5 Basic Kitchen Tools for Homemade Cooking

Plus advice and tips from the D.I.Y. Delicious author, Vanessa Barrington, on making more from scratch.

Corn Tortillas

On average, cookbook author Vanessa Barrington eats 17 out of 21 meals at home — and with her new cookbook, you’ll be ready to do the same. The book is filled with homemade recipes including ones for Almond Milk and Corn Tortillas, plus gorgeous step-by-step photos to help you along the way. Here, she shares five basic tools and advice on getting started to create a healthier and handier you.


What’s your advice for someone who wants to start making more things from scratch?

Start with what interests you the most and what you’re most passionate about and build from there. Don’t try to do everything at once because you might become overwhelmed and discouraged. If you treat it as play, you won’t feel like you’re working. And when you compare the taste of the things you make yourself with store-bought, you’ll have added incentive. Do what fits into your lifestyle and take it easy.


What are 5 basic tools that people will need so that they can make most things at home?

1. A good cast-iron pan

2. Tortilla press

3. Mason jars

4. A big pot or canning pot

5. Good knives


Have you found that you spend less money now that you do more things yourself?

Absolutely, but not as little as you’d think because food is my recreation and I care about quality. For example, I buy pastured eggs at $6 a dozen because they are worth it, and I buy grass-finished local meats, but I don’t eat very much and use the cheaper cuts. When I’m broke, I can make due on beans, lentils, brown rice, sauerkraut, and fresh seasonal basic veggies from the farmers market… oh and oatmeal.


How many meals a week would you say on average that you eat at home?

Depends on the week, but out of 21 meals, I’d say I probably eat about 17 eat home.


Because you make so many dishes at home, is there a food/dish that you’d rather eat out than make yourself?

Pastries in general. Croissants (only really good ones) in particular.



For the Homemade Corn Tortillas recipe from her book, Barrington loves to fill it with simple beans cooked with a little onion and garlic, and topped with homemade salsa, avocado and curtido.

Barrington likes to eat this Spicy Kimchi atop a rice or grain bowl full of seasonal vegetables, and sometimes a fried egg, for lunch. But she also says that it goes great with a simple grilled fish and brown rice.

Try this Almond Milk recipe instead of soy milk for a morning latte or as a substitute for milk in your cereal.