In your kitchen keep it simple

Having tons of kitchen tools and gadgets won’t make you a better cook!

Two or three years ago we bought a new kitchen toy, a “spiralizer” …  something that looks like a pencil sharpener and which is supposed to make children eat more vegetables… vegetable spaghetti… you know what I mean! We tested it, it was fine but never became a habit. That means we have a tool that we use at most once or twice a year! It is not my way to cook. Although we love vegetables, we don’t need a spiralizer.

I haven’t bought any other kitchen items since then because, to be completely honest, we have everything we need! 

If you have just moved to your very first home or want to downsize and give away some tools you just don’t need, here are my recommendations for the basic items you need in your kitchen for most households today.

 

Pots and pans

Choose high quality stainless steel with a good base that distributes heat evenly and is compatible with your heat source (gas, electric, induction etc.)

  • 1 middle size pot about 5 L (3.17 quart)
  • If you have to cook large quantities you will need a big pot, such as 10L (10,60 quart)
  • 1 casserole with lid, about 2 L (2.11 quart) 
  • 1 small sauce pan for preparing sauces or boiling eggs
  • 1 small skillet pan about 18cm (7 in)
  • 1 large skillet pan about 30cm (11.8 in)
  • 1 steamer basket to be used with the above equipment. 

 

Kitchen electric tools

  • a toaster. If you or your family likes to eat toasted bread, overwise you really don’t need it (a hot dry pan can do the work, or the oven if you need a large quantity for special occasion). 
  • a water boiler if you’re a coffee or tea drinker…overwise a pot can also boil water! 
  • a good food processor (to grind and mix); sometimes they come with a blender attachment.
  • If you like baking then you will enjoy a good quality stand mixer; Otherwise, a hand blender with a whisk attachment would be enough. 

 

For the oven

  • a pound cake form
  • a tarte form
  • If you fancy cupcakes, muffins, madeleine etc., then you need the appropriate form
  • a cast iron Dutch oven 
  • 1 baking dish
  • 1 roasting pan, big enough to fit your biggest holiday dish… 
  • 1 baking pan

 

Cooking Utensils

  • 1 small and 1 big wood cooking spoon
  • 1 stainless steel turner 
  • 1 ladle
  • 1 middle size hand-whisker
  • 1 small hand-held strainer
  • 1 silicone spatula
  • a classic marble or wood rolling pin
  • 1 stainless steel bulk strainer
  • 1 lemon press 
  • a citrus zester
  • a salad spinner

 

Cutting tools

  • 1 carving knife
  • 1 large fork 
  • 1 big all-purpose knife 
  • 2 or 3 small knives 
  • 1 bread knife
  • a 1-way and a 2-way potato peeler 
  • a kitchen mandolin
  • a large cutting board. If you like to cook together with others have 2 cutting boards (1 large and a middle size). I like having one cutting board to stay on the table top. I find it super handy and if you have the space I can only highly recommend it. 

 

Openers

  • a wine bottle opener
  • a can opener

 

Containers

  • glass storage containers with lid
  • tin boxes
  • empty jam jars
  • a butter box, stainless steel, glass or ceramic
  • if you already have plastic boxes, don’t throw them away! They are really convenient. If you don’t want to store food in it anymore you can surely use them somewhere else in your home. 

 

Coffee

This is really up to you and how much coffee you drink and how you like it. I try to avoid as much waste as I can and reduce clutter on the counter top, therefore these are my favorite choices: 

  • a French press, or a filter holder with a reusable coffee filter for a drip system, or an Italian stovetop espresso maker (stainless steel).
  • a coffee grinder 

 

Bowls 

  • 1 stainless steel colander 
  • 1 each; small, medium and big bowls. Glass or stainless steel.
  • 6 small glass bowls 
  • 6 small ramekins 

 

Measuring tools

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • a weight scale

 

Kitchen textiles 

  • gloves 
  • kitchen towels
  • apron 

 

Serving tools

Let’s discuss this next week in my Dining Essentials post.

 

Do you realize that with only these tools and  basic appliances such as an oven and a stove, you can: 

  • stir-fry
  • braise
  • fry
  • boil
  • steam
  • roast
  • poach
  • make soups and stews 
  • bain-marie
  • cook à la plancha
  • and even more…

 

Conclusion

It’s not about what you own in your kitchen but much more about your interest, your skill, your creativity and the love you put into cooking that will make your meals a delicious experience! Try to learn 1 cooking technique a week, it’s fun and will expand your creative potential and your cooking talent. 

Depending on your cooking habits and your culture you might extend the list above. I have friends who have to have a rice cooker, others a couscoussier, a specific type of steamer…etc… which they enjoy on a regular basis.

If you’re trying to simplify your current kitchen equipment, tools and appliances either give away what you don’t need, or keep everything well organized in a storage area. See you next week with my post on Dining Essentials. Is there anything you would add to the basic items list? 

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