So many people who cook have their own opinions about what tools are invaluable in the kitchen. I don’t think it’s about gadgets, but really good quality basic pieces. I have found that living with less and learning to be creative with more is smart, practical, and resourceful. What works for one, may not work for another. Here’s what works for me:

Knives: 8” chef’s knife, serrated bread knife, a thin boning knife, 4-6 inch paring knife, good set serrated steak knives, washable kitchen scissors

Pots: I really don’t believe in non-stick. You can’t really use them at high temps as it will compromise the teflon finish. I think stainless steel (inside and out) is best. You need at least: 8” frying pan, 10-12” saute pan (with straight sides and a lid), small sauce pan, large sauce pan, dutch oven. Shop locally for what you want, what fits you best and is the right weight (if you can’t lift it, it’s not right for you). Buy the best you can afford. Shop online for the best prices as there are many suppliers out there.

Storage: Good set of stackable plastic, long-lasting containers that you can use in the dish washer, freezer, refrigerator, and microwave.

Cutting boards: have one that’s small and one that’s larger. Good to have one with a groove for catching juices. Must be able to put one in the dishwasher. I like a small plastic one, and a larger wooden one for carving meat.

Mixing bowls: 4 sizes, plastic or metal, from small to large, set of 4 Pyrex “pudding cups”

Utensils: wooden spoons (large and small), whisk, rolling pin, silicon spatulas, thin and flexible spatula, masher, grater, sieve, strainer, good sharp vegetable peeler, spreader, meat tenderizer/pounder, slotted spoon, garlic mincer, lemon reamer, ice cream scooper (the kind with a lever), sets of measuring spoons and cups, 2 and 4 cup Pyrex measuring cups, a roll of parchment paper, regular and heavy foil, good quality plastic wrap (don’t skimp on this), stainless steel scrubbies (they are effective on pots, gentile on china, and dishwasher friendly).

Salt and Pepper Grinders: It’s essential to have a pepper mill with an adjustable grinder. Also, you need a good salt grinder for sea salt. It’s also good to have a lidded pot of salt for measuring.

Appliances: small food processor (2-4 cups), strong blender with many speeds, hand mixer

Additional: 2 heavy-duty sheet pans with silicon mats, roasting pan, smaller baking pans, large cooling rack and smaller cooling rack (good for hot pots), silicon oven-mits. Grapefruit spoons are wonderful for scraping seeds and pulp from the inside of produce, adjunct refrigerator (if you’re lucky to have one).

I believe this list is fairly comprehensive. To my loyal readers, chime in and add anything to the list you see fit. Most items are multi-purpose. Be creative. You will find that you really need less than you expect, for a fully functional kitchen. I have thoughts on the edible pantry, which will come later, so stay tuned.

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