Just starting to cook? Need to know what are the most essential items to have in your kitchen? Domestic CEO gives her 4 savvy tips on how to stock a kitchen without busting your budget.
Kitchen Essential #3: Pots and Pans
Instead of purchasing an entire knife set just to have most of the knives sit idly in the block, consider purchasing just a few key knives to do the jobs you need.
Now that you have your cooking utensils stocked, it’s time to look for the pots and pans to cook in. Unless you are going to be cooking dinner for 12 on a regular basis, you can again get by with a very basic 8-piece cook set. This will include a small covered saucepan, a large covered saucepan, a small and large skillet, and a covered stockpot. If you do develop a habit for cooking, this set will be enough to let you create almost every recipe you can imagine. Do a little research before you go to the store to decide if you want to get aluminum non-stick, porcelain, or stainless steel cookware. I would recommend stainless steel only to those who are more experienced at the stove because it requires a slightly different cooking technique and care than non-stick or porcelain, but you can pick which is best for your needs and abilities.
If you think you are going to take up baking, there are just a few essential items to have in your oven. A 9” x 13” pan will allow you to make anything from lasagna to birthday cake. A large baking sheet can give you flexibility for cookies or even frozen pizza. And a muffin tin with 12 cups will allow you to make muffins, cupcakes, or any of those fancy “Breakfast in a Cup” type meals from Pinterest.
Kitchen Essential #4: Gadgets and Tools
I admit, I have waaaay more gadgets in my kitchen than I actually use. In my defense, almost every kitchen I’ve ever seen has way too many of these little items, too. If you walk into the kitchen section of almost any store, you will immediately be faced with a wall of gadgets you didn’t even know you needed. From brownie lifters to mango splitters, you can find a tool for each and every job you will do in the kitchen. Trust me when I tell you that, even if you buy these gadgets, when the time comes to get your brownies out of the pan, you are going to find the nearest fork because it’s easier than looking for your specialized brownie lifter. Stay away from any gadget that can only be used for one item of food or one type of job.
The only exception I make to this rule is a garlic press. If you like to cook with fresh garlic, a quality garlic press is a necessity. Other than that, the only gadgets you absolutely need to have in your kitchen are a can opener, corkscrew, vegetable peeler, a whisk, and an ice cream scoop (if you enjoy frozen desserts). Those 5 basic gadgets, combined with your knife set and cooking utensils will be able to create any meal you can imagine in your kitchen. The other basics to have in the kitchen are mixing bowls (one nesting set of 3 bowls is enough), measuring spoons and cups (both liquid and dry), and a strainer.
So there you have it, my list of the most essential items to have in a kitchen. Once you have these, you can cook a basic or fancy meal. Once you get into the routine of cooking, you may find that you need another item for your kitchen. Once you have identified the need, you can start looking for the tool, gadget, or pan to accomplish the goal. I would never advise purchasing anything you see for the first time and think, “Wow! That looks amazing. I would use that all the time.” 95% of the kitchen items in stores and on infomercials are items that will end up getting pushed to the back of your cabinets and forgotten. Stick to the basics, and you will have a perfectly stocked kitchen for any day of the week.
Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.