what to buy for a new (home) kitchen
Looking at what one actually needs in terms of kitchen equipment for a new home.
These are the items that I think would be useful:
Kitchen Aid mixer
good set of knives
Not sure if these are necessary but they sound great:
Not really useful:
bread making machine (takes up too much space)
George Foreman grill
I'd flip-flop the rice cooker and slow cooker/crockpot. I'd find the crockpot WAY more useful than a rice cooker. I'm just a pot-on-the-stove type of rice cooker person.
In addition, as Tony O suggested - good cutting boards, a graduated set of measuring cups and spoons (I like the Tupperware ones with the additional 1/8 tsp. and 1/2 Tbsp. and the 1/3 and 2/3 cup measuring cups), and tongs and several different size whisks.
And wooden spoons - GOOD hardwood wooden spoons, not the flimsy pine crap they sell. Try and find olivewood - I'm always reaching for wooden spoons over almost any other utensil for stirring. I collect antique ones - stronger wood, well used and well loved and have probably about 20 of them in varying sizes and shapes.
Mixing bowls - My old standby is always the set of Pyrex graduated sizes in whatever pattern/color happens to strike my fancy.
Little spreader knives - you can find plain stainless steel - I use these all the time when I need a Tbsp. of butter. Also good for cheese plates when entertaining.
As for knives - don't go with a set. Go handle several different types of knives and see how the feel in the hand - weight, fit, ease of use. You might find you like a Henckel's Professional S for one type of use, and a Global for another. Pick and choose among them.
I may be alone in this but I ahve never seen the need for a rice cooker. I have never had any trouble cooking rice of any sort. As to a set of knives, as much as the producers would like you to buy sets and obtail things you don't/won't use or need. The better way is to pick out individual knives sleecting them for use and how they fit your hand. A nice Le Creuset casserole is a better selection than a slow cooker/crockpot and more versatile too. Pressuer cookers and waffle bakers need a place to be stored but if you have either and like brbg ibg them out a few times a year then okay, the rest of the stuff is nice but.....
TonyO's ideas are good. To his list I would add measuring spoons too and both measuring cups and spoons in odd sizes too. Funnels in metal and plastic and assorted sizes. A few bib aprons. A scale, eletronic which can measure on oz and grams, Piza stone and peel. A mortar and pestle is handy to have too. Oh a good can opener, the sort which breaks the seal with the lid and never comes in contact with the food.
Kitchen Aid mixer - agree, we use ours all the time
food processor - we don't have one, but it is on the top of our list of what we want next, just easier to use than the alternative.
rice cooker - I agree with candy, never had the need for one and our rice always turns out great.
toaster - yep (toaster oven's are also nice, and are great for reheating pizza, cooking a small batch of fries, etc.
good set of knives - yep - would look at buying the knives individually, starting with the ones you use most.
Not sure if these are necessary but they sound great:
crockpot/slow cooker - don't use ours a ton, but when you do, it's irreplacable
pressure cooker - ?
Not really useful:
bread making machine (takes up too much space) We actually use our once a week. It makes great bread and we also use it for pizza dough.
waffle iron - we use our waffle iron all the time - it's great, and makes for a nice breakfast. We have - http://www.3luxe.com/best_ofs/Waffle_...
sandwich maker - nope
George Foreman grill - never had one
The food processor and KitchenAid are bread makers--they will allow you to make better bread than a bread machine.
What about a grill pan instead of a foreman?
A toaster oven instead of a toaster? This is really the unsung hero of appliances--great for toasting nuts and other small jobs.
If you are going to get a rice cooker you won't need a slow cooker, a rice cooker can do all of that. I suggest getting "The Ultimate Rice Cooker cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman to show you all the ways it can be used. That is if you get it, I would put it in the pretty nice to have category, though I am sure you'd survive without it.
I agree with the toaster oven, it can do so much more than just a toaster, make sure you get one that has a top mount to mount to the underneath of your cabinent if you want to save on counter space.
I have a waffle iron I use it quite a bit, with a good waffle mix it is a treat and really fast to make. Mine is fairly small and stores upright. I also have a small george forman grill which I received as a gift. I use it for bacon, sausage, hotdogs, and grilled sandwiches which is fairly often. I like it because I just stick it in and tend to my other items I am cooking and bacon is the best because I don't have to deal with all the grease popping up at me. Also I don't have to use butter on my grilled sandwiches because of the non-stick part of it. On the other hand it does take up precious counter space. All of these things depend on your personal preferences.
Good-sized pastry board if you bake pies and tarts with any frequency. Cookie sheets and Silpats (or equivalent) to line them with.
I agree with TonyO and Candy about tongs--heatproof fingers!--and knife sets and a scale and staying away from dedicated gadgets like a rice cooker or bread maker. Similarly with a dedicated double boiler--a stainless steel bowl (get several, in different sizes, Bed Bath & Beyond has inexpensive sets) perched over a smaller-diameter saucepan of water does the job just fine. Two or three Pyrex measuring cups in different sizes are very handy.
I get a lot of use out of a mid-price (under $100) microwave for defrosting. Oh, and a big (10- or 12-quart) stock pot for cooking pasta and making stock.
I forgot to mention a good heavy ball-bearing loaded rolling pin. Banton is a good brand. I have several pins of different types and weight. French taperd type, a very narrow antique for pasta doughs, marble and most often reach for the Banton. WS carries the odd sized measuring cups and spoons. When you are doing a lot of cooking or bakining they can be real time savers. Yes, I know measuring our 2/3 C. using a 1/3 C. measure twice seems like a little thing or 1.5 C. But doing it in one motion is amazingly more efficient.
a no frills blender with a glass carafe
marble pastry board-if you like to bake
simple French rolling pin
balloon and straight whisk.
probe thermometer (digital, direct or remote, your choice)
I would have more use for a toaster oven than a G Foreman grill.
a spice-coffee grinder
ABC fire extinguisher(just in case)
a nice selection of cast iron pans and a dutch oven of some sort
electric coffee maker or French press.
baking stone and a digital scale is a great idea, if you like to bake
bake ware- I like the Chicago Metallic professional line.
wooden spoons and silicone spatulas
I have never had a need for a rice cooker, but its a person decision.
Slow cookers can be useful, if you have the storage space.
Pressure cookers can be nice if you will use it, but don't buy it used.
A good roasting pan w/rack (mine's a Calphanon SS one) has proved extremely useful to me for the past year since I've had it. It gets used about two times/week hereabouts, and nothing else can do what it can.
I also have an (KitchenAid) immersion blender - it works quite well, but isn't something I use every week. For blending soups and such, it's quite handy, although nothing a good food processor can't do.
All nice suggestions, some I have and other have no need for, but want! I just thought I'd add some things that are utile, but have that little something extra: the beauty that we like to see in our cooking speaces, whether we are minimalists or farmhouse-oriented.
Some mixing bowls you think are lovely enough to serve in.
One (or more) large and attractive platter.
A well-balanced and attractive pitcher is very useful.
A sizeable mortar and pestle is suprisingly handy, and looks great if you have the display space (see this week's NYTimes Style/Living supplement for a beautiful one). I use mine more because it's beautiful and out there, not tucked in a cupboard.
Lots of smallish bowls and plates, separate from your china/stoneware/whatever pattern. Makes for great option with presentations or for snack trays. Check out your local Asian market for these.
Sounds silly and anachronistic is light of all the equipment in the previous posts, but a number of gravy-boat type pitchers are so useful. Take up little space, but when you need something for the task, they're there.
As long as I'm on a serving piece tangent, buy lots of larger serving spoons and forks (cheap in a resto supply), and a few spreader knives if you entertain.
Good additions, cayjohan. There's also the unexpected usefulness factor: I bought a dozen small square glass dishes at Crate & Barrel for serving things like ice cream or olives, but have found them incredibly useful for mise en place: minced garlic here, chopped parsley there, lemon zest somewhere else etc. There are some recipes where by the time you've prepped the individual components there's nothing left to do but drain the pasta and combine, and it's great to have all those ingredients lined up and ready.
I agree totally - and if you're doing a home mise en place for a single dish, I have found the wide-bowled ceramic Asian soup spoons to be a wonderful thing. They sit flat, have a convenient handle to use for additions, and take up less room in the wash-up. Plus, the cognoscenti like to serve amuse bouches in a spoon, so it ups the star-power potential of the dinner party to have some of these. That, and they can be a great rest for a western wooden spoon!
I like the little shallow clear glass bowls that hold about a heaping Tbs. or maybe an egg yolk. I get then at Bed Bath etc. Arcoroc makes them. I think they are .99 each. I have them in use daily.
Sur La Table has some great plain white porcelain pieces. I have 2 oval bowls which are super for spreads like the country ham and bourbon I posted last week. Very handy for nuts too.
What a GREAT idea for the Asian spoons. I've always preferred them as soup spoons, but gosh they really would work well as micro mis en place! Thanks.
Don't buy a mid-priced set of knives...buy one good chef's knife, a cheap serrated bread knife, and a smaller paring knife.
A food mill. Costs around $15. You can make applesauce, "mashed" potatos, "mashed" yams....they are popular in France...hand crank handle and three discs with different sizes for coarse or fine grinds.
Get a 3-cup and 6-cup pyrex measuring cup....more like a batter bowl, but the handle is so much easier to use than most decorative batter bowls, plus they're stackable in the cupboard and great for storing soups or wet foods you need to pour back into a saucepot to heat or just stick strait into the mike.
I'd cancel the rice cooker also. The Foreman grill with sandwich and waffle plates covers alot of territory. I'd add some assorted silicone scrapers. If you want great non stick pans you can't beat cast iron, they are easy to cure and last forever. I also have a penchant to antique gadgets like rolling pins and knives,they have history and character. You can clean and sanitize them with cleaner from restaurant supply. My favorite finds are steel (not stainless) blade slicing and serrated bread knives. When cleaned,sharpened and oiled they hold a razor sharp edge and slice thinner than more modern knives.
It really depends on what you usually cook.
You definitely need:
1. a good set of knives.
2. mixer (if you bake a lot)
3. toaster (cause it's convenient).
Nice to have:
1.. Some sort of grill (stove top cast iron, electric, or george foreman). And what I do is I use grill press to make paninis on the on the grill (so no need to buy sandwich maker)2.
2.. waffle iron (cause if you want waffle and and if you don't have one of these, there isn't anything you can do to make the waffles).
Depends on what you usually cook. For me, i can't live without a rice cooker since I eat mostly Asian food with some rice (and good ones, like mine, keep the rice nice, warm, and fresh for at least 3 days straight). My rice cooker also act as slow cooker/crockpot, pressure cooker, and more, and it was almost 180 (Cuckoo rice cooker---it's Korean). If you eat rice only once a while, you can make perfectly fine rice on a pot (except it won't keep for days).
2 -12 x 17 or 13 x 18 jelly roll pans (cookie sheets with sides)
1 -10 x 15 jelly roll pan
Two 9" round cake pans
9" and/or 10" spring form pan(s)
9" x 13" rectangular baking pan
8" and/or 8" square baking pan
quiche pan with removable bottom
12-cup tube pan or Bundt pan
small and large off-set spatulas
The above, while often used for baking, are useful to non-bakers also.
Darker metal pans tend to toughen whatever is next to the surface, so get light-colored pans.
Also, if you have only one oven, you might want to consider a tabletop convection oven. They are generally bigger than toaster ovens and are good for small to medium-sized casseroles.
My favorite gifts are good quality toiletries (for the kitchen).
Williams-Sonoma has an array of hand soap, hand lotion & matching kitchen candles. There dish soap, dishwaher soap, counter spray, window cleaner & powder surface scrub are all wonderful too.
I tend to lean towards the Williams-Sonoma Valencia Orange Essential Oil Collection, as the "orange" both matches my accent color & smells wonderful.
The dish towels & flour sack towels hold up very well.