Saturday, April 30, 2011

essential kitchen equipment 1.2


small pot (preferably with lid)
big pot (with lid)
two baking sheets
deep baking pan (preferably glass)
measuring cups/spoons
big mixing bowl
small mixing bowl
two wooden spoons
serving spoon
toaster oven
large frying pan (non-stick)
colander/large mesh strainer
kettle (electric or regular)
pot holders/thick dish rags
2-cup glass measuring cup
cocktail shaker
2 foldable plastic cutting boards
citrus juicer
ice trays
egg beater
blender/food processor
cheese grater
chef's knife
paring knife
large chopping knife
bread knife
bottle opener
garlic press
wok (with lid)
assorted storage containers (preferably glass)

These are, offhand, the things I use all the time in my kitchen (not counting dishes and utensils, major appliances, or cleaning supplies). Did I miss anything that you consider essential? Is there anything there you think is redundant? We're making a list for my friend Steve who wants his kitchen to grow up.


  1. Ahhh the under-appreciated (admittedly plebeian) Can Opener. No one likes to admit having bought one, but when you find yourself without, it is quite a pickle. And doubly voted to make it to the short list because I LOVE REFRIED BEANS.

  2. I would avoid glass baking dishes. they're fine until defects or wear cause one to act like a molotov cocktail in your oven

  3. garlic presses are a waste. steve can get by with one baking sheet. and the only two knives he really needs is a pairing knife and a chef's knife (the chef's knife can cut bread and stuff), but he will need one of those sharpening steel things.

    rather than some generic non-stick, steve needs a cast iron skillet, the most versatile pan around: it's naturally nonstick, it can be heated to exorbitant temperatures (unlike teflon or whateves that SMOKES POISON after, like, 300 degrees), you can throw it in the oven (which makes braising really easy), and it's incredibly cheap and lasts like hundreds of years or something. and it keeps you from being anemic! it's magical.

  4. and it's heavy enough to thwart intruders with a swift knock to their heads.

  5. Meagan: Can opener! Excellent addition, not sure how I missed that.

    Laura: I've shattered one because I put it in a cold sink too soon after taking it out of the oven, but I've never had one break in the oven. Good thing to be wary of.

    Wells: Cutting bread with a chef's knife always squishes up the bread. Just not right. I agree the larger knife can be done without, but two baking sheets are essential for not going crazy while trying to bake cookies or something similar.

    A cast iron skillet was considered for the list, but I've never bought one because I've always lived with slobs who would totally destroy it before I got much good out of it. It's on my housewarming wish list for Michigan, though. Pretty excited about that, actually. Also Steve already has one, apparently, so he wins.

  6. if the knife is good and sharp, it cuts bread just fine. ask jacques pepin.

  7. dearest wells and wendy,

    you NEED a serrated knife of some sort in the kitchen, but the first 3 knives listed i lump into a large chef's knife that is painfully sharp (a sharp serrated knife is good, too). those are the only two knives i use, without a serrated knife, you are slicing bread using downward force, likely "squishing" it (which doesnt necessarily ruin the bread so maybe it isnt essential, but YOU try making centimeter-thick garlic cheesies with squished bread, BAH!)
    but with a serrated knife you use a lateral force to slice the bread, which is generally deemed preferable.

    my rationale on the lumping of 3 knives into one sharp chef's knife is that i can (and do) exclusively use one for everything from trimming and cleaning bell peppers and strawberries to slicing garlic in that godfather style of REALLY REALLY thin slices that melt when sauteed.

    from pan.

    ps cast iron is awesome too.

  8. Yes, squished bread is the worst.

    I prefer to have knives of various sizes partly because they're convenient but also because preparing a multi-course (or just complicated) meal in a small kitchen is easier when you don't spend half your time washing the tools you need every five seconds. Or maybe I just like sharp things. I really should use my mandoline slicer more often.

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