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Kitchen Basics - Getting Started

Contributed by: The Maitre D

I can still remember when I first moved away from the family home, and my Mother's great home cooking, into my first apartment. First there was the joy and excitement of being on my own followed quickly by the stark realization that I was on my own and had to feed myself. Delicious meals no longer appeared on the table as if by magic.

Mom had equiped me with a few basics like a frying pan, some dinnerware and flatware and my first cookbook, but my early attempts at preparing dinners quickly brought me to the realization that I needed a lot more equipment in my kitchen. Each new recipe required another trip to the local kitchen store for some new pot or kitchen gadget.

Are you now in the same situation I was so many years ago and just starting out on your own. Or are you the proud parent of a son or daughter who is leaving the family nest for the first time. Wondering what you need to start off with in your, or their, new kitchen. Following is a list of the essentials every kitchen should have.

Barest Essentials


  • Chef's knife, 10 inches (25cm), wide, weigthy blade for chopping or slicing. A versatile tool it's not called a Chef's knife for nothing.
  • Serrated knife, 8 inch (20cm), for slicing bread and tomatoes. Worth the investment.
  • Carving knife, 10 inch (25cm), with a long, thin, flexible blade for accurate carving.
  • Paring knife, 3-4 inch (7.5-10cm)

Pots and Pans

  • Skillet, 10 inch (25cm), with a long handle and sloping sides
  • Saucepans, 4 cup (1 L) and 6 cup (1.5 L), with tight fitting lids
  • Saute pan, 10 inch (25cm), straight sided, heavy-bottomed pan about 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep



Cleanup & storage

Start with this list and you will be well on your way to a well-equipped kitchen. Just tick off what you already have, print the list and take it with you shopping.

The old adage "quality pays for itself" really applies when it comes to equipping your kitchen so buy the best you can afford. In future articles we'll explore more fully what and how to buy the best quality for a price that fits your budget.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest that you find a good, reputable kitchen store nearby. Preferably one that sells wholesale and retail, a place where both professionals and amateurs can shop and especially one that has a reputation for knowledgeable staff. Start to build a relationship with that store now and they will guide you in the proper selection of pots and pans and kitchenware that fit your budget and cooking requirements.

Copyright 2004, The Maitre D. All rights reserved. Email:
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