If you are moving into your own apartment for the very first time, the list of “essentials” seems never-ending. So, for startcooking.com I have tried to keep your list of cooking essentials to the bare minimum.
Now, let’s talk about kitchen equipment.
Three usually come with most apartments or houses you may rent, share or (if you’re lucky) buy. They are:
1. A Refrigerator
2. A Sink
3. An Oven with a stove top
Typically, you are on your own after these three.
There is one more absolute, non-optional, essential piece of equipment:
4. Pots and Pans
You will need, at a minimum:
(a) One 6-quart pot for making spaghetti,
(b) One 2-to-3 quart pot for making rice, boiling potatoes, etc. and
(c) One 7-to-10 inch skillet or fry pan.
Many of the large discount stores offer “sets” of pots and pans. If you don’t own any, that may be the way to go. If you have time to shop around look for sales and “extra-off” coupons. That will cut the cost considerably.
Buy the best you can afford. Really inexpensive pans do not have the same heat-retention ability as the more expensive ones.
From here on, my list says “optional” but quite honestly most of it is essential.
Option 1: Microwave Oven
Microwave ovens have become incredibly inexpensive over the years. You can now purchase one for less than $40. Many of them now have sensors that take the guess-work out of microwaving potatoes, popcorn, and things like frozen meals.
(Even my husband, who does not know how to cook, knows how to use the microwave!)
Option 2: Cutting boards
You can buy either wood or some kind of plastic or synthetic cutting-boards. Be sure to check out my post on How to Choose and Use Cutting Boards.
Option 5: Colander
Straining water off spaghetti is impossible with out one. This is also great for washing fruits and vegetables.
Option 6: Coffee Pot/Kettle
If you are on your own, you may want to consider a “French Coffee Press”. (A french coffee press is easy to use when you know how, and you can make a really good, cup of home-brewed coffee with one in less than 5 minutes.) To boil water for coffee or tea, you may want to consider a tea-kettle or electric kettle. If you have a microwave, you could also use that to boil water.
Option 7: Toaster or Toaster Oven
If you like toasted bagels, make sure the mouth of the toaster is large enough to accommodate a sliced bagel. Toaster ovens not only toast breads, but as the names says, it’s a mini oven. It allows you to bake and broil in addition to toasting. I have seen them on sale for as low as $30.
Option 8: Blender
Blenders can be more expensive then a microwave. If you want your blender to crush ice (for smoothies and margaritas), then you will need one with a fairly powerful motor. The more powerful the motor is, the more expensive the blender will be.
So this is my starter list. By popular demand I am adding a vegetable peeler and a garlic press to the utensil list . Make sure you also get some dishtowels and pot holders/oven mitts.
A toaster, a blender, a coffee-pot and a tea-kettle may not be first on YOUR list, but cutting boards, mixing bowls, a baking sheet with sides and a colander really are necessary to start cooking.
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