Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
May 19, 2010 05:41 PM

Getting My First Apartment, Total Foodie--What Is Absolutely Necessary to Buy?

So I am moving out on my own, getting my first apartment. I love to cook, and want to not only cook a lot on my own, but also improve my cooking. So, what should I have? Types of pots, pans, utensils...anything you feel I need. Thank you for your help!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, instead of giving you tons of items, I will start of the most basics of all.

    You will need at least one cookware for small volume high heat fast cooking and one for bulk slow cooking. For fast cooking, you will need either a frying pan, a saute pan, a country frying pan, a skilet of a wok. Pick what you like the most. For slow cooking, you will need a stock pot, a Dutch Oven, a large sauce pan, a pressure cooker or an electric slow cooker. Your pick. Finally, you will probably need a medium saucepan. As for utensils, very simple things you will need like a can opener, a turner/spatula, a spoon, strainer and a pair of tongers.

    Milkyway, where are you moving to?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Agree with Wonder. A decent Chef's knife can a hufe difference. You don't need the most expensive one, but you must use one above and beyond those faberware knives from supermarkets. If you are looking for the standard, goes for Wusthof and Henckel Twins (not the Henckel International). If you want to spend less, try Dexter-Russell, Victorinox. If you want get more of a Japanese favor, then there are tons to choose from: Shun, Global, Tojiro, Fujiwara, Kanetsune ....

      In term of styles, there are several types of Chef's knife. The most common ones in US are the German Chef's knife

      , but there are the French Chef's knife. Many people use Santoku as their Chef's knife. Gyuto, Nakiri, Chinese Chef's (aka Chinese cleaver) are all good alternatives.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Oh my! I haven't been able to log on, and I have 45 responses!! That is fantastic!! :)

        But, I am actually just moving to an apartment in my college town in a rural part of the state.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thank you! That is well within a budget for a poor college student :)

      2. invest in a good 8-inch chef's knife. with proper care it will last a life time.

        same with an 8-inch and 10-inch cast iron skillet. not very expensive; i've had mine for almost 40 years.

        3-4 wooden spoons and rubber spatulas (oxo).

        a vegetable peeler (oxo).

        i use my spring-loaded tongs (oxo) every day.

        i also find a stainless steel dough blender (oxo) with blades very useful for chopping eggs and making mashed potatos for one.

        1 big strainer (more useful than a colander), 1 small

        an immersion blender with whisk attachment can be useful as a starter blender, food processor, hand mixer. kitchen-aid is worth the extra money.

        you'll need a big pot for pasta. as for saucepans, since i've acquired a rag-tag collection of calphalon over the years, so i'll let others weigh in on that.

        of course, measuring cups and spoons, plus a couple of mixing bowls.

        4 Replies
        1. re: wonderwoman

          Thank you for these fantastic ideas! I am definitely hoping to find a decent yet affordable chef's knife. Any suggestions for a good one that is more affordable?

          1. re: milkyway4679

            Victorinox all the way. ChemKin linked their 8" chef's knife a few posts up. While you're at it, get their paring knife and bread knife.

            This 4 knife set for $70 is pretty much all you need:

            1. re: BigE

              I've had one of these for about 6 years now and I love it! (I have a 10" though. I also have an 8" knife, but I find myself using the 10" the vast majoirty of the time.)

              1. re: flourgirl

                Excellent! I am definitely going to look into the Victorinox cause of everyone's recs. The one on amazon looks perfect, and fits right into my poor college student budget!

        2. A stock pot with a pasta insert and cover, not only pasta but can be used for steaming. A paring knife and a 6" cook's/utility knife(great for improving knife skills). A fish turner spatula.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SanityRemoved

            Now that is something I never would have thought of: a fish turner spatula! I do love fish and will definitely be eating it a lot. Thank you!

            1. re: milkyway4679

              If you've watched Jacques Pepin on TV, he always uses a fish turner (the long narrow kind) for almost everything, like flipping hamburgers, instead of a normal wide spatula. I haven't seen him do pancakes, and of course he never uses nonstick cookware that the metal fish turner might scratch.

              1. re: armagnac

                I have a plastic fish turner. Can't remember where I got it but it was really cheap.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Oo I will have to look for one of those...maybe somewhere online? Let me know if you remember!

                  1. re: milkyway4679


                    This looks pretty much like what I have but I bought it in a store. I DO remember that. Old age sucks :)

                2. re: armagnac

                  Well that would be perfect since I absolutely love hamburgers! I rarely watch Jacques, but I will have to see if I could find some episodes online to see what else he uses it for. Thanks for the ideas!

            2. Need? Well, then, I am one of those who says you can get by with just a cast iron pan. Seriously, save up for the really nice copper saute pan, but for now? Become master of a 9 inch Lodge pan (or an heirloom piece of cast iron, if you're lucky enough), and don't look back. Beyond that, silicone spatula, whip, a decent chef's knife that actually fits your hand, one really good paring knife, instant read thermometer, sturdy mixing bowls with steep sides, a 8x8 inch pan (pyrex or stoneware), a stock pot, a small pot, as as many kitchen towels as you can cram in a drawer. Heavy jelly roll pans (cookie sheets with sides). A silpat or its equivalent. A colander.

              If you're me, your burn treatment of choice (I like a local MSM cream).

              And as soon as you can, a kitchen aid mixer with a larger than average bowl.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Vetter

                I am going to look at the garage sales in my area for a good cast iron....I am hoping for an estate sale with an elderly woman who loved to cook! Well-seasoned, already good to go!

                In regards to the mixing you use glass/pyrex or something else? I see a lot of pyrex bowls in stores and wonder how sturdy they actually are!

                I won't need the burn cream haha, but I will need a big tube of neosporin and some bandaids! I always drop glasses, and cut myself cleaning up the mess!

                Ahh, a kitchen aid mixer. I have been drooling over the kitchen aid 5qt artisan stand mixer in red for quite some time, but that is definitely a wait-a-little-while purchase.

                Thanks for all the suggestions!

                1. re: milkyway4679

                  I found my KA stand mixer a few years ago on Amazon. It was "refurbished" but came with a full factory warranty and, if my poor memory serves me this time. it was about $170. It's white but so is flour :)

              2. Mortar and pestle. Grinding your own spices is a simple, inexpensive way to significantly improve your cooking.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Condimentality

                  Actually, I routinely grind my own spices and find that an inexpensive coffee mill does a better job than a m&p - you get more control and a better fine grind when needed. I have both gadgets btw and use the mill way more than the m and p.

                  1. re: Rasam

                    I will have to try both, since it seems like both options are inexpensive and I think my parents have an old coffee mill lying around the house that they never use. Thanks for the advice!