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What kitchen items would be MUST HAVES on 'the desert island'?

Assume there's electricity. If you could only take what you could carry what kitchen items would you choose?
Mine would be my cheap little rice cooker, the ancient carbon steel chinese clever I've had forty forty years, A small pairing knife, an enamel coated pot with lid, ss fry pan, knife fork spoon, plate, bowl, coffee cup. Am I forgetting something?

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  1. A wooden spoon, ladle and a spatula.

    1. Stainless chef's knife & steel, bamboo cutting board, induction unit, stainless tri-ply skillet & lid, pressure cooker, medium tri-ply saucepan, blunt melamine spoon, slotted melamine spoon, stainless tongs, 4-cup pyrex measuring cup (also serves as mixing bowl), large stainless mixing bowl, mesh colander (also serves as strainer & steamer), whisk, silicone spoonula, scissors, peeler, chopsticks, filled pepper mill, bottle of olive oil. (Will make salt from sea... ;>) Serrated utility knife, table fork, soup spoon, pasta plate, mug.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ellabee

        How many arms do you have? I'm really impressed if you can carry all that ;)

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Just a month ago I took almost exactly this collection of items (with an au gratin pan replacing the induction unit, and minus the pressure cooker and table items) to my mother-in-law's kitchen -- something of a "desert island" where kitchen equipment is concerned.

          It fits into a sturdy basket -- not something I'd really want to hike any great distance with, but it's carryable. Might fit into a backpack...

          My pared-down list of "five" is below.

          1. re: ellabee

            I was just teasing. But it was the pressure cooker that had me wondering how you could manage all of that - I can definitely see everything else fitting.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              You might be visualizing one of those big old honking pressure-canners -- just the mental image that kept me from considering p.c.'s for years.

              The cooker set I'd try to lug, if I could, is a fairly compact nesting set of 6 and 4 qt pots (roughly 9"x9" and 9"x6"), with two short handles. Compact, but still pretty heavy -- about 12 pounds combined.

      2. Hmmm... I more or less did this when I moved to Vanuatu. Took some and bought some there. I'm trying to remember what we had. Chef's knife, big spoon, tongs (could give up the spoon because you could stir with tongs if you had to), big pot with lid, small pot. Luxury items, measuring cups or spoons, baking pan or cookie sheet. You can get pretty creative with limited resources. Oh, and some kind of a towel for grabbing hot pots, because aluminum pots get really hot, really fast!

        1. I would add a microplane to the mix. You'll need one for the citrus, nutmeg, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefathome

            Ooh, yes; the fine microplane for sure, and probably the medium (maybe there'll be an airdrop of Parmesan!).

            The 'what you can carry' rule doesn't limit lightweight utensils and gadgets much, so we can each have most of our favorites.

            The pots and pans pose the real decisions. If there weren't going to be electricity, I'd need a little rolling cart for the batterie, to handle the weight of the cast iron and copper that would replace most of the stainless...

            1. re: ellabee

              I like the rolling cart workaround - I could stack plenty of goodies onto one of those, and wouldn't have to leave my Breville oven or cast iron pans behind ;)

              okay, so assuming that along with the electricity there are also burners & ovens of some kind...
              - one good pot w/lid
              - one good saute pan
              - roasting pan
              - baking sheet
              - Santoku
              - paring knife
              - honing steel
              - microplane
              - rubber spoonula
              - wooden spoon
              - mixing bowl
              - colander
              - one set of eating utensils
              - flexible flat spatula
              - tongs
              - whisk
              - Aeropress & coffee mug
              - coffee & spice grinders
              - immersion blender

          2. There IS electricity on this desert island?!? Guess I'd take just about everything!?! Would definitely like a few decent, sharp knives... would take electric knife sharpener along, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kseiverd

              <There IS electricity on this desert island>

              I think it is a private beach island or something:



              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                If there is electricity is there telephone? Carry out would cover me.

            2. Big Knife/Little Knife...Big Spoon/Little Spoon....Big Fork/Little Fork...Plate, Bowl, Cup. Big Cast Iron Pot w/Lid/Little cast Iron Pot w/lid. Big box of matches!

              1. I would take most things already mentioned and also my pepper grinder.

                EDIT: Oops. Just noticed someone already did say pepper mill. Okay, you guys got my list covered. Thanks. Gotta go start packing.

                1. Hmmmmm.....these desert islands look like they will have some seriously well-stocked kitchens - better than some actual kitchens of people I know! I wonder what folks would take to the desert island if they were only allowed to bring, let's say.....five things each.

                  You know, because the "desert island" question usually implies you can bring VERY FEW things which you love the MOST.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Justpaula

                    <You know, because the "desert island" question usually implies you can bring VERY FEW things which you love the MOST.>

                    Good point. Assuming the sources for foods are not limited (e.g. I don't have to hunt for food), I will bring these 5 items:

                    A thin blade cleaver
                    A thick blade cleaver
                    A wok and its scoop
                    A cutting board
                    A pressure cooker (not what I use the most right now, but I foresee being more versatile)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      A pressure cooker is probably a good idea for preparing the wild game one might find on a desert island. I like how you think.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Nix the cutting board - you can make your own with the cleaver.
                        I think I'd take some kind of spiky thing like a corkscrew for making coconuts drinkable.
                        I'd also take a Bushmaster survival knife - it can be lashed to a pole to make a spear to catch fish or wild pigs and I think I might need to do that in order to have something worth cooking - the knife could also be used in prep work. I have one already - just in case.

                        1. re: kagemusha49

                          <Nix the cutting board - you can make your own with the cleaver>

                          I was thinking about this.... but if it is a desert island... there may not be wood.

                          <I think I'd take some kind of spiky thing like a corkscrew>

                          A heavy cleaver should able to that, or maybe not.

                          <I'd also take a Bushmaster survival knife>

                          That is the thing. I don't know if I have readily available grocery type of food on this island. I mean, it has electricity. If we are talking survival tools, then I would have very different need. I would definitely need a survival knife as you have accurately point out.

                          To prolong my life on an island I will change the list to:

                          A survival knife
                          A very thick water proof jacket which can be double as sleeping bag
                          A medical kit
                          A survival lighter
                          Most important of all, a watercone or something to convert seawater to drinkable water (there may not be a readily available source of fresh water):



                          But then none of these are normal kitchen items requested by the original poster, and I probably still won't make it after 2 weeks.

                      2. re: Justpaula


                        - Chef's knife & cutting board <-- effectively one item

                        - Copper skillet w/lid

                        - Pressure cooker set (6- and 4-qt pots)

                        - Mesh colander/strainer/steamer

                        - Stainless tongs, blunt spoon, whisk <-- one item: 'utensil set'

                      3. Is saying "I'd bring a Thermomix" cheating? If you have a Thermomix, you pretty much have everything (I don't have one).

                        1. I go to desert islands in the Bahamas on my boat and stay for weeks at a time. No electricity. Hence the following.

                          fishing gear
                          spearfishing gear
                          propane for burners
                          fillet knife
                          large wok with cover
                          perk coffee pot
                          large ceramic coffee mug
                          edo sushi knife
                          flatware and wooden bowl
                          p38 can opener
                          scrubby pads
                          Dawn or Joy dish soap. Degrease in salt water.
                          currently 36 herbs and spices

                          Yes, I did forget matches one trip. I am far more adept getting supper with a spear than hook and line. Spatulas work far better with delicate items than kitchen tongs. Always wear clothes when cooking. Wooden bowls protect you from heat transfer, are hard to break, and do better at keeping the food in place as opposed to a plate.

                          And bring a lantern so you can see what you are eating at night.