Kitchen essentials

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If you watch HGTV as much as I do (compulsively, I can’t help it!), you might believe kitchen essentials include a backsplash, a skylight, heated bamboo floors, stainless steel appliances, cherry wood cabinets, granite countertops…I’m sorry, what? Ooops, I was just drooling there, my bad.

Yes, yes, I know. Short of either winning the lottery or writing a best-selling novel (or even maybe selling a blog!), this ain’t going to happen. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, this all comes up because of a recent article in the LAT about kitchen essentials. These may not be my essentials, but it was still an interesting list. It includes:

  • Mortar and pestle
  • a good corkscrew
  • instant-read thermometer
  • good dried pasta
  • small kitchen scale
  • heavy-duty roasting pan

Now, those are the must-haves they listed, you’ll have to go to the article for the not-needed items. However, these seem to be items needed for an established cook — not someone just starting out. And while I’m technically not starting out anymore, lemme tell ya, I still sometimes need a list like that. So when I posted the article to Facebook, with the comment: “I’d also love it if one day, someone came up with a list of things you absolutely must buy for a functional kitchen when first getting married or moving out on your own,” a few of my friends gave me some ideas.

My buddy and longtime reader Karl:

I still have 2 items I bought in college….a Cuisinart DLC 11 food processor….still works like a champ. I looked on the bottom and saw it was made in Japan. Also bought a Braun coffee grinder (German made), that has probably ground thousands of pounds of coffee since then…still works like a champ.

Former Online Journalism Review editor Robert Niles offered this:

1. Cast iron skillet
2. Chef’s knife
3. Paring knife
4. Saucepan (look for something hefty, but not expensive)
5. Cheap pair of metal tongs
6. Good spatula
7. Long-handled wooden spoon
8. French press if you make coffee
Add stuff to serve/eat with (knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls, etc.) and you’re good to go. Then go to the the Farmer’s Market and Trader Joe’s every week.

I really love Robert’s list. A list like that could have really saved me some grief when I faced the overwhelming selection at Target when I first moved out on my own.