We’ve all been there: mid-recipe, riding a high of our own initiative, cooking for the first time in weeks when, suddenly, the unthinkable happens. Eyes scan to the next instruction and a wave of defeat washes over us when we realize that our kitchen is woefully understocked, and we’re missing a key kitchen tool to finish our meal. The mess in the sink is like a burial ground — the ghost of a meal, the only evidence of the dinner that might have been. Looks like it’s toast for dinner again. But wait! There’s hope! Save yourself the heartbreak and try some of these kitchen improvisations that may salvage your next cooking blunder.

1. Substitute a vegetable peeler for a cheese grater.

I happen to have a cheese grater because my roommate recognizes only two food groups: “cheese” and “not cheese.” If you’re not as lucky, take a vegetable peeler to a block of cheddar for the same effect.

My roommate. Every night. Courtesy of gifsfln.tumblr.com

2. Swap out a blender for a food processor.

You probably could have figured this one out but, in case you didn’t, I did for you. Lana knows.

Courtesy of gimmemoah.wordpress.com

3. Switch a shot glass for measuring cups.

One shot glass is 1/8 of a cup, so use accordingly. You might need to test it by first filling it with tequila and then drinking in one sip. You know, just to make sure it works.

4. Sub in a grill pan for a grill.

You probably don’t already have a grill pan in your kitchen, but you should because they’re awesome. Achieve the same grill lines and smoky flavor on your stove as you would on a normal grill.

Bonus: Substitute a pen for a corkscrew.

Having a bottle of wine with no way of opening it may be my own personal hell. Use a pen or similar blunt instrument to jam the cork into the bottle. Just think of the little chunks of cork in your wine as a reward for your hard work.
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