There are few things as exciting as the first time you have your own place. Whether that’s an apartment with friends after college or getting married; and whether you shop at Target or Dillards, it’s a fun time. In all the hub bub that surrounds these transitions, perhaps one of the most confusing parts is deciding what you need to set up house.
Do we need glass and stainless steel mixing bowls? Should we have iced tea spoons? Do we need all those little weird utensils that take up your drawer space- I mean, who really needs a ladle? Or an egg slicer?
So, in honor of the sweet new brides and college grad’s we have in my church right now, here is a beginner’s guide to setting up the basics in a kitchen, as you are learning the art of cooking:
1. Pots and Pans: 1 large non-stick skillet, 2 medium pots with lids, 1 large stock pot (think big enough to cook a big pot of chili)
2. Baking sheets: 1 cookie sheet (as large as your oven will hold), 1 muffin tin, 1 cooling rack large enough to hold two round cakes, 2 round cake pans
3. Baking Dishes: 2 9×13 glass baking dishes, 1 loaf pan (can be glass or metal)
4. Preparation Tools: 1 set of good knives, 1 set of glass or metal mixing bowls, 1 large cutting board, 1 colander/strainer, a set each of measuring cups and spoons, 1 2 cup (or larger) measuring cup , vegetable peeler
5. Small Kitchen Appliances: Crock pot, coffee maker (if either of you are coffee people), toaster, hand mixer, blender/food processor combo, manual/electric can opener
6. Utensils: whisk, large slotted spoon, ladle, rubber spatula, metal tongs, metal spatula, large serving spoon
With these 33 items, you have enough to get started. Remember, most items can be used for multiple purposes. For example, a cookie sheet will bake cookies and also heat a frozen pizza or frozen garlic bread. Mixing bowls can also serve salad or chips for a party. A round cake pan will bake canned cinnamon rolls or a quiche. Over time, there are a few other items that you can begin to add to make cooking and serving easier:
1. Baking: bunt pan, rolling pin, micro plane grater, mini muffin tins
2. Cooking: double boiler, basting brush, meat thermometer, steamer basket
3. Serving: a few platters, a cake plate with lid, salad bowl w/tongs
4. Utensils: egg slicer, meat fork, melon baller, metal skewers
5. Small Appliances: waffle iron
And here is my one favorite, can’t live without it, kitchen tool:
This is a biscuit cutter. The kind our grandma’s used when cutting out homemade deliciousness years ago. Now I only make biscuits a few times a year, but I use this tool weekly for chopping everything and browning meat. If you brown ground beef, turkey or sausage in a stainless steel skillet you can use the cutter to crumble your meat. Also if you boil or roast chicken that you need chopped for casseroles, soups or salad you can drop them in a bowl hot and chop them up without burning your hands. It works great with nuts, raw veggies- you name it.
So what about you? What’s your favorite kitchen tool you can’t live without or the one item in your kitchen that does the most work for you?