About Kitchen Essentials

I've been asked to dumb it down so dumb it down I will, DUMMIES. (I kid, I kid. And I kid because I lurve.) So over the next few weeks or so I'll be showing you how to, I don't know, dice an onion or boil an egg or whatever, EVEN THOUGH if you weren't so lazy you could watch any of the billion videos on YouTube about the topic RIGHT THIS SECOND. (I lurve.)

So let's start with something easy: a list of somethings each and every one of you should have in your kitchen.

Cutlery. Despite what all the fancy kitchen catalogues would have you believe, all the cutlery one needs is a paring knife, a chef's knife, a bread knife, and a really strong pair of kitchen shears. When shopping for your own set look for something with a little heft and a strong blade; both will give you better control and minimize the accidental chopping off of fingers. You can find really great deals on high-end brands on ebay. For a far more economical option, check out Victorinox's Forschner brand, made by the same folks that bring you Swiss Army knives!

Cutting boards. Now that you have your fancy knives, you're gonna want to get a nice big cutting board. Whether you go wood or high-density plastic in a fabulous color, I really must insist that you keep your fancy knives away from those God-awful glass things the world insists on manufacturing. Seriously, that shit will RUIN your knives. They make some really great bamboo boards now, which have the added benefit of being very eco-friendly. Plus, they look super cool, and I always say if you're gonna buy stuff it might as well look super cool.

Cookware. You're probably gonna want to actually cook things after you've gone through all the trouble chopping shit up, huh? Well your options here are seemingly endless, and I wouldn't even presume to tell you what you should and shouldn't buy. Except that I'm going to. Whatever you do, DO NOT BUY ALUMINUM COOKWARE. Your pots and pans should have gravitas, the kind of strength and fortitude you rely upon when the going gets tough and the tough get going. Which means, NO IKEA. Sorry. Also, beware of plastic handles that aren't oven-safe. Because did you know you use your cookware on both the stove top AND in the oven? Because you do, dummies. Beyond that, the world is your oyster. But might I suggest two things? A really good I-need-to-start-lifting-weights-because-this-thing-is-so-heavy dutch oven (5 1/2 quarts is a good size when cooking for two), and an 8-inch non-stick fry pan for making eggs.

Tools. Let's look at some tools. Heh. Here we have a spatula for flipping, a slotted spoon for draining, tongs for just about everything, a ladle for pouring, a heat-proof silicone spatula for, like, scaping things and stuff, and a wooden spoon for stirring.

More tools. Heh. A manual can opener to SAVE THE EARTH!, a garlic press, a vegetable peeler, a citrus juicer, a whisk, an ice cream scoop, and a steel to hone your fancy knives before each use.

Colanders. Are you bored yet? Because I kinda am. ANYWHO, I have two colanders: a big one for rinsing veggies and draining pasta and whatnot, and a fine-mesh one for straining sauces and custards and stuff.

Finally. A simple set of measuring spoons and a measuring cup, and TWO kinds of thermometers, one for meats in the oven and one for meats on the grill.

This is by no means all the gear that I have in my kitchen, by ANY stretch of the imagination, because for me a kitchen store is just about as dangerous as a bookstore, and MY GOD have you seen how many books I own? I own a lot of books. I do, however, think this is the gear that will get you started, and we all have to start somewhere. Or so I'm told, which is why I wrote all this in the first place.

Finally finally, if anyone has any requests by all means let me know. A long and tedious post where I berate all you dummies is sure to follow! (I lurve.)


  1. I'm a dummy. I admit it.

  2. I feel dirty about how much I enjoyed those pictures.

  3. Excellent! Although, I would add that a 6-inch serrated trimmer is worth it's weight in gold.

  4. Ugh. See that apostrophe?


  5. I love the blog and I love the kitchen stuff. LIke that colandar that is mesh? I just assumed I was to use it as a back up, when the other one was dirty. Oops.

  6. You are so smart. Thank god you're here.

  7. I love that ice cream scoop is an essential. And I, too, am an unabashed dummy.

  8. jennie - nuh uh. you have very good ideas that i am completely stealing and passing off as my own.

    sir - and there wasn't a turkey baster in the lot. (i don't know.)

    shari - i think we're in the market for a carver. exciting!

    sarah - well i'm glad to be of service!

    mg! - HA! anyway, i appreciate the sentiment :)

    h!a! - the ice cream scoop is a very recent addition, and DEAR LORD has my quality of life improved.