Essentials for the Post-Grad Kitchen

I love cooking. So, when I moved into my first apartment, I spent hours scouring Pinterest and Google for kitchen essentials. Now, going on three years later, here are the things that I can’t live without.

  • Non-stick pots and pans
    These are a chef’s best friend. They’re also a lazy girl’s best friend, since they require minimal clean up. Simply scrub them with some dish detergent and a non-abrasive sponge.

    • For the pans, I recommend buying a set of 3, which you can find in most stores. The set should come with 8″, 10″, and 12″ skillets.
    • For the pots, you need a medium-sized one (for everything from sauces to mac & cheese) and a larger one (for spaghetti, potatoes, etc.).
  • Good knives (and a butcher’s block to keep them in)
    • Here are some knife-buying tips from one of my favorite chefs and TV personalities, Alton Brown.
  • Cutting boards
    • One for raw meat and one for fruits and vegetables. You can either use two separate cutting boards, or two sides of a good, solid wood cutting board.
  • Vegetable peeler
    • I have seen people end up in the ER because they tried to use a knife to peel a potato, carrot, apple, insert fruit/vegetable here. Unless you are a professional chef, spend the $5 and get a peeler.
  • Basic utensils
    • 2-4 spoons (at least one wooden)
    • A slotted spoon
    • A pair of silicone-coated tongs (they won’t scratch your non-stick pots and pans)
    • At least one silicone-coated whisk
    • 2 non-metal spatulas, flippers, whatever you call them
    • Silicone pastry brush
  • Melon baller
    • This little guy is quite the multi-tasker. You can use it for anything from spooning out cookie dough to dumping fritter batter into the fryer. Or, you know, actually scooping out the inside of a melon.
  • Grater
    • Many chefs seem to like box graters, but I love this one that I got from IKEA. If you like your citrus (or ginger or nutmeg), a microplane is a good tool to have and is often included on box graters.
  • Colander
  • Wooden rolling pin
    • Handy for rolling out dough and beating up home invaders.
  • Quality baking sheets
    • Wilton is my favorite brand. They’re sturdy and don’t cost much.
  • Casserole dish
  • Metal or glass mixing bowls in various sizes
    • Tip: the ones that come with lids are great for taking dishes to the office potluck.
  • Can opener
    • I prefer the electric kind, but if you can use the handheld ones, be my guest. You’ll save counter space.
  • Muffin tin
    • They’re not just for muffins, FYI.
  • Measuring cups and spoons
    • When I studied abroad in France, I went the whole semester without actually being able to measure anything, including the ingredients for cookie dough. Never. Again.
  • Good storage containers
    • Essential for meal prepping. Or taking food home from your parents’ house.
  • Corkscrew
  • Coffee maker
  • Fire extinguisher
    • It’s the only uni-tasker that Alton Brown allows in his kitchen. And for good reason.

If you like to make certain types of foods or cuisines, there are definitely some things that you can add to this list. However, I feel that this is a good starting point for the girl  who’s never had to set up her own kitchen before.

What do you think? Is there anything you would add or leave out? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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