I think that I'm not a very material sort of person. I do have kitchen envy, I admit it, but I can't quite complain because we have managed to supply ourselves with a few products that I love and will always ALWAYS make some shelf space for. Without these, our cooking extravaganzas would be so much more difficult and traumatic.
The Stick blender. LOVE it. I used to "puree in batches in a blender" -- nearly lost half the soup every time I did. Now I plop this little baby in and stir to magically achieve puree.
The high-powered hand mixer. LOVE it. Believe it or not, I had a neo-Luddite kind of kitchen at one point. I did everything sans power, including whipping cream and egg whites. It took an eternity and shoulder muscles of steel. Now we just pull this out, and ZZZZZIPPP....cream in twenty seconds. The Cuisinart is especially powerful -- much better than my Betty Crocker model which was like a tool out of Barbie's Dream Kitchen -- pretty, but useless.
Meet our newest friend, the electric knife. LOVE it. Don't carve at home without it. We bought this one for the Wedding Frenzy and it earned its stars right there in about one hour as it carved everything from baguettes to roast beef with disarming ease. Sliced up that turkey in no time at all. We ditched a picnic basket and a Spirooli to make shelf space for this item.
The electric fryer. Purchased for the Frying Game Episode.This relatively cheap Rival S-12 heats up to an amazingly (and kind of frighteningly) high temperature. For frying it's perfect because it has an automatic heat control. And for those times when your cooktop is filled with other pots, you can plug this in the back room and braise, boil or reheat away in it.
Pump Pot. LOVE it. Crazy, isn't it? It's such a silly thing to love-- but we've used it at almost every gathering, for coffee, hot water, cider, etc. Now that we've figured out that Peets coffee will fill this for you for about $15, and that it keeps the liquid hot for literally six to eight hours, we use it all the time.
Leaf shaped cutters. LOVE them. Again, weird, but true. I bought them thinking "that's a completely frivolous purchase that I'll use only once." I have used these on everything from pot pies to apple pies, to cut shapes for the wedding cake, to make designs in puff pastry. I'm no good at garnishing, and these little things are just about the only way to garnish that I can manage.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention out workhorse pans like this All Clad saucier. Now, we're not exactly Kitchen Stadium, as you've gathered, but we have one or two really nice pots like this. They do everything -- what more could you ask?
And the other workhorse of our kitchen, the 8-inch Wusthof Chef's knife. Love it, love it, LOVE it. My first kitchen knives were the typical things you buy at Safeway hanging over the tupperware aisle. (Actually, I think I bought it at a Fry's in Tucson.) It cuts... sorta... if you slam the knife down on the item, or saw for three days at it. For the few months when Ms. Food Snoot and I were rooming together, I got to use her German forged knives and realized that I could actually chop vegetables without mortal danger, to myself or passers-by. After lengthy research, which involved much debate -- "Is it triple riveted? Forged blade? Full tang? Do I need ice-hardened? I want a fuller belly on the blade for rocking motion during chopping." -- I selected this Wusthof Classic.
I use it all the time for chopping, slicing, dicing, julienne, because you'll notice, we have no food processor. Yes, in some ways I'm still a neo-Luddite, who kinda believes that it makes food taste better to have human hands touch it.