"Setting aside all of my mismatched tools for this perfectly uniform set provided the satisfaction of using a power washer and the simmering excitement of the first day of school."

By Laura Reilly
Updated August 14, 2019
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Credit: materialkitchen.com

Bananas and almond butter. Hummus and pita. Yogurt and honey. Oatmeal. Plain cottage cheese. World’s most boring brunch menu or a comprehensive list of meals I’m willing to prepare myself at home? C, all of the above, is the correct answer.

I’ve tried to pinpoint the moment at which my peers transitioned from struggling, bagel-eating students to full-fledged, dinner party-hosting adults, but it always seems to have happened too stealthily for outside detection—more likely, I wasn’t paying attention.

I wouldn’t characterize my life on the grounds of arrested development. I have an apartment, hobbies, and full-time job that pays the bills and put me on a career path. I do grown-up things like take vitamins and deep clean the bathtub and get yearly physicals. But cook dinner for myself? That, I simply do not do.

So when I had the opportunity to test a set of kitchen tools from a new, design-y direct-to-consumer brand, it’s not that I wasn’t excited, I was just more into the idea of how the set would make my kitchen look rather than perform.

Material Kitchen’s The Iconics is a 10-piece set that includes three knives, a wooden spoon, large metal spoon, slotted spoon, spatula, whisk, pair of tongs, and wooden base to house the lot. The collection positions itself as a one-stop shop for every cooking fundamental you’d need to make your home kitchen run. Or, as the brand put it, “Essential and then some.”

The set is available in three different wood tones (Walnut, Maple + Beech, and Midnight Black + Walnut) and four handle color variations (Almost Black, Cool Neutral, Blue Grey, and Blush). In my kitchen, the black walnut-blue grey combo positively sang. Setting aside all of my mismatched tools for this perfectly uniform set provided satisfaction akin to using a power washer and the simmering excitement of the first day of school.

Material Kitchen's The Iconics Knife Set
Credit: materialkitchen.com

To buy: $245; materialkitchen.com.

With clutter quieted, my kitchen was available to me in a whole new way. Suddenly, I was making stuff, elementary but elevated—Sunday’s scrambled eggs were fluffier than ever with the weightless maneuvering of the Air Whisk; Friday’s pasta forewent the collander’s trials and tribulations, scooped gingerly straight from the pot with the Slotted Spoon; Tuesday’s veggie burgers peeled cleanly from the pan with the paper-thin Slotted Spatula.

Even as a non-chef, I do have one trick up my sleeve. Ceviche is the only dish I feel confident serving at gathering and, although my friends surely like me enough to extend some false flattery, I think it’s actually a hit. It was here that the knives really proved themselves.

An 8-ounce swordfish steak was no competition for The 8, an all-purpose chef’s knife made of three layers of Japanese steel. Its razor-sharp, 26-degree edge melted through the protein like kinetic sand, producing perfect cubes of sashimi-grade fish. The Almost 4" Knife diced an avocado in its shell quickly and expertly, and The Serrated 6" Knife displayed its Gemini-like skill slicing a ripe tomato and portioning off a crusty baguette.

With the ceviche marinating in the fridge and the Iconics set freshly rinsed (I don’t have a dishwasher, but the entire set is dishwasher-safe), each tool was returned to The Base—the utensils to the cubby, and the knives clipped to the hidden interior magnet.

As a non-cook (can I even call myself that anymore?), I never thought I’d feel this passionately about a knife set. Most of the tools are available for purchase individually or in smaller sets, but I personally can’t recommend the feeling of overhauling your entire kitchen tool set enough. The Iconics set retails for $245, which saves you more than half compared to the $480 value.

Shop the set that finally lured me into the kitchen for $245 at MaterialKitchen.com.