We queried Perelman about her essential kitchen tools and one of the most versatile for her is a cast iron skillet. Lodge manufactures its wares in the USA and they're easy on the wallet. This 12-inch option is $37. "You can use it as a roasting pan and you can use it as a frying pan to cook anything on the stove," she says. "Mine cost $20 full price. If you take care of it, you could hand it to your grandkids. Cast iron pans are great, especially if you're feeling broke and it's your first kitchen."