully replace a good wooden spoon. Gotta have a good flat edge wooden spoon for scraping stuff on pans.
These are the ones Ruhlman is trying to sell, but I would just buy a similar item at Marshalls or something.
Sheet pans are essential. Nice heavy ones. Not coated. Restaurant supply stores are the place to get them. Those flimsy ones that warp at 450 F are pointless.
I do have a coated pan, but I use parchment paper or foil to line the pan when needed; thus, coated isn't very useful.
To go with the sheet pans, I like to use a rack. Its nice for things that need air on both sides like bacon or breaded chicken.
I love my All-Clad 10" fry pan.
I have a part of a set of a Calphalon One Infused Anondized (not coated). They are good pans, but they warp on the flat top electric. Thankfully, I'll have gas back in Maryland.
I use a coated cast iron pot for all kinds of stuff. It's a dutch oven, a stock pot, a rice cooker, and on and on. It's like a Le Crueset, but cheaper because its made in China.
One of the most versatile little tools I have is a dough cutter. I rarely cut dough. But it makes a great garlic smasher, its safer then a knife for moving dices onions from board to pan, and its even good for scraping counter tops.