Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kitchen Essentials

After our instructional bierock-making session a few days ago, Boy#4 had a good question for me: 

What are the cookware essentials that he should have in his kitchen? I asked him if he meant in addition to a frilly apron and a velvet ribbon to tie back his pony tail (see illustration) but he just rolled his eyes at me, so I started thinking. 

What could I not live without in the kitchen if I were starting out housekeeping again? We're going to assume that the glaringly obvious are in place--I mean, I don't have to mention dishtowels or potholders, do I? 

Okay. FINE. 

Dishtowels and potholders. Six of each. There. Are you happy now? But assuming we're only going to be talking about items used in actual cooking, here's my list. 

1. Splurge on a set of hard-anodized nonstick cookware. I bought myself something like this set several years ago, having spent the first two decades of my married life frugally using my mother's cast-off copper-bottomed set and cursing the sticking-ness of it. When I finally broke down and shelled out $150 for the hard-anodized pans (on sale, on Black Friday, for half price) I wanted to weep for joy. 

2. Two knives. One for paring, and one for chopping. They do not need to be Top Chef quality but also don't buy a set of 12 knives for under $10 and expect them to cut anything except your index finger. 

3. Heavy-duty 12-quart stock pot. The heavy-duty part of this is important--when you invite everyone you know to come over for your signature chili you will want to leave that signature chili cooking on low heat all afternoon and you don't want to have get up and stir it every five minutes. 

4. Quarter-size sheet pans (2). For baking cookies, roasting vegetables, cooking bierocks. Get heavy-duty or you will weep over the blackened bottoms of your food.

5. Medium cookie scoop. Because uniform cookies are beautiful.

6. Stacking cooling racks. Did you know that when I was a little girl my mother used yesterday's newspapers for cooling cookies? Yes. We were one degree up from cave cooking. 

7. Silicon baking sheets. Cookies don't stick and they will be beautifully golden...

Wait a minute. This seems to become a list of what you need to make soup and cookies with an extra cookie on the side. This is because it is almost lunchtime and I am really, really hungry, and soup and cookies are delicious.

I regret nothing.

Tomorrow: Kitchen frills and non-essentials I love.


  1. And a wooden spoon. At least one.

  2. Wooden spoons are a must. Also, GOOD knives. I really hate cheap knives that slide sideways when you cut. My Christmas presents for a few years always included Wusthof knives until I built up a full set. (Tomato knife was a bonus my husband got for free, which is a wonderful thing to own!)

    A good nonstick frying pan, which I still don't own.