First House! What equipment do we need?
My two best friends and I just signed the lease on our first house. We love to cook and we're trying to come up with a list of essentials so that we can split them up and buy what we need.
We're college students, so we're required to have a dining plan. Two of us eat in co-ops, where we can take ingredients home with us if we like (mostly basics). All this is to say that we'll be doing a moderate amount of cooking. We looooove to cook and two of us have had jobs cooking.
Right now we have:
Knives (santoku, bread, pairing, tomato, and some cheapies).
Cutting boards (plastic and bamboo)
A stick blender
pop corn popper
3 minifridges (we'll probably sell 2, keep one as a beer fridge, and use the money from the other two to reinvest in other equipment)
spoons and other stirrers
Right now we want:
A food mill, and probably a microwave.
We can just kind of accumulate stuff as we need it, but our college is in the middle of no where so it'll be walmart stuff mostly unless we plan ahead and buy things over the summer.
my suggestions to start off with:
1)regular size frig w/ freezer on bottom/ no icemaker
3) mini cuisinart (cheese , nuts, small puree jobs)
-heavy metal measuring cups
-rubber and pancake spatulas
-lots of plastic containers - Sterilite is best brand for the money. Use these reusable containers and you'll spend almost no money on saran or foil.
- heavy duty metal pot scrubber (looks like much larger, sturdier, thicker ribboned-brillo pad)
- thick pot holders (go to restnt supply store for these and above)
- 9" square ceramic bake pan
9 x 13" ceramic or no stick heavier baking pan(brownies, chicken, lasagna etc.)
10" pie pan- glass (quiche, pies, casseroles)
Homegoods/Marshalls often has alot of these things.
forget the food mill. you can get that way later.
A good non-stick or cast iron skillet, a deep soup pot or Dutch oven, measuring cups and spoons, electric mixer, one or two casseroles or pyrex dishes (9"x9"" or 9"x 13") for meals or for baking, colander, slotted spoons, spatulas, ladle, vegetable peeler, tongs, pasta "spork", can opener. Also oven mitts/potholders, trivet for hot stuff, big salad bowl. you can probably pick up a bunch of this stuff at garage sales or for cheap...check out freecycle.
One more: toaster oven. Makes toast, can cook chicken/burger/entrees -- very versatile and it'll save you on energy vs. heating the whole stove for a frozen pizza. And don't worry, you don't have to spend a lot, more of them are crappy so go for the lowest price, least amount of options as it won't last more than 5 years.
you can also wait on the popcorn popper. don't waste your money on items that only do one thing. you can cook delicious popcorn on the stove or ok popcorn in the microwave.
don't waste money on sets of pots and pans. buy a big pot, like for pasta and soup and mid-size saucepan. a nonstick skillet for eggs and pancakes.
rather than a "salad bowl", get a set of nested glass bowls. various sizes can be used for mixing, serving and storage.
instead of a mini-food pro, buy a box grater.
i don't like storing food in plastic of any kind, so use glass containers with fitted lids.
eta: woops! i see you already have the popper. i manage just fine without a microwave.
Hi Luciaannek--congrats on the house!
I think you'll get better responses on either the Cookware or General Chowhounding board
Have a read of this:
I think it covers most of the essentials, and while some of the gadgets he says not to buy are useful to have in certain cases, they are definitely not the first thing you should focus on acquiring.
For the most part, I would wait and see what kind of things you find yourself needing, or wanting to replace (i.e., this pot doesn't distribute heat well or isn't big enough, so I'll get something similar but better). If the stuff you have is doing the job, then no need to replace it.
Wal-Mart does have a few good things - Lodge cast iron, as well as the Tramontina tri-ply line. They don't carry all of these products in most locations, but they will ship it to your local Wal-Mart for free. I would spend a bit more for the Tramontina tri-ply line if you're going to go the Wal-Mart route.
Also, Food Service Warehouse is having a free shipping deal with no minimum order right now, so that's one way to get some good, durable stuff at a reasonable price if there isn't a kitchen supply store close by you. Some good things to get from there... tongs, metal mixing bowls in various sizes (I like the heavy duty Browne Halco ones, as well as Polar Ware), measuring spoons / cups, sheet pans, colanders or strainers, pots / pans, etc.
You don't mention what pans you have or how many people you're usually cooking for, but I think a large (4-6 qt) sauté pan with tall straight or rounded sides, a 10" stainless steel skillet (with aluminum core or sandwich / disk bottom), small and large saucepans (2 qt and 3.5-4 qt), a large stockpot, and a 10" or 12" cast iron or carbon steel skillet (don't spend more than $25) would be the most important pans to have, in rough order of importance. Possibly a nonstick skillet if you want -- I'd get a heavy-duty commercial kitchen one with the toughest coating possible, probably Ceramiguard II.
If you eat a lot of rice, especially brown rice, quinoa, or other grains, you may want to look into a rice cooker.