SO! You are moving into your first apartment. What an exciting time of your life.
Let’s talk about how to outfit your kitchen so you don’t have to eat out all the time or depend on the university’s dining plan any more.
First you will need some decent pots and pans. There is no need to go buy a full set unless you are planning on doing a lot of cooking. It is best to buy pots and pans as your cooking skills grow.
Always buy the best you can afford. Fortunately for you, I have so many pots and pans to give you but only once. The quality of these should last you a lifetime.
There are a lot of cheap knock offs out there.
As a general rule, NEVER buy a pot or pan with a celebrity name on it like Emeril or Rachael Ray or Paula Dean. The stuff is cheap and not the best quality. It is all about looks not performance.
If you can’t afford All Clad or Calphalon, take a good hard look at them in the store. Pick them up and feel the quality, the balance, notice the construction: how is the handle attached to the body of the pot?
Then, when you shop for other lower priced pots, you will know what top quality feels like and therefore can choose quality when you find it in other pots and pans.
You can find All Clad and Calphalon sometimes at Marshall’s, TJ Max, Homegoods, Tuesday Morning all at lower than normal retail prices. They don’t always have them but when they do, they are great values.
If you can’t find them at those stores, larger kitchen stores that carry these brands often have semi-annual sales with free gifts with purchase that are really worth while. No need to ever pay full retail price for them. Take your time and look around.
Yes, this means you need to pack them and move them as you relocate. Now you are accumulating the “stuff” you need to outfit your living space.
More than likely, you will always have a kitchen to cook in from now on.
This is what I recommend you start with:
- 1- 7 or 8″ non-stick saute pan (frying pan for eggs)
- 1- 10″ saute pan with lid
- 1- 2 quart pot with lid
- 1-5 quart pot to boil water for pasta, making soup etc.
- A series of graduated stainless bowls – at least 5 in the set
- A colander or strainer of some kind for straining pasta, vegetables etc.
- You can have fun with these styles, there are some funky colanders in great colors.
- A cutting board, get one you like; acrylic or wood, your choice
- 2 heavy-duty sheet pans – commercial 1/2 and 1/4 sheet pans are best; they last and don’t warp.
Small wares: those things you use and keep in the drawer
- Microplane- a hand grater in various shredding sizes.
- Manual can opener – be sure to wash it when you use it
- Bowl scrapers are handy for scooping things out of bowls or off your cutting board
- Large metal kitchen spoons: one slotted(rectangular openings), one perforated (round openings) and one solid – these really come in handy
Heat resistant spatulas – lots of uses – only buy heat-resistant ones. It says so on the label. Why? Because they melt if you use them on the stove and they are not heat-resistant. Who wants plastic in their food?
- Various wooden spoons – use on non stick pans – they are usually inexpensive and quite handy. Just don’t catch them on fire
- Professional grade stainless steel tongs – they become like your other hands. Great for moving things in the pan without piercing ( meat). Buy sturdy ones.
- Wire whisk – the thinner the wires, and the more of them, the more whisking/whipping action you get. Thicker/fewer wires are for dense food items, thinner ones for whipping cream, egg whites or making hollandaise
- A decent corkscrew – you never know when you will need one
- Set of measuring cups – look for ones that have both standard and Imperial measures so you only need one set
- Measuring spoons – You will need them
- Off-set metal spatula – for taking cookies off the baking sheet and flipping food in the pan
- Several kitchen towels, sponges and washing-up cloths. You will use these for removing hot things from the oven and for wiping up messes and drying your hands.
- Three knives:
- 1 8-10 inch Chef knife or santoku (Which ever you prefer)
- 1 paring knife
- 1 boning knife
- Made from High Carbon Stainless Steel- all about knives may come later.
- Safety Tip!
When removing things from the oven, make sure your towel is completely dry or else you will end up with a nasty steam burn.
With all of this, you should be ready to start cooking.
When you get these things, wash them and give them a home somewhere in your kitchen.
These are not the typical cheap things you find in most college apartments.
Take good care of your equipment and it will last you a lifetime. I have sent you top-quality pots and pans. Wash them up after each use. Don’t let your roommate burn them up!
Good pots and pans wash up neat. Use Brillo or SOS pads to remove any baked on grease or stains as they happen. Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami are both scrubbing powders that so not scratch so get some to help keep your pans looking brand new. DO NOT use Comet or Ajax, it will scratch too much.
As a general rule, do not put the pots and pans in the dishwasher. Hand wash. Get used to it.
NEVER put your knives in the dishwasher. The heat can make them brittle and break easier.
As I said earlier, I am giving you a great set of pots and pans, just once! You should be able to give your set to your child when they get their first apartment.
Yes, they will last that long and still be like new if you care for them.
They will cost you a small fortune to replace so make sure you take care of them and take them with you when you move.
Next we will start talking about some basic cooking skills you can easily master that will take you a long way.
Let me know what you want to learn to cook. Tonkatsu?
You already know our family favorite: Sardine and Anchovy Pasta.
You are on your own for dishes. Get something you like and fits your budget.
- Best Pots and Pans (answers.com)
- MyMove™ – Stocking the Kitchen after a Move (mymove.com)
- A Guide to the Best Material for Pots and Pans: A Pros and Cons List Cookware Materials 101 (thekitchn.com)