Stocking Your Kitchen Series: TOOLS
The tools of the trade, well your trade.
Have you just moved into your new apartment and you’re looking at those bare kitchen cabinets in a panic? After years of mostly eating out and your kitchen gathering dust, are you ready to venture into the unknown?
Stocking your kitchen with the right tools can seem like a daunting task. There are so many options and possibilities and prices run the gamut from the super cheap to the ‘how much?!?’ and a quick Google search can render the kind of results that has you frozen in indecision. Well we’re here to help. You don’t have to buy EVERYTHING right now but there are some key basics that you can get to get you started and as you develop your cooking style you can add in tools as it becomes necessary. The one thing to keep in mind, stay away from one use tools, apart from a couple of exceptions, they take up valuable space in your kitchen.
There are 3 main areas you should keep in mind: cookware, slicing & mixing, and small appliances which we’ll dive in a bit about. See below for a printable detailed checklist of tools.
Let’s tackle cookware first. Quality and longevity is what you’re looking for in this category. You may be tempted to run to your nearest big box retailer and grab that set on sale for $50, hey who doesn’t want to save some money. But consider how long that set will last you and how many times you may need to replace it over the course of, say. 10 years. This is where we would advise spending a good amount of your budget. As an example, I’ve have my set of All Clad cookware for well over 10 years. Going with a lower quality product would’ve certainly meant several purchases at this point. The rule of thumb here is to choose a brand and line that provides even cooking and has a good weight to them. What does that mean? In the words of Tony Bourdain, if you’re not sure you could knock someone out with it, then it is not good enough.
We’d recommend any of their lines but their original series, the Master Chef II starter set will deliver quality performance at a lower price point. For a detailed list of what to start with see below for our printable checklist.
Stainless steel pots and pans are not the only things to be used for cooking. You will also want to be sure to have one good non-stick sauté pan in your arsenal as well as some sheet trays. Combined, this sets you up to tackle many dishes in a pinch.
SLICING, DICING, & MIXING
This section is where we could go on endlessly but we’ll keep it to the pure essentials. First off is the chef’s knife. Like the cookware, it pays to get a quality knife, the good thing is that there are a broad range of brands out there that you can try with varying price points. It is important when shopping for a knife to test it out, many cookware shops will have veggies on hand for you to test things out. Hold the knife, check the balance, ensure that the grip is comfortable. There is no need to start with the complete knife block of knives, most of them you will likely never use. Get a good chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. That is all you need at the outset, you can add to the collection as you expand your culinary chops.
Other tools that should be included for mixing, stirring, and everything in between are tongs, wooden spoons, heatproof spatulas, metal spoons (both slotted and non-slotted), ladle, and of course cutting boards. Yes, plural, one for veggies, and for meat at minimum.
Prepping without enough ramekins and mixing bowls can get ugly fast. A set of nesting glass bowls will provide the different sizes you’ll need and save on space. In addition get a few ramekins for smaller prep.
It’s not impossible to get by without small appliances but they can save you a lot of time and effort. Skip the toaster, especially if you have an oven, but do invest in a good blender, a Nutribullet will do fine to start. A food processor is the kitchen workhorse, from sauces, to hummus, to soups, it is a go to tool for a number of tasks. To round that out, add an immersion blender for the quick puree job and an easier cleanup than either the blender or the food processor. This is not an exhaustive list but a starting point.
For our complete Stocking Your Kitchen Series: Tools guide, click HERE.
See you in the Kitchen!