You’ve just settled into your first apartment. You start to make your first meal in your own kitchen. You discover, halfway through making dinner, that you don’t have the tools you need for what you want to do. What do you need in your kitchen? This checklist will help.
There are many specialized knives, and the households department of any department store will be happy to sell you more than you need. All you really need, unless you’re a professional chef, are four tools. A chef’s knife for cutting vegetables or raw meat, a paring knife for slicing and mincing, a serrated knife for slicing bread, meat, and soft vegetables, and a pair of kitchen shears are all most people really need.
If possible, buy oven-safe pots and pans that are uncoated stainless steel (not nonstick). Oven-safe cookware can be used on top of the stove or in the oven. A ten inch non-stick skillet, a two or three quart saucepan, and a large pot or Dutch oven, roughly seven to nine quarts, will get you started. You can add more pots and pans as your cooking needs grow. All should have lids. Some people prefer seasoned cast iron. Add more sizes as you need them, and always buy the best quality you can afford.
You’ll need three types of measuring tools: a set of measuring spoons, a set of dry measuring cups, and a liquid measuring cup. These are essential.
For baking, you will need mixing bowls, baking sheets, a square baking pan, a rectangular baking pan, and a cooling rack. You’ll eventually want to expand to pie pans, cookie cutters, loaf pans, and additional cooling racks, but this will get you started. A nesting set of three or more mixing bowls is a good beginning, preferably with lids. For baking cookies or toasting pumpkin seeds, you’ll want two or three baking sheets with a rim. A 9 x 13 tempered glass dish will handle cakes, lasagna, and casseroles. An 8 x 8 glass or metal baking pan will do for brownies, cornbread, and casseroles.
You’ll need a cutting board, wooden spoons, spatulas (both a rubber one for scrapping the sides of bowls and a metal offset one for flipping food over), ladle, tongs, whisk, vegetable peeler, instant read thermometer, timer, colander, cheese grater, and a can opener. There are many other kitchen tools, but these are the most important ones for most cooks.