This list of must have kitchen items is based on what I learned as a young woman setting up house. Those of us who now have kitchens with two of everything surely know what I’m talking about. If you’re newly out on your own, you’ll soon discover, usually when you’re in the middle of trying to make dinner for your friends, that you are missing certain things in your kitchen. These must have kitchen items, while you may only use them once in a blue moon, are ones that I think you need to have on hand.
1. The Egg Separator
This is definitely one thing that should be on your shopping list for must have kitchen items. Sure, you can rock the yolk back and forth in the two halves of the egg shell. If you aren’t the best cook like me, though, 9 times out of 10 a piece of the shell will end up where you don’t want it or the yolk will break. If your recipe depends on only egg whites, you’re left with no choice but to waste an egg and start over. Look for an egg separator that is large enough to fit across your measuring cup or a smaller bowl. It’s hard to break an egg and hold the separator at the same time.
I love ramekins! These tiny little bowls have so many uses. Not only can you serve sauces in the really pretty ones, and they come in many styles and colors, they are great for holding your measured ingredients. When I bake anything from scratch, I’ll set up my ramekins and do all my measuring at once. Baking powder, salt, etc. all measured out in individual ramekins make baking so much easier. You can see what you’ve emptied into your mixing bowl so there’s no doubt that everything went into your masterpiece. There are even ramekins tempered for baking so impress your friends and family with individual souffles or something just as tasty.
3. Rubber Spatulas
Those of you who have complete kitchen set-ups may roll your eyes at this one, but remember, I’m suggesting for a young woman’s first kitchen. Rubber spatulas are a must! They come in all sizes. Rubber spatulas help to get every last drop of cake batter into your baking dish or all of the peanut butter out of the jar. Anything you want to scrape clean, use a rubber spatula to do so.
4. The Grater
I’m suggesting your look for a regular old grater that has four sides and the handle on top. The handle and shape make this safe, and each side is a different size for grating different things. I’m from the south, so my grater is crucial for homemade mac and cheese. The smallest side is excellent for zesting orange and lemon peels. I love my grater.
5. The Church Key
I may have the name completely wrong on this, but it’s what my grandmother called this type of can opener. It has two sides, one for puncturing cans and the other for popping bottle tops. If you have a large can of juice or a can of any liquid put two holes in the top opposite each other and the liquid comes out easily without taking off the entire lid with a regular can opener. The flat side pops open your soda bottles or anything with a bottle cap. If you use the puncturing side on canned cranberry sauce, you know, the kind that comes out shaped like the can, it will slide out much easier.
6. An Array of Spices
Spices can be expensive, so I’m not suggesting your rush out and pick up one of every kind. Every now and then when you have a little extra cash, pick up a spice from the grocery store. Now, if you simply aren’t into cooking, then skip this one, but if you like to cook and try new recipes, this is a great idea. Some spices I like to have on hand are cardamom, allspice, ground ginger, poultry seasoning, and sage.
I guess you may think I’m silly listing knives as a must have when most of us do have them. I’m talking about a very good set of knives. I’m open to suggestions because I have yet to find a set within my budget that stays sharp or at least becomes sharp again once I sharpen them. Steak knives, bread knife, paring knife, chef’s knife, and kitchen shears are usually included in a set. I peel everything with a knife; forget those potato peelers, so I definitely think a good set of knives is important.
I do hope this list helps those of you setting up your first kitchen. I can remember cooking rice and realizing once it was ready that I didn’t have a colander. Maybe that should be number 8! If you know of other gadgets, leave a comment. I love anything for the kitchen. I look like a much better cook than I am! What tools and gadgets are must-haves for you? What should I add to my list?