Determine Your Kitchen Needs
When building your kitchen, there are some things that you absolutely require, and some things you can live without `til you get married and can have other people buy you stuff.
In order to evaluate your needs, consider the following issues:
Think about how often you cook. If you work 18-hour days, then you just need the bare basics; if you have lots of free time on your hands, then you can start a new hobby and get tons of fun equipment.
Think about the type of food you like. If you`re a big fan of Chinese food, a wok and bamboo steamer should be on your list. If you love to bake, go heavy on the bakeware and measuring cups and skimp a little on the rest.
Think about the size of your kitchen. If you have a tiny kitchenette in your studio apartment, then you should get smaller items and forgo anything that takes up major counter space. Also, get pans that fit into each other to conserve cabinet space. If you have a large, full-size kitchen, then feel free to get space-hogging items like blenders and juicers.
Find the Right Cookware Pots and pans
"Cookware" refers to the stuff that goes on top of the burners: pots, kettles, and their ilk. Here`s what you need:
8-quart stockpot (for cooking pasta, stews, etc.)
Roasting pan (for that big turkey on Thanksgiving)
Large, heavy kettle with a tight-fitting lid
Ridged grill pan
You should also get your hands on a quality knife set. Although quality knives can be quite expensive, they`re worth the investment because, with proper care, they`ll last forever and save you extra sweat in the kitchen. You should start with:
An 8- or 10-inch chef`s knife (for cutting meat and vegetables)
A 3- or 4-inch paring knife (for smaller tasks)
A serrated knife (for slicing bread and soft fruits)
Find the Right Bakeware
Bakeware is necessary for those of us who like to bake cookies, cakes, and other pastries. Here are the fundamentals (depending on what you like to bake):
An oven-proof casserole dish with lid
Two 9-inch round cake pans with straight sides
Two baking/cookie sheets
Rectangular baking pan (13 x 9 x 2)
9- or 10-inch springform pan
Loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3)
9-inch pie pan
12-cup muffin tin
Several cooling racks
Assorted mixing bowls (at least one monster big one)
A clear glass, pitcher-like measuring cup with a spout (for measuring liquids)
A set of measuring cups (either plastic or metal) in assorted sizes
Get Some Appliances
First in line is a microwave, handy for re-heating leftovers and making popcorn.
A coffeemaker and coffee grinder. Even if you don`t drink coffee, you may have guests that do.
A blender. Daiquiris, margaritas, pina coladas, mudslides: oh yeah, and protein soy shakes or whatever. Just make sure that you get a blender that can crush ice.
A food processor for all that dicing and chopping you`d rather not do by hand.
Other useful items:
Electric hand-held mixer