Cooking in bulk can vary in scale: you can start as simple as making a double batch and freezing half, or you can scale up – way up, although restaurant-scale is pretty impractical unless you have a large family. Of course, scaling up is easier if you have the right tools and maybe an extra freezer. This is a completely unsponsored list of what we use, and why we like it.

Our Kitchen

A lot of people think we must have a huge kitchen to do all of this. We don’t. Our house was built in the 1970s, and was clearly intended for one person to be doing all of the cooking. We have a normal four-burner stove and double wall ovens (though what we really need is double microwaves!) although we replaced the sink with a single-pan variety and restaurant-style sprayer faucet from Costco – better for washing the big pots and pans. Our island isn’t large, and a friend watching us cook likened it to watching air traffic control. So, no, you don’t need a lot of extravagant equipment to do this, especially if you start small.

Pots & Pans

Our favorite pan is a 16-quart wide stockpot. Philip originally bought it for doing cheesecakes in a water bath, and Leigh laughed and joked that he’d finally found a pot she couldn’t overflow. Spoiler alert: that didn’t last…


Shun classic, although the blades can be a bit delicate. Philip preferrs a heavier chef’s knife, Centurion or ????


Rubbermaid Commercial 13.5-inch Spoon / Scraper / Spatula. Why? When you’ve got 16 quarts of something in progress, you need to be able to stir it effectively. This is big enough to get the job done, easy to clean, and extremely durable. I’ve had it for years and the head has never come off on me… unlike some wimpy spatulas that shouldn’t be named.

Calphalon oddly-shaped spatula, sadly discontinued. The sturdiness, size, and angle are great for browning large quantities of meat or sauteeing vegetables. Of course, this only works for the right-handed half of Pleigh’s.

Tovolo Silicone Jar Scraper Spatula. Why? Sometimes size isn’t everything, and what you really need is to get all of the garlic out of the mini-chop.

2-cup serving ladle. Makes portioning out leftovers a breeze.


Pyrex glass storage with lids. We prefer the 6-cup rectangular size with no handles – less wasted space in the freezer. And, no, I’ve never shattered one.

Up & Up snap and store food storage containers. We use the two-quart size for “bricks” of soup and stews. I’ve also used Gladware, but in my experience the Target brand has been more durable.

Upcycled restaurant ware. Confession time: I eat a LOT of Thai food. One of the best restaurants is a block from my office, and I often bring home leftovers, in perfectly serviceable plasticware. Sure, you can buy a stack of the same stuff from Costco or Sam’s (or boxes of it at a restaurant supply store) but why would you? “Single-use” plastics often have a lot more life in them than one round.

The “Portable Kitchen”

We don’t just do this in our home – we share the love when we visit friends and family, too. During one particularly memorable Christmas visit to North Carolina, Leigh and her brother (Phillip-with-two-“l”s) cooked a completely epic series of meals and left Mom with over 40 meals in her freezer. Rather than lament not having the big spatula, or the leave-in meat thermometer, or the special brown mustard seed from Penzy’s… Leigh put together a subset of her favorite tools and specialty spices in a knife roll (which was a gift from Philip) that gets toted around wherever cooking is likely to happen. (That Tovolo jar spatula? We’re not the only ones who like it; it’s been inadvertently or deliberately stolen from the portable kitchen a couple of times.)