I’ve found that most students have no idea where to even begin with getting their kitchen ready to make basic meals. Apart from having the proper pots and pans that they bought or share with their roommates (and in many cases have never touched), they really have no idea what to do. Before I started investing more time into my passion for food I knew how to make pancakes, pasta, omelettes, and… yeah that’s about it actually. It’s easy to watch a cooking show and think you need a bunch of complex stuff, and its also easy to think you can get away without a lot of essential equipment or ingredients. This post will help you find a middle ground between those two ends of the spectrum.
(Optional) Chef’s Knife: I say optional because you can probably just get away with pairing knives, but it would make your life 10x easier to get a proper chef’s knife. They tend to be a bit more costly ($20-40) but are definitely worth the cost. Get one with a good grip and that feels good in your hand. If you only buy one knife for your kitchen, I highly suggest you make it a chef’s knife.
Pairing Knife/Knives: These are smaller knives that are ideal for cutting vegetables. If you want you can use them for other things like meats, but it will be more difficult.
2) Basic Tools
I’m going to assume you already own a set of pots and pans, wooden spatulas, and the like and talk about things that tend to be less common among students living away from home.
Box Grater: Instead of buying pre-grated cheese it tends to be a lot cheaper to grate your own. Not to mention it can be used for any other recipe that involves grating things.
Cutting Board: Pretty self-explanatory. Good to have at least one or two of these of a medium to large size.
Parchment Paper/Aluminum Foil: Use it to cover your baking pans so you aren’t constantly having to wash them. The parchment paper is a must when using a bamboo steamer.
3) Basic Ingredients
(Extra Virgin) Olive Oil: Used mainly for coating pans or cooking pasta. I use a cheaper one for most things, but occasionally use a more expensive (better tasting) one as pasta sauce.
Salt & Pepper: For seasoning in most recipes.
Butter: Used mainly for coating pans and is a key ingredient in a lot of recipes.
Eggs: Not 100% necessary but good to have for cooking a lot of different kinds of breakfast. I use it to make pancakes.
Milk: Again not 100% necessary, but also good for cooking (or having with) breakfast.
I may add more to this post later on so be sure to check back occasionally.