With becoming an adult, you begin to figure out your own day-to-day routine, how to budget, and where splurging is and isn’t worth it; one of those definitely is in the kitchen.
Let’s face it, going out to eat all the time isn’t the move. The costs add up and sometimes it just doesn’t satisfy the craving for a home-cooked meal. That being said, there are some necessities everyone needs in the kitchen.
1. Simple knife set
In each kitchen, you should have at least three knives– a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.
For obvious reasons, not everything you make in the kitchen will require the same tools and having at least these three knives in your inventory will help keep your dishes and kitchen tidy. Knives critically depend on the size of your hand and this is to ensure you can use each knife in it’s intended way. Usually, a 6 inch chef’s knife will suffice, but again always test the feel of the knife in your hand before purchasing. Small things like grip, rough ridges, and even handle material go a long way!
2. Cast iron pan
A skillet is great for a variety of things, baking, frying, searing, etc. Because they’re so great at conducting heat, skillets distribute heat evenly throughout your meats or whatever else your cooking. These babies last a lifetime and are usually pretty cheap, you could even score a good one in a yard sale. If you want consistency in the kitchen, a cast iron pan is a must.
3. Multiple cutting boards
Put those knives to use (safely)! When cutting, chopping or slicing you need to be aware of the cross-contamination that could occur and prevent it from happening. Making sure you have a cutting board for every need is essential in this.
Four is the safe number: one for poultry, meat, seafood, and veggies/fruits. With having these, you’ll little the chances of anything mixing that shouldn’t be! C’mon sanitization! The debate of wooden vs. plastic cutting boards has always been a picky one but contrary to the belief, wooden boards often times are more sanitary. Obviously, after some time, make sure to switch out your boards to prevent any yucky buildup or dullness.
4. Food processor or blender
Invest in one of these appliances because what you pay for it is what you get. While blenders are great for liquifying, food processors can chop rough exteriors and knead dough. Both have their unique purposes and excel in different methods but choose the one that you’ll most use at home.
If you’re really fancy, an immersion blender is a very nice choice for smaller, liquid-centred dishes/elements like soups, pureeés and scrambled eggs. Again, sort of which one is best for you and your cooking tastes but all aren’t necessary.
5. Wooden spoon(s)
Last but not least, wooden spoons and/or spatulas are best not only because they are better for the environment but they, again, do well under high temperatures. Unlike metal, wood doesn’t conduct heat so you’ll never burn your hand reaching back to your utensils during cooking. And unlike plastic, wood won’t melt so there’s zero chance of harmful chemicals leaking into your dinner, either. But wait, there’s more! Wooden utensils are durable and allow you to taste while you cook without burning your mouth (one of the most important parts of any recipe). Completely unrelated, make sure you always have a tasting spoon, if not a couple, when in the kitchen. Build your palette and critique as you go!
Not added in the list, but equally as important in the kitchen, is a timer. Cook things for the correct amount of time to avoid burning and undercooking because both suck equally as much. It’s a tool you already have probably on your phone so why not use it to your maximum advantage?
Cooking may seem like a monster of a task to tackle at first, but with the right equipment and just enough technique you can really end up with something tasty. So whether you’re cooking up a meal for one, two, or for a bunch of people, make sure you prepare and have fun, collegiettes!