It doesn't matter how slick the kitchen is, even the simplest of tasks become significantly more challenging without the right basic kitchen accessories. So sooner on later you will need deck out the kitchen with a few essentials so you can get on with some cooking.
I cannot remember how I acquired my first kitchenware – the supermarket, hand-me-downs and stealing them from housemates all comes to mind. I can remember one thing clearly – they were all terrible!
It wasn’t until I upgraded to several decent knives that I appreciated how much of a difference to the cooking experience it makes not having to battle with your kitchen cutlery – blunt kitchen knives in particular (and how much time you can save).
So if you are finding yourself out on your own and in need to stocking an empty kitchen - below is a list of 8 essentials that will get you started and help to make meal prep as easy as possible.
As we highlight in our kitchen knife guide if you could only have one knife in the kitchen then a Chef knife is the place to start. It will cover pretty much all of the heavy lifting when it comes to prep work with ease. They are more expensive than other kitchen knives but well worth it.
Sometimes you just don’t need the heft of a Chef knife and the size can get in the way. A smaller knife such as a Paring knife compliments a chef knife perfectly – the small, thin and narrow blade is designed to cover all of your small intricate prep work such as coring, peeling and slicing up smaller fruit and vegetables.
Even the sharpest knife does a terrible job of cutting bread, so having a good long serrated knife in the kitchen is essential. They also tend to come in handy for thicker skinned fruit or veg, letting you gently saw through the outer lay of skin without squishing the juicy fruit inside. Get caught out with food still partially frozen? – it’s not ideal but a serrated knife can help you out.
Got a bag of carrots to peel ? You’ll be thankful for having a good peeler in the kitchen. For peeling the occasional piece of fruit you could get away with a Paring knife but nothing beats a good peeler for efficiency when doing a pile of carrots, potatoes or apples.
There is no such thing as a knife that stays sharp forever so having an easy to use sharpener on hand will ensure that all of your knives stay sharp. Most people these days are not interested in learning how to use a sharpening stone and an electric sharpener is a serious financial investment, making a simple pull-through sharpener the easiest to use and also the cheapest to purchase.
While a cheap plastic board will do the job fine you won’t regret splashing out a bit and purchasing a good quality wooden chopping board. A hardwood version that is regularly oiled is both hygienic, gentler on your knives and will last for many years. They also look great and feel great to cut on.
There’s no point in even trying to use a stove unless you have at least one decent cooking spoon to cook and serve with. A well-made one suitable for non-stick pots will end up getting used non-stop. From casseroles to mixing ingredients for cake recipes and then serving at the table - a good cooking spoon will do the lot.
A good spatula will see just as much use in the kitchen as a cooking spoon. From flipping omelettes and pancakes through to serving lasagna at the table. Once again having it suitable for non-stick pots and pans will minimise scratching the surfaces of cookware.
There are plenty more that can be added to this list - such as scales, colander, mixing bowls and a can opener but focusing on the above will see you off to a flying start in a new kitchen and ensure those first cooking experiences are good ones.