When we moved to London, we were only allowed a certain amount of “stuff” we could ship. While I would’ve loved to bring all of our wedding presents, it just wasn’t feasible – and to be fair, my husband was the one who packed up everything after I had already left so he had more discretion over what made it in those boxes. Don’t worry, we have more than enough University of Michigan cups, hats, blankets to spare – somehow those made it!
That first weekend after we moved into our little (stress, little – it’s London after all) house, I decided I was ready to start cooking again after taking a hiatus while living in corporate housing. It immediately hit me that while I had a few pots and pans, I needed to basically start over from scratch. Thank goodness for Amazon.
So, if you are someone who has every gadget in the world and wants to de-clutter or you eat off plastic cups and plates – OR fall somewhere in between – here is how to make your kitchen work for you.
Dutch Oven – Invest in a large one. Make it a beautiful color that matches your kitchen (or serves as an accent piece) and let it live on your stove. It looks so gorgeous, you can cook anything in it and it’s a breeze to clean. To top it off, they last FOREVER. I would’ve just inherited my Dad’s beautiful yellow one – BUT, my Mom accidentally used it as an outdoor water bowl for our dog one winter and that was the sad,sad, end of that.
Knives – I’ve had both nice knives and cheap knives and can’t recommend the latter enough. You will cut yourself less and it makes slicing and dicing so much more fun! If you don’t have the budget for an entire set of nice knives, I would recommend getting one nice “everything” knife and then get a less expensive set for everything else.
Tupperware – This may seem like an odd place to put Tupperware, but believe me. Bad Tupperware makes cooking and eating healthy at home so much more difficult. Good Tupperware looks pretty, can be taken anywhere without spilling and stacks well both in the fridge and in the cabinet. I tried to save a buck by getting cheap storage containers a few months ago and my husband’s briefcase paid the price. To be fair, he was really rolling the dice having greek yogurt in there.
Non-Stick Bakeware Set – This was something I registered for and brought all the way from Chicago. It makes SUCH a difference – you don’t have to grease the pans and cleanup is so quick. I personally like the GoldTouch collection from Williams-Sonoma.
Non-Stick Pot/Pan Set – These have gotten so affordable, you can get a great set for under 50 USD. No, you won’t be gifting these to your great-grandchildren, but it’ll be just want you need to get started.
Kitchen Basics Set – Some people hate these, I think they’re great. We’ve all seen these – you know, it comes with a grater, a pizza roller, measuring cups, etc. All the gadgets you need but don’t want to buy separately. Go for it, you won’t use all of it every day but when you need that random thing – it’ll be there.
Wooden Cooking Utensils – Your “basics” set above will probably come with plastic utensils (spatula, etc.) but wooden utensils are essential if you want to keep your pots and pans from getting destroyed or having melted plastic in your next pot of chili.
Blender – Once you start making smoothies, this is definitely something you’ll keep out on your counter. Additionally, if you start pureeing soups or sauces – this is a must!
Food Processor – I used to think blenders and food processors could be used interchangeably. I was wrong. They do basically the same thing but blenders need liquid to function and food processors miraculously work on their own.
Mixing Bowl Set – Make sure to get ones that nest inside each other and have lids.
Cutting Boards – Definitely get a few so you can use one for meat and one for everything else.
Roasting Pans – These are such a staple. Make sure they are dishwasher safe – these don’t clean easily by hand.
Slow Cooker -To be completely transparent, I don’t currently have one due to our limited kitchen space but when we upgrade to a bigger kitchen (one day!) it’ll be back in the rotation.
Now, you are all set to GET COOKING! The hard part is deciding what to make first…