I was minding my own business, aimlessly perusing the internet in pursuit of a bread recipe when I found them. They were an assortment of small, limited-edition enamel pots from Danish cookware brand Dansk—the ultimate kitchen eye candy. They were tiny, they were pastel, they were $60, and they only had one purpose: To warm butter. Did I need them? No. Would I sacrifice my other kitchen tools, which seemed bland in comparison, in their favor? Absolutely.
In theory, these butter warmers do more than just heat dairy. A promotional photo shows one being used to serve a side of rice, the chic yellow lid doubling as a trivet. For the person who lives alone, the pots would undoubtedly be helpful in reducing meal waste—to say nothing of the ways a minuscule pot would revolutionize sauce-making.
However, the appeal of these Dansk pots lies not in their versatility but rather in how delightfully superfluous their original intent is. $60 for a pastel butter-warmer? This must be the height of luxury. I live in a rental apartment, and real estate in my small kitchen is at a premium. As such, it’s full of tools that prize budget and function over style; a practical solution for now but a far cry from my dream kitchen.
The idea of owning pastel butter-warming pots feels like an investment in future culinary activities—where my kitchen equipment would be more than strictly utilitarian and I would be the kind of person who hosts elaborate dinner parties with meals that require tiny saucepans for their creation. I imagine the vintage-inspired Dansk designs seeking permanent residence on my stove, a marker of the level of gastronomic sophistication I possess. “What’s that?” my dinner party guests would ask, intrigued. “Oh, that? That’s just my limited edition butter warmer,” I would respond nonchalantly. “Can I interest anyone in a bruléed pear amuse-bouche?”
There’s something indulgent about stylish yet largely unnecessary kitchen utensils that speak to a broader movement of designing for fun rather than just for practicality. We’ve seen this penchant for the playful echoed in a range of different areas—furry ottomans, anyone—and in a world where so much is stressful, why not have a little fun with your decor? If an enamel butter warmer isn’t your speed, we’ve rounded up a few other obscure “splurge” kitchen tools sure to bring a little joy into your day-to-day culinary ventures.
For Taco Tuesday
Skip the restaurant and make your own taco bar with this resin set as the star of the show. The personal set even comes with two salsa cups to hold your favorite taco accoutrements. You won’t miss traditional tableware when dining on this chic tray.
For Upping Your Countertop Game
Given that most supermarket spices come pre-ground, you probably don’t need this rainbow-hued grinder, but we’ll take any excuse to add an extra pop of color to our counters. The sculptural silhouette of this spice grinder makes it double as a decorative accent, even if you don’t use it for seasoning.
For Your Sweet Tooth
These tiny glass spoons are made for taking your time with the dessert course. When not in use, display them bundled together in a small ceramic vessel (might we suggest a repurposed candle jar?) on your counters—something this sweet deserves to be seen, not hidden away in a drawer with the rest of your flatware.
For Making Dinner Prep a Bit More Elevated
Sure, you could just make guacamole or pesto using a food processor, but using a marble mortar and pestle is so much more fun. When not in use, this carefully constructed piece would look stunning displayed on open shelving.
For the Appetizer Course
If you, too, aspire to be someone who casually owns tiny nut bowls, this hand-painted glass set is a good place to start. Make your pre-dinner snack feel instantly fancier by enjoying a handful of almonds or olives in these colorful dishes.
For Taking Your Spice Rack to the Next Level
Eschew mismatched spice containers for a primary-colored set that’ll pull your spice rack together. Bonus: Each tiny egg-shaped porcelain vessel comes with a built-in spoon for easy measuring.
For Your Bar Cart
You’ll feel like a pro bartender with these marble and soapstone drink rocks—they’re so much more sophisticated than regular ice cubes. Pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours before you need them, and then add them to your drink of choice. The geometric shapes will elevate even the most basic of beverages, guaranteed.
For Transforming Basic Groceries
Why keep an unsightly egg carton in the fridge when you can house your eggs—fresh or hard-boiled—on stylish display in an ash wood egg tray? This wooden piece is up there with a butter warmer in terms of function, but we can’t help but think how great it would look on a brunch tablescape as a new way to serve soft-boiled eggs.
See more chic kitchen tools:
This Kitchen Tool Might Be Unnecessary, But I Can’t Live Without It
This Japanese Cleaning Tool Is Genius (and Costs Less Than $7)
What to Buy the Budding Chef in Your Life, According to Alison Roman