Disclaimer: I am not paid by any of the manufacturers that I recommend below. Additionally, I have purchased these products on my own and none were gifts from the manufacturers. I recommend these products because I have used them extensively for many years. If this ever changes, I will make note of it in my recommendation.
There are a number of tools that everyone needs in the kitchen. None of these need to be expensive, but I do recommend buying good quality tools. If you pay for quality the first time, you will only cry once.
I am a huge fan of Henckel knives, which are made with from high carbon stainless steel. They are easy to sharpen and hold an edge well. There are a number of different lines in the Henckel repertoire ranging from relatively in expensive to massively expensive. I also recommend Chicago Cutlery knives, which are generally more affordable.
- An 8 inch chef knife
- A 3 or 4 inch paring knife
- A bread knife
- Kitchen Shears
The following are relatively generic recommendations. In terms of specific recommendations, I am fond of wooden or bamboo cutting boards because they tend not to dull knives as quickly as plastic boards. That being said, they need to be kept clean and sanitized. In terms of tongs, I like locking tongs with non-stick ends because they don’t mar enameled pots and pans.
- A set of mixing bowls
- A peeler
- A can opener
- A cutting board
- A grater
- Wooden spoons
- A spatula
- A turner
In general, I recommend stainless steel pans with aluminum cores which can be very expensive. Alternately, a stainless steel pan with a heavy copper bottom will work nicely as well which are generally less expensive. I avoid non-stick pans because the surfaces are made of teflon and can be easily scratched. Additionally, new research suggests that teflon does not resist high heat as well as once thought and this may result in dangerous chemical compounds leaching into your food. I also
- A 10 inch frying pan
- A 4 quart saute pan
- A few sauce pans (3 qt, 4 qt, and 5 qt are good for starters)
- A stock pot (8 qt)
- A 9×13 baking pan
Some people get religious about grilling. I don’t. I am comfortable using either a charcoal grill or a gas grill. Gas grills have the advantage of being ready quickly, but they don’t produce the same flavor as charcoal. Charcoal grills produce great flavor, but take a while to get warmed up.
If you are going to use a charcoal grill, I recommend using a charcoal chimney to get your coals going. I also recommend that you use real hardwood charcoal rather than briquettes. They are made with fillers that don’t burn as hot or as cleanly as real charcoal. It costs you a few extra bucks, but real hardwood charcoal is worth the money.
Additionally, if you use charcoal you can easily add hardwood and other things (such as wet rosemary) for additional smoke and flavor enhancement.
- A grill of your choosing