Essential Kitchen Equipment


By: Nikki Nies

Since moving into my own apartment in August, I’ve got to admit I’ve cooked more in the last 4 months than I have in my entire 22 years of existence.  It’s the first time I’ve had my own [shared] space and the budgeter in me didn’t want to have to rely on Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice meals.  What kind of nutrition student would I be?

Having my own kitchen was the perfect jump start to my cooking career and I’m grateful to my parents for their generous donation of cooking supplies to my budget friendly kitchen.  However, there are more times than I’d like to admit that I’ve thought to myself “such and such tool would make this task easier” or having to find an alternative way to prepare a meal because I don’t have the necessary tool the recipe calls to use.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a month at my parents house, which is basically a kitchen oasis compared to my minimal kitchen equipment.  Not only have been able to abstain from such thoughts of “wishing” I had the equipment I needed, but just looking my parents spice rack gives me a euphoric feeling.  This got me thinking of what kitchen equipment not only makes the job easier, but more realistically able to be execute.

After looking at many suggestions on kitchen essentials, below is a list of some of the most commonly declared kitchen essentials.  As always, this list is only a recommended list of tools for the kitchen.  The word “essential” can be used subjectively and the list can be altered to meet individual kitchen needs.

Yes, the purchase on cooking tools can add up, but investing in quality products will cost less in the long run.  Waiting for holiday sales (i.e. I believe the next holiday sale is President’s Day in February) never hurts.  Also, delayed purchasing ensures you REALLY need a product.

In no particular order, some great cooking tools:

  1. Chef Knife: A great chef knife can cater to all your cutting needs (i.e. garlic, onions, potatoes, Screen-shot-2010-11-19-at-11.30.30-PM fruits, herb, vegetables and/or meat; one all around quality knife can trump 10 subpar knives
  2. Colander: Not only great for straining pasta, but also vegetables and salad greens
  3. Thermometer: Necessary to check the doneness of meringues, meat and poultry
  4. Peeler: Makes peeling vegetables easier, if intended to use peeling potatoes, make sure to purchase one with an eyer that will remove potato eyes; can be used to shave Parmesan cheese and make chocolate curls
  5. Whisks: If applicable, in assorted sizes on hand; can be used to beat eggs, eggs whites, salad dressings and/or dissolve liquids into solids; nylon material won’t scratch nonstick surfaces
  6. Steamer:
  7. Cast iron Skillet: Can be used to sear a steak, saute veggies, fry up some latkes or for a no-knead proof pizza; heavy weight makes it ideal of retaining heat; easy to clean; as with knives, quality trumps quantity; it’d be great to invest in a saute pan, large pot, sauce pan, etc
  8. Wooden Spoons: Great for stirring, tasting and all around use; comes in various shapes and sizes;
  9. Paring knife:  For small, fine cuts, look for a knife that is 3-4 inches; best for coring and peeling fruits and vegetables
  10. Locking tongs: Best if it has nonslip handles; can be used to turn meats, noodles, and/or tossing veggies

What kitchen utensils do you use on a daily basis and can’t live without?  What do you wish you had to make your cooking easier? I know the holidays are over, but it’s never too late to “treat” yourself.  Looking at this list may remind you of the tool you’ve stored away in your closet and you don’t need to purchase anything.  Shopping in your cupboards can be fun too!


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