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Cooking Off Campus: Stocking the Kitchen (Without Breaking the Bank)

So you’re moved in now, and getting settled. Congratulations! If you’re not unpacked by now, you never will be. If you are, your room will never as neat as it is at this very moment.

No doubt you’ve all been at Kraftees and the Cornell Store buying textbooks over the last few weeks. Despite your shopping around and Cornell’s new-fangled price comparison website, it’s still a fair bet that your piggy bank is hurting right now. The last thing you need to do is go shopping for kitchen utensils.

But let’s face it. You’re probably missing something important.

Maybe you were trying to make toast, and you looked around and realized that your apartment didn’t come with a toaster. Maybe you went to flip your fried egg and realized that you don’t have a spatula. Maybe it was a measuring cup or a cutting board. Let’s make it simple: here are all the things you’ll need.

The Basics
• Plates
• Bowls
• Cups
• Forks, spoons, knives
• Frying pan
• Cooking pot
• Serrated sharp knife
• Non-serrated sharp knife
• Cutting board
• Large mixing spoon
• Spatula
• Mixing bowl
• Measuring cup
• Measuring spoons
• Oven mitt
• Baking dish (oven safe)
• Butter dish• Tupperware (for storing leftovers)

Things Your Apartment Should Have, But Might Not
• Microwave
• Toaster
• Drying rack
• Trash can
• Broom and dustpan

The Baking Package (An Expansion Pack for the Basics List)
• Two cookie sheets
• 9”x13” cake pan
• 8”x8” cake pan
• Second mixing bowl
• Muffin tin
• Rolling pin
• Pie pan
• Electric mixer

Getting Fancy
• Cheese grater
• Garlic press
• Additional knives
• Casserole dishes
• Bundt pan
• Large skillet or wok
• Potato masher
• Sifter

Well, that was a lot of listing. My apologies. Unfortunately, kitchens require lots of equipment. Which brings us back to the budget question: how should you stock your kitchen without breaking the bank? Here are some tips!

1. Coordinate with your roomies. It’s silly to have 25 plates and 4 forks for the four or five of you in your apartment. Likewise, there’s no point in having two toasters but no frying pans. Everyone will save money if you plan ahead and decide who’s bringing what.

2. Beg, borrow, and steal. Your parents and grandparents have spent a lifetime collecting extra kitchen equipment. They, too, once started out with a motley collection of hand-me-downs, and it’s likely they didn’t throw everything away when they upgraded. There’s sure to be a box of perfectly usable equipment in the attic or basement. (But don’t cut too many corners—if something’s practically rusted through, throw it away and invest in a new one.)

3. Shop used. Ithaca has a lively thrift store scene. If you need a costume, a dress, or a cheap pair of cute shoes, check out Trader K’s in the Commons. If you want to stock your kitchen, there’s a Salvation Army on Route 13. It also never hurts to check out the Ithaca Craigslist, but please, remember to shop safely.

4. Shop around. Compare prices at places like T J Maxx, Walmart, and Target. But also never underestimate the power of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond 20% off coupon (especially on slightly pricier sets of pots and pans).

That’s all for now, folks. Good luck! Next time, expect less talk and more food. Delicious recipes, here we come!

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