What do you really need in the kitchen?
When you move out of your parents’ home, either into your own home or sharing a place with friends, being able to cook your own meals is a huge money saver. The idea of stocking a kitchen from scratch can be a little overwhelming for most us. I made a list of the basic requirements, and indicated where spending a little bit of money versus saving some money is worth it. Remember you don’t have to buy everything at once.
Things to try and get first:
While you can get a fancy kettle, rather buy a cheap one. You can later replace it with a fancier one if the current one breaks, but a kettle doesn’t have to be fancy to do a good job.
Pots and pans
A lot of places sell good quality pots and pans in sets for very affordable prices. Remember, 3 pots and 2 pans are really more than enough to get started. Try to get slightly weighted pots and pans if they are stainless steel. There are some very nice cast aluminium pots and pans available. You will need at the very least one pan with a lid, and at least 2 different size saucepans/ pots.
A few good kitchen knives are worth their weight in gold. You don’t have to buy chef quality knives, but one or two good knives are better than a cheap set of knives. Start with a bread knife, a chopping knife and a paring knife. These seems to be the knives that I use the most.
Remember those white ones with the red or blue stripe that rung along them? They have a smooth texture. These are my favourites, they are available at almost any grocery store or home stores. They soak up spills and allow you to pick up hot pots quickly. You will need at least four, as they will do a lot of work and thus be washed often.
I quite like the medium sized ones, they are decently sized, so they allow you enough place to work on the counter.. A medium sized block will also do double duty as a bread block.
Here the suggestion is buy the round and white sets. One normally sees them in boxes of 4 plates, 4 side plates and 4 bowls. Some sets also include mugs. The advantage of these sets is they don’t look dated or out of fashion quickly., and it is easy to replace a broken piece.
Select cutlery that have clean lines and are affordable. Try to buy cutlery that have good joins between the handle and the cutlery edge, e.g. between the handle and the spoon. Often cutlery will break at the join if it is not well made. Also, if you have a dishwasher, check that what you buy can go into the dishwasher. . Buy at least one or two serving spoons, you will need a larger size spoon to dish up food.
Cooking certain dishes in the oven, like a potato bake, requires a nice dish that can go into the oven and then onto the table. This also makes cleaning and cooking so much easier. Invest in a few smaller glass containers that you can put leftovers in, many glass containers have lids that allow you to use them in the fridge or freezer as well
This seems a little straight forward, but honestly toasters are useful. Again, buy an affordable one, don’t try to buy the most expensive toasters.
Coffee, tea, you name it can be drunk from a good mug. Here going for a thinner mug and a pattern that you like makes sense. Most people don’t need a tea set, even more when they are starting out.
Spatulas and whisks
You will need some utensils to cook with. A whisk can serve many purposes, from beating eggs to stiffening cream. I prefer at least a small whisk and a medium to large whisk. I also like to have a spatula with a flat, narrow edge, as they are wonderful for flipping eggs or bacon. There are sets of spatulas and spoons available at most homeware shops, and they are often very well priced.
Are there any of these that you can’t live without?