What Your Kitchen Needs For Cooking

After hearing a tale from my husband regarding one of his coworkers, I have decided to do a kitchen basics post instead of a recipe today.

A little background:  My husband works with someone who grew up in a house that didn’t cook, therefore there is no cooking in their house.  When I say no cooking, I mean fast food and microwave meals – they have never even had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  From indications I have picked up from his stories, they would like to learn but their kitchen lacks materials needed to make even the most basic of dishes.  There are no pots or pans!

So, today’s post is dedicated to what a beginner cook needs to make simple meals at home.  Nothing outlandish, like a rotisserie machine, but simple, basic kitchen items you will use every single day.




Sharp Knives

Two Knives And A Board

You will need a good cutting board – I recommend having two, one for veggies and one for meats, with a groove around the edge for catching juices (so it doesn’t spill onto your counters or floor).  I do NOT recommend a glass cutting board – the glass will dull your knives!  Plastic is ok, if it is what you already have, but my personal preference is bamboo.


I also recommend you have two basic knives – a Chef knife (or a Santoku knife) and a Paring knife.  You will also need a good knife sharpener.  I know it is expensive, but the sharpener is just as important as your knives!  Your knives will be no good to you if they are dull and do not slice through something like a raw carrot like it was softened butter.  (You can wait a few weeks between getting your knives and your sharpener, if, like our family, you have to budget for the purchases between paychecks.)  And I will concur with the wonderful Julia Child, do not buy stainless steel knives.  Invest in your knives and they will last you a lifetime, not just a few years.  Also, I do not like wooden handles, I am always worried about bacteria in the kitchen and a hilt which is not part of the knife as a whole always worries me.  I like solid knifes, from tip to hilt they should be one unit.


Pots And Pans


Iron Skillets Hanging



As I have mentioned in previous posts, I use cast iron for cooking.  I have five different sizes and types.  I have a single fried egg size, two slightly larger small skillets, two medium skillets, two large skillets and a griddle.  I also have two enamel coated cast iron dutch ovens and a cast iron wok, along with several miscellaneous products.  Yes, they are all from Lodge (it is what I grew up with and I have never had an issue with the brand).  Now, if you live near Myrtle Beach, SC – or go there on vacation in the summer – there is a Lodge Outlet Store you absolutely have to visit!

Now, you don’t have to have every single one of these products to do basic cooking in your kitchen.  I have collected these products over the last three to four years.  Some I bought, some were gifts.  All you really need to start out is an 8-inch skillet and a 12-inch skillet, a dutch oven is nice as it doubles as a sauce pan for our large family, but they also have cast iron sauce pans, though stainless steel works just as well.  An iron skillet works on the stove top AND in the oven.  I make roasted chicken in the big skillet, when I take it out to rest on the cutting board (this is where the groove in the cutting board really comes in handy), I then put the skillet on the stove burner for making the jus – one pot for roasting and jus!  I also make oven baked veggies in my skillets.  You can make bread, cakes, meats of various kinds, fish, veggies…just about anything you can make in the oven or stove top can be made in a regular old iron skillet.  Don’t believe me?  They make cookbooks just for cast iron!



Ok, so we have our cutting boards, our knifes, and our skillets and sauce pans.  Yes, this is all you need to start your kitchen! You don’t need a gourmet kitchen with all the bells and whistles to cook for your family.  You don’t need every electronic gizmo known to man – though you can pry my Kitchen Aid Stand out of my cold, dead hands…  All you need are the basics.  This is where I started.  I have added to my collection over the course of years.  When asked what I want for gifts, I point to my Amazon wish list and tell them to look for the kitchen items (yes, I have to be specific, I have about fifteen pages on my wish list and in departments all over the board – Amazon can be dangerous for me lol).

Oh, and if you bake, you will also need measuring cups and spoons – you know, if you need to be precise about the recipe (hey, I occasionally measure!!!).  However, you are on your own for plates and cutlery.


Now it’s your turn!  If you were on the proverbial desert island, what kitchen items would you absolutely HAVE to take with you (besides the coffee machine, of course)?