OUTFITTING a kitchen used to be a simple task—pots, pans, and a handful of standard implements were the norm (unless you responded to infomercials).
Now, as design continues to infiltrate every corner of our lives, companies are rethinking the form and function of cooking tools, leaving consumers with an expanding range of products to tackle a kitchen's many obstacles. Can't flip fried foods without launching them out of the pan? There's a product for that. Trouble getting veggies from the cutting board to the bowl? There's a product for that too.
Armed with the right equipment, it's easier than ever to feel—and cook—like a culinary pro.
Chef'n Sleekstor Pinch+Pour bowls
Thanks to the rubbery magic of thermoplastic elastomer, these seemingly round bowls form a spout when you pick them up and pinch, giving them the qualities of both mixing bowl and measuring cup. ($15, chefn.com)
Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot cutting board
This polypropylene cutting board has flexible hinges that allow it to fold up into a scoop, guiding chopped ingredients into the pot rather than letting them spill onto the floor. ($15, josephjoseph.com)
Menu wine breather
Like judging a book by its cover, we've all purchased a bottle of wine simply because of its beautiful label. This device does the work of a decanter and lets you keep the artwork on the table — it aerates the grape, then funnels it back into the bottle. ($70, menu.as)
Alessi Shiba saucepan
Sculpted by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, the aluminum Shiba has a plump wooden handle, a polished steel finish, and a curved lip for pouring, promising smooth sailing at the stove. ($170, alessi.com)
Pottok Lines Forest recyclable wallpaper
For Chinese cooking with a Dutch twist, try this wok from the Netherlands' Royal VKB. An oversize cupped lip helps you flip frying foods without shooting them out of the pan. ($150, royalvkb.com)
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.