Saturday, November 20, 2010

How To Stock A Kitchen Part 2

Please bear with me, as I know for most of you this is not needed.  However, I wanted to make sure everyone knows that you don't need every gadget or doohickey out there to be able to cook well.  I think I can safely say that I cook a lot, and I generally use only a few items:  including a pot/pan, a spatula, and maybe a bowl or two.  Which leads me to...
Mixing Bowls.  I bought a set of 3 ceramic mixing bowls when I got married.  They're awesome because I have 3 different sizes.  Mixing up some pizza sauce....I use the littlest.  Mixing up my French chocolate cake.....I use both the medium and the large.  I've since acquired quite the large collection of mixing bowls, from stainless steel, to vintage glass and pyrex ones.  Sometimes I think that having 10+ mixing bowls is ridiculous, but I can easily go through a handful for some meals.  However, for the average cook, a set of 3 that nest in each other is perfect and doesn't take up too much space. 
Glass Prep Bowls.  I have had a set of clear glass bowls that all nested together since I was in college.  They're invaluable for storing food, both cooked and prepped (such as chopped onion, celery, and carrots for soup).  They are great to use to measure out ingredients ahead of time.  And recently they were perfectly to make the spiced butter for hot buttered rum ahead of time. Available everywhere, you can even buy some in individual sizes for your own preference at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Measuring Cups and Spoons.  I bought these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond when we first got married and they've lasted quite well this whole time.  While any measuring cups and spoons will work, I've found plastic ones frustrating as the measurements wear off far too often. You also will need a measuring cup for liquids (Do not use one of the metal ones for liquids).  I have a set of 3 I got, but a simple 2 cup volume one will work and the is most usable.  
Miscellaneous Kitchen Utensils.   Let me make a product endorsement (a non-paid for endorsement) and say that Oxo brand utensils are my absolute favorite.  They're long lasting, easy to clean, and easy to hold.  I have a wide array of them but the most important ones in our house that I think everyone should have are:  a ladle, a can opener, a potato masher, tongs, and a metal spatula (used often for turning pancakes or fish).

*Kitchen Aid products tend to be my worst enemies and I've regretted every purchase of them with the exception of my peeler and my non-stick rolling pin.  I've yet to purchase something like the stand mixer (because I mix everything by's therapeutic to me), but I have bought their non-stick roaster and it pretty much died within 3 years.  We still use it because I'm saving for an all stainless steel one, but to quote G, "That roaster is the devil." The non-stick dark parts have flaked off in places, the handles trap water, and the non-stick rack is a devil to get clean.  We've had several break on us or simply quit working.  In fact we went through 2 of their pizza cutters in 3 years, both rusted and broke.  And their tools are hollow handled and retain water.  I do not recommend their products at all.

Glass Pie Dish.  "But I don't make homemade pies." you might say.  And to that I tsk tsk, but nod knowing how intimidating they can be.  However you still need one.  Great for pies, quiches, and savory dishes (like shepherd's pie, or even baking a meatloaf in).   I recommend pyrex, they've been around forever for a reason.

Part 3 coming tomorrow in which I share things I love but aren't entirely necessary (though handy!).


  1. I love the OXO brand too. I have some gorgeous mixing bowls( ceramic) from William Sonoma but they are so darn heavy. I am thinking of trading them in for metal bowls.

  2. Oxo has changed my life. I make a ton of soups and stews from black beans and red kidney beans, and I could not live without their can opener. Worth every penny!