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Kitchen Essentials

What are some must have kitchen essentials? My gf and I live in an apartment and would like some cookware that we can take with us for the long haul. Lets pretend we just moved into the apartment and have NOTHING at all for the ktichen. What would you guys suggest to us as a wishlist?

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    1. In Michael Ruhlman's (highly recommended) The Elements of Cooking, he lists just five essential items for a kitchen, in order of importance:

      Chef's knife, large cutting board, large sauté pan, flat-edged wood spoon, large Pyrex (or similar) bowl.

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        1. Hi, Dex:

          'Must-have' and 'essentials' are pretty elastic terms. Many households in the world get by with one or two pans. Martha Stewart probably has thousands. As in "just starting out", I'd recommend:

          1. Skillet or frypan. (If you fry or saute a lot, get two in different sizes. If you get two, consider making one cast iron. If you cook eggs a lot and don't believe the health claims against Teflon, consider making one of the skillets a non-stick).

          2. Two saucepans with lids, probably 2Q and 3Q.

          3. A chef's knife, parer and a bread knife.

          4. A 5-6Q "Dutch Oven"-type lidded pan that can go in the oven and on the stove. If you make a lot of soup or pasta, add a really cheap 8-10Q stockpot.

          5. A strainer or colander.

          6. A small collection of potholders, wooden spoons, spatulas, spreaders, scissors, and corkscrew.

          7. A good cookbook, and a recipe box.

          8. A salad bowl.

          Hope this helps.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kaleokahu

            I like this list and would add tongs.

          2. The very minimal tools are the following:

            1) A Chef's knife (it does not have to be a Western Chef's knife)
            2) A cutting board
            3) A frying pan or a saute pan
            4) A large saucepan
            5) Various utensils like spatula, spoon....etc.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Really Chem, it doesn't have to be a Western Chef's? So shocked to hear you say that. ;-)

              1. re: strangemd

                What's up, buddy. :)

                How is everything? I assume your dear daugther still likes her knife. How about you? Have you ever gotten any knife for yourself? :D

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I did finally give in to temptation and get a Takeda 210 Gyuto. It's utterly fantastic. Stays sharp for months even with daily use, and so far all I've done is pass it over a ceramic hone twice a week. Plus, the blade height works very well with my technique--no knuckle scrapes. And the kurouchi finish is lovely.
                  Next thing among knives will probably be a Deba or maybe a heavy cleaver for breaking down larger beasts.

                  1. re: strangemd

                    <Stays sharp for months even with daily use>

                    You had it for months, and didn't even tell us about it. :P I am very glad to hear it is working out for you. For some reasons I cannot explain, I used to dislike the kurouchi (black) finish, but now I love it. I may very well get a Takeda one day -- although I may not get a gyuto. Thanks for your update.

            2. I literally did just move into an apartment with my fiancee and we have pretty much nothing. The only thing we already had was a bamboo cutting board and my santoku, nakiri and utility knife.

              I am in Japan now so the appliances are a little different, but the appliances that I bought are:

              1. Electric hot water dispenser
              2. Rice cooker
              3. Toaster oven
              4. Portable induction unit as my cooktop
              5. Fridge
              6. Microwave/steam/oven unit

              We bought one 28" frying pan, and one pot, I don't remember the size, but large enought to boil pasta, cook stew, etc. We will eventually buy a smaller pot for sauces or hard boiling eggs or whatever. We may or may not buy a second IH unit. We are testing it at the moment. One element may be enough for us, and if it isn't we are deciding whether to get another IH or get a single gas unit.

              We bought a dish rack, a collander/strainer, a set of bowls, a plastic cutting board, a can opener, a bottle opener, chopsticks, cooking chopsticks, a laddle, a spatula, a peeler, and a citrus skinning, pith removing contraption that is popular here.

              We have the basic dishes, 3 rice bowls, 3 larger bowls, 3 plates, 3 shallow bowls, 3 mugs, 3 glasses, etc.

              It is a lot of work to get everything, and now we will get things on a need to get basis, but so far the most important things aside from appliances are my knives, cutting board, frying pan and pot. I can make almost anything with what we have, a smaller pot, maybe a paring knife and things like that will be an eventual convenience. I'd like a small lasagna dish and pans for baking bread for the microwave/oven eventually, but thats further down the line. As money was an issue for me, we went with what we needed first.

              1. Since your name includes "city" I would assume that you do in fact live in a metro area. Look for a restaurant supply house and pay them a visit. You can get great prices on items that are built to take a beating and will last a long time.

                Measuring spoons and cups.

                1. In the kitchen gadget department, two items that I came to rather late but have proven indispensible and are used daily are good kitchen shears and tongs.

                  1. I have a large All-Clad saute, the 4 qt, and I have used it daily since the day I got it a couple of years ago.

                    1. You may find this article interesting, especially if you've got budgetary constraints: