Kitchen gear, gadgets, tools: the necessities

For those who serve at the table: I have 3 large serving tongs and one (on the right) for cooking. (Well, the one on the right can be used for serving, it just doesn't have the character that the others do.) (NOTE: one rubber-tipped pair of tongs --not shown, sorry-- will cover all uses, and is a must if you have non-stick coated pans. See link to the rubber-tipped version, below.)

Reaching a new automatic pilot that works for you, your health goals, your standard of living, requires having the right setting, the right scene, the right tools for the job.

So, I’ve put together a list of…

necessary pots, pans, tools, gadgets and small appliances for the kitchen

These items have helped me become an efficient, healthful cook, and will help you move from being a beginner, to a good cook to a great chef.

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I came up with 3 lists:

  1. The first list is for those folks who want the very very basic tools and or who have a very limited space for storing these items and or who do very minimal cooking.
  2. The second list is for those who will be in the kitchen cooking who follow recipes now and then.
  3. The third list is for those who cook two or three things at one time, who follow recipes and or create their own meals.

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Where to buy:
First of all, the items below are easy to find (online and at most kitchen stores/department stores). Some items have links to show specific model.

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List #1 — the very very basic items (tools and gadgets) you need in the kitchen:

General, all-purpose:

  • 6, or 8, or 10-inch chef knife (I like the deep bolster of this knife)
  • cutting board
  • oven mitts, hot pad and or trivet (something to handle hot pans and something to put’m on)
  • a medium-size mixing bowl

For cooking on the stove top:

  • a 2-quart sauce pan, with lid, best to have one that can be used in the oven, too
  • a 10-inch fry pan, with lid, best to have one that can be used in the oven, too
  • a long-handled pair of tongs (click here to see a rubber-tipped version, use this if you have a non-stick surface on your pans)
  • a thin-edged spatula flipper to flip eggs, pancakes, meat (rubber if you have a non-stick surface on your pans)

For cooking in the oven:

  • one 9×13 glass baking pan (can be used to make cookies, roast veggies and or chicken, bake a cake, and more)

For wash ups and wipe downs:

  • one terry cloth towel for wiping hands
  • one cotton towel for drying dishes
  • a dish drying rack
  • dish soap
  • a sponge, or dishcloth

For food storage:

  • masking tape and sharpie
  • ziplock bags
  • saran wrap
  • aluminum foil
  • food storage containers with tight fitting lids

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List #2 — for those who want to do a bit more in the kitchen (tools and gadgets) you need in the kitchen:

Same as the above list, and add these items…….

General, all-purpose:

For cooking on the stove top:

  • a long-handled wood spoon
  • a scraping spatula
  • a one-cup liquid measurement (this can be used for dry measurements, too)

For cooking in the oven:

  • one 9×13 glass baking pan (can be used to make cookies, roast veggies and or chicken, bake a cake, and more)

For wash ups and wipe downs:

  • one terry cloth towel for wiping hands
  • one cotton towel for drying dishes
  • a dish drying rack
  • dish soap
  • a sponge, or dishcloth

For food storage:

  • masking tape and sharpie
  • ziplock bags
  • saran wrap
  • aluminum foil
  • food storage containers with tight fitting lids

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List #3 — for the enthusiastic home chef, tools and gadgets, once you have these tools, you will wonder how you ever got along without them:

Same as the above list, and add these items…….

Cutlery

Chef knives are a very personal piece of equipment, best to handle a variety to see which one you like, based on: weight, balance, thick or thin blade, 6- or 8- or 10-inch length, ceramic, carbon stainless steel, stamped or forged, the handle, the bolster. Here is what I live:

Cutting boards

Measuring spoons, cups, bowls

  • I like stainless steel for most of these things

Mixing bowls

  • I like glass, ceramic and stainless steel
  • multi-sized bowls
  • with lids is huge bonus
  • have at least one extra-large stainless steel bowl (I have a 16-inch, 18-inch and 20-inch)
  • 4-cup glass bowl with pour spout is good to have, but not mandatory

Pots, pans and skillets

  • Best is glass or enamel (a savvy-researcher friend says: “they are the only way to go; or maybe ceramic coated steel, there’s new stuff like that; (avoid the) nickel in stainless steel)
  • Stainless steel with
  • One large stock pot (6 quart will do, a 10- to 12-quart pot is better, more versatile)
  • One 6- or 8-inch skillet (slanted sides)
  • One 10- or 12-inch skillet (slanted sides)
  • One 3-quart skillet (vertical sides)
  • One 2-quart saucepan with lid
  • I’ve been coveting this Dutch oven (flip it over and the cover doubles as a skillet, and the pot becomes the lid — will cook similar to a Moroccan tagine)
  • Pot holders, trivets

Small appliances

  • Food processor (I have four: my 7-cup machine gets the most use, and the smaller 2-cup is used at least once a month, ….the 13-cup and 4-cup machines haven’t been used in a year, I’m getting by with using the 7-cup)
  • High speed blender (I have a Blendtec and a Vitamix) (I favor the Blendtec — and use the 6-cup and 4-cup carafe)
  • Immersion blender (I recommend getting one with holes on the side of the blade housing, like this one for making purees, ….otherwise they mix well, but don’t blend well, like this one)
  • Spice grinder (most coffee grinders will do, just be sure to designate it for spices only b/c the coffee aroma is hard to deodorize)
  • Rice cooker, stainless steel (I have similar to this one)
  • Slow cooker

Hand-held and hand-operated gadgets

Tools, utensils

  • Standard scissors
  • Kitchen (meat) scissors
  • Long, rubber-tipped tongs
  • Short, rubber-tipped tongs
  • Spatula (scrappers), rubber, various sizes, shapes, high-heat
  • Spatula (flipper), rubber, 2 sizes, high-heat
  • Spatula (flipper), stainless steel, flexible
  • Spatula (flipper), stainless steel, offset
  • Wood spoons, various sizes and lengths
  • Wood paddle (flat-end wood spoons)…. various sizes and lengths
  • Wisk, medium size
  • Long-nose pliers with wire cutter (I like this one, t’is easier to clean than this one)
  • Fish bone tweezer
  • Pastry scrapper

Other

  • Timer (two-in-one is best)
  • Thermometer (many kinds out there, just need one that reads low and high temps, wireless probe huge bonus, this one is way cool)
  • String, twine
  • Parchment paper (I buy the non-bleached version)
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Nut milk bag

Glass storage containers

  • with tight-fitting lids
  • multiple sizes
  • stackable
  • square, rectangle are easiest to stack and store


Other headlines for this post:

“Tooling up in the kitchen, the necessities”

or….

“Kitchen gear: top-end gadgets, and lower-cost alternatives”

or….

“Gadgets, the good, the bad and the must haves”

or…

“Gearing up the kitchen with gadgets, the must haves”

or…

“Kitchen equipment for the health discerning chef”

or…

“Essential kitchen equipment for the healthful efficient chef”