I’ve never liked colanders — hard to clean, hard to store. So when I moved into a tiny apartment with a tiny kitchen, I decided I’d do without. Could my hands not be a sieve for rinsing plums? Could a wooden spoon held against a pot not assist in drainage?
Well, technically, yes, but then I found myself with a Dutch oven full of soaking beans and no way to drain them, so it was off to Bed Bath & Beyond. And then I saw it. A pleasing green pair that would have looked at home on the shelves of the MoMA Design Store. I picked them up and the sturdy matte plastic felt so good in my hands. I checked the price tag — cheap! A colander miracle. It’s now my favorite thing in the kitchen.
The Joseph Joseph Nest Colander Set is a pair of two colanders, a small one that nestles happily into a larger. Each is a softened trapezoid with gentle corners for easy pouring and a handle for one-handed use (or no-handed use: I usually hook mine over the side of my dish rack and let the hot water flow right into the sink). Their drainage holes drain very well, but even more importantly, are easy to clean with just a sponge and a rinse — I haven’t had to take a fork tine to the holes even once.
They are intentional, designed, ergonomic. The handle of the smaller fits perfectly — satisfyingly — into the groove of the larger. They are also super cheap but look nice enough to live on what my boyfriend calls our “status anxiety cart,” the kitchen cart next to our refrigerator that holds a KitchenAid stand mixer, Le Creuset Dutch oven, and a large and intimidating Cuisinart. We are very serious cooks with upwardly mobile ambitions, the cart says. Also, we have extremely good taste and are a little bit playful, say the colanders.
You can find it on Amazon, too, though it’s more expensive there.
More Strat-approved small kitchen accessories
Writer David Schwartz had his own small-kitchen problems when it came to buying a salad spinner, but he found a collapsible one that’s just perfect: “It does all the same things as my ordinary salad spinner — storing mushrooms and $300-a-pound butter lettuce — but it can also be easily flattened and tucked away. Compressed, it’s roughly the size of two Frisbees, fitting seamlessly into the closet next to my travel steamer and writing lap-desk.”
Looking for a waffle-maker that takes up no room? Grub writer Nikita Richardson has a favorite: “The ad copy calls this thing mini, and it really is — the palm-size waffle-maker is so small, it can easily fit into a purse — but no matter how much I worried that I would overfill the iron, the Dash just kept spitting out tea-plate-size waffles that were perfectly browned and fluffy.”
Writer Erica Murphy enjoys baking holiday cookies, but didn’t have any room in her tiny New York apartment for a stand mixer until she found the Artisan Mini: “It’s 25 percent lighter and 20 percent smaller than a regular KitchenAid mixer, and clearly targeted toward millennials who live in cities. As for the mechanics, the Artisan Mini’s beater can still slice through thick batters with ease and mix together the smoothest cookie dough. It’s been a savior now that the holidays are approaching: I don’t have to worry about wrist pain when making ten-plus batches of Christmas cookies (as I would with a hand mixer).”
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