So you’re ready to outfit your kitchen like a true home chef. You’ve got ingredients and recipes on lock, so all that’s left to do is invest in a good cast iron, a $1,200 blender, a set of gold-plated, monogrammed grapefruit spoons, one of those hard-boiled egg slicer thingies… Shoot. Which tools do you actually need? And how can you set yourself up for kitchen success on a budget?
We got you.
Cast Iron Pan
We were serious about that cast iron. Treat it right, and you’ll never need another skillet. Plus you can ditch your roasting pans, baking sheets, glass baking dishes, pizza stone… you get the idea. If you can cook it on a stove or in an oven, you can use a properly seasoned cast iron. Read more about how to care for your cast iron here.
Three Knives. Yup. Three.
You only really need three knives: a 10 inch long chef’s knife for daily chopping, mincing, and dicing; a pairing knife for more precise peeling and trimming; and a serrated knife for slicing soft bread, tomatoes, and citrus fruits without any tearing.
A food processor. For real.
First, what? Isn’t this an essentials list? Second, food processors are the best invention since sliced, nay pulverized, bread. It can take the place of a stand mixer and a blender. Use it to knead bread dough, grate Parmigiano-Reggiano, whip up a smoothie, make ice cream or soup or salsa or frozen margaritas… A food processor is a savvy cook’s bff. Seriously.
If you’re a meat eater, a quality digital thermometer is a food safety must-have. They’re inexpensive and easy to use: just insert into the center of your tenderloin or filet and roast until the desired temperature is reached. Even if you’re no carnivore, instant-read thermometers are handy for perfectly poaching eggs and baking bread.
A four quart stockpot is your most versatile bet: it has the volume to handle soups, sauces, and grains. Avoid aluminum pots, as they can react to acidic foods (and you’ll want to christen your pot with Nana’s famous Bolognese, so don’t even go there). As with skillets, cast iron is always a good option.
What are your absolute, can’t cook without ’em, kitchen must-haves? Tell us in the comments!