The long-awaited sequel to last summer’s list of five tools every kitchen should have (refresh your memory) is finally here. Now that you’ve undoubtedly rushed out to purchase all the things I recommended and now have a quality chef’s knife, cutting boards, pots and pans, tongs and assorted high heat spatulas, you’re ready to pick up five more kitchen basics that will help you out as you cook.
As their name implies, measuring cups and spoons will help you measure out your liquid and dry ingredients. Measuring cups for liquids have a spout to make pouring easy. Measuring cups for dry ingredients come in sizes ranging from ¼ cup to 1 cup. Their tops are level so it’s easy to level off dry ingredients for accurate measurements. These are typically inexpensive so pick up several sets.
Mixing bowls are great not just for mixing, but also for holding ingredients while you prep and for use as a garbage bowl while you cook. You can never have too many of these. Pick them up in different sizes and styles from plastic, to stainless steel or even ceramic or glass.
Sheet trays are not just for baking cookies. These rectangular pans have a raised edge on all four sides to keep ingredients in place. They can be used to roast vegetables, bake cakes or brownies and for baking cookies. Cookie sheets typically have a lip or raised edge on only one side to make it easy to slide your cookies from the sheet onto your cooling rack or platter.
While I’m not one to advocate using a food processor for simple tasks like chopping an onion, they do make quick work of things like chopping nuts, making bread crumbs and shredding or chopping vegetables in large quantities. Buy a food processor to fit your needs. Start small and work your way up to a larger, industrial version if you need it.
Every kitchen needs a mixer. Whether it’s small and hand-held or a high-powered, countertop version, mixers come in handy for mixing batters, whipping cream and even getting rid of lumps in your mashed potatoes. If you don’t want to make a big financial commitment with a stand mixer, pick up a smaller, much less expensive hand-held mixer. If you find you’re using it frequently or that you’re tackling recipes that your handheld can’t handle, then you’ll know you’re ready for the heavier duty version.
A well-stocked kitchen contains many more utensils than the ten listed here and in my previous post. This list is simply a springboard for beginning cooks who may not know where to start.