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Jan 21, 2012 11:22 PM

Finally Renovated My Kitchen -- What are the Essentials?

After nearly thirty years of living in my Philadelphia row home, I now have a well-organized kitchen with up-to-date appliances, more-than-adequate story space, and pleasing design. (Love my copper counters and built-in cutting board!)

As I move things in, I am becoming acutely aware I want cooking tools that are going to be used frequently rather than clutter. I firmly believe one cannot organize clutter.

So far I have my cast iron small fry pan, large fry pan, Dutch oven; stainless steel stock pot, sauce pans, large fry pan. Recently bought a Cuisinart blender highly rated for making smoothies that I love and a set of five glass prep bowls. Still holding onto a Black and Decker toaster oven that works well.

What do you think is essential to have in a kitchen for someone who enjoys cooking from scratch? (A friend has called me a "natural cook." I understand the basics and can improvise, too.)

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  1. My favorite newest tool is a power blender/wisk. Bought one for my son when he was visiting and used it at my house. Its small, very versatile and most important to me, easy to clean. Got one for myself and love it - they're fairly inexpensive as well.

    1. A stand-up mixer and a food processor. Fantastic usages for both.

      1. Hoo boy, I went through THAT process myself a few years ago, with a major kitchen reno. The thing is, we went from more storage to a bit less due to our new kitchen design (if you click on my profile you can see the pictures). Meaning everything has its place and if I bring something IN to the kitchen, something HAS to leave. I had to sort/sift everything out, and yes, I do everything from scratch. So to answer your question, this is what I distilled down:
        1. Cookware -- 1 great set of cookware with a lid for every pot, 2 non-stick frypans. Knife block with great (not exceptional) knives. Thats it, that's all.
        2. Appliances -- toaster, large kitchenaid, bosch concept 7 mixer with attachments, microwave, Kitchenaid hand blender, small electric hand mixer.
        3. Coffee! Bean grinder, rancilio espresso machine.
        That's pretty much it. Of course, assorted wooden spoons spatulas etc.
        The only items on my counter are the toaster, the knife block and the coffee stuff, and there's a special shelf for the (rarely used) microwave.
        Check out my pics! And post yours! I love seeing kitchen renos!

        1. Williams Sonoma 10 piece nesting bowl set. I used to give these as wedding shower presents back when all my friends were getting married. Throughout the years, I've had comments on how often they get used. There's a bowl for every need and they match everything. I broke the biggest bowl in my set which sucks because they no longer sell the huge bowl. (I should steal one from one of my friends. lol.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: mtoo

            I have this. Received it 15 years ago, and loved it fiercely.i only have the big bowl left

            1. re: sunangelmb

              Mine are at least 10 years old. The bowls on the website look a little different than mine and according to the reviews, they are using a new manufacturer. I love my nesting bowls. Probably the thing I use the most in my kitchen. (Well, maybe I use my wine glasses a little bit more.)

              eta: a little google search shows that Crate and Barrel carries the same thing for $10 less.

            2. re: mtoo

              I LOVE these bowls and use them all the time. It's really helpful to have the smaller prep bowls keeps things much more organized when you're working on cooking.

            3. An immersion blender. Perfect for pureeing soups quickly and without the added clean-up that comes from using a blender.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CindyJ

                +1. I got mine two years ago and really cannot remember what I did without it. Someone in this house uses it every single day, either for smoothies, blend soups, or the mini fp attachment to chop herbs and onions quickly.