A trip to IKEA is always an adventure - a journey not just through the endless, winding corridor with the rest of the 92,235 people who decided they needed a $50 bookcase right meow dammit, but also through the depths of your consumer self-control, the strength of your relationship with your significant other, and the structural fortitude of your feet and knees.
As with everything at IKEA, the kitchen stuff is a bit hit or miss, and you're usually best off keeping to inexpensive items for which longevity and durability are not prime criteria. Having braved the labyrinth at the new(ish) Denver-area IKEA a few times now, I've found some real winners for cheap-but-crucial kitchen gadgets. They're all under $10, and they're all pretty damn good for the price. Because what else did you go there for?
1. TEKLA dish towel ($0.79): In a pro kitchen, every chef has a stack of towels like these ready to grab a pot, wipe a spill, clean a knife, or sweep debris away. Buy a dozen.
2. STÄM Bottle Opener ($0.99) : With a fat, hand-friendly, rounded plastic housing, this is a superb bottle opener - I've got a few in the kitchen, one in my grill workstation, one in the office....
3. PLASTIS dish scrubber ($1.49) Cheap, comfy in the hand, and with a handy suction cup on the butt end so it dries vertically, this dish brush does a fine job, even if it's not quite stiff enough for a wad of carbonized cheese.
4. LEGITIM cutting board ($1.49) I've got a pile of these little suckers at the ready for chopping garlic, herbs, and chiles. They're sturdy and kind to the knife edge.
5. JÄMKA food container ($1.99 for 3) Big enough for a lunch-size portion of soup or stew, cheap enough that when you inevitably forget about it in the office fridge and it becomes an experiment in microbial ecology, you don't feel too bad about tossing one.
6. TROJKA kitchen shears ( $1.99) Everybody needs a few pairs of sturdy scissors in the kitchen. These are sturdy enough to clip zip-ties and sharp enough to dismember a chicken.
7. FLÄCKIG mixing bowls ($4.99) With a grip on one side, these nicely-sized bowls are great for whisking eggs, fermenting pizza dough, or
8. ORDNING utensil crock ($5.99) I've got these by the stove and grill to corral spatulas, spoons, tongs, and other implements.
9. ORDNING colander ($9.99) Hey, it's a cheap colander that looks cool, works, and isn't made of Playskool-grade plastic!
10. RESURS carving board ($9.99) This big, roomy carving board has a channel and reservoir for meat juices, and it's ideal for carving steaks, roasts, and even chickens and turkeys.