Okay I’m going to try not to go too crazy here. I admit, I love kitchen gadgets. But I’ve also been a starving grad student that didn’t have an electric mixer for a long time, so I understand that not everyone can get the fancy tools that TV chefs use (I’m still drooling over a KitchenAid stand mixer). So here are a few basics that I think everyone should have:
Pots and Pans:
- One very large pot (think big pot of chili, or 5 quarts), and one medium pot (think cooking pasta, or 2-3 quarts)
- One large pan (over 10″), and one medium one (about 8″)
- Grill pan – Okay so I think this is essential, but you can certainly use your “one large pan” if you don’t have one
- Glass pans – One 9×13″ pan and one 8×8″ pan. I unabashedly love Pyrex, but any brand will do.
- Cookie sheet
- Rice cooker – Yes, you can make rice in a pot on the stove. But, as my Japanese boyfriend had vehemently pointed out before I eventually switched over, rice on the stove is so much more difficult and it just doesn’t taste the same! A rice cooker makes everything so easy, and they’re not too expensive. You don’t need a fancy one that has a million different settings. Mine only has two: cook and warm, and I love it. I really recommend everyone have one.
- Knives – at least one good chef’s knife and one serrated knife, but any knife set should have those
- Mixing bowls – I also use these as serving bowls!
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons – I also include having a 2-cup and/or 4-cup glass measuring cup
- Wooden spoons
- Peeler – nothing beats an amazing peeler, trust me.
- Grater and zester – not as necessary, but I still find myself using them all the time. And unfortunately, there really aren’t shortcuts for those ones.
Awesome, but not necessary:
- Crock pot – I seriously debated putting this on the necessary “etcetera” list. But, when push comes to shove, you don’t have to have one. Still, I really recommend everyone does. It’s so easy to put food in the crock pot before you leave for work and then come home to a nice, already-cooked meal. You can make these foods in your “very large pot” on the stove, but you would have to babysit it all day.
- Food processor – I didn’t have one until recently, and I love it. But you can still chop everything very finely and it will still work.
- Electric mixer – So I don’t have my KitchenAid yet, but I do have a hand-held electric mixer. But, some good ol’ elbow grease can always do the trick.