With the downturn in the economy, gone are the endless evenings of eating out and ordering in. Sticking to the simple things in life—staying home, reading a book, or cooking a meal—has suddenly become not just fashionable but fiscally necessary. As a result, the kitchen is taking center stage, and not merely as a showcase for your gleaming KitchenAid mixer. Everything, from the food itself to the fixtures and tools needed to prepare it, becomes important. Even the lowly stockpot is getting a makeover. The British architect John Pawson, for example, recently designed a standout set of cookware for the Belgian manufacturer Demeyere that combines formal simplicity with excellent functionality. (Visit Metropolismag.com for an interview with Pawson.) Here’s a selection of kitchen products that should help outfit even the most dismal cook in Iron Chef–worthy style.