When you first get your own place, you start off with practically nothing in your kitchen. So what should you buy? Rather than rush out and buy a lot of equipment that you'll never use, you should aim to begin with the items that you'll most need. Here are the 7 essentials for every kitchen …
1. Plastic Storage Containers
Start by getting a set of storage containers - honestly, you will find them so useful. You can use them to store open packets and avoid spillage (you do not want rice spilling all over the kitchen!), freeze leftovers, pack sandwiches … They're easy to wash and store, so buy a set - look for one with containers of different sizes.
2. Measuring Cups & Spoons
Another tool that will make cooking so much easier is a set of measuring cups. If you're in the US, these will be essential for following recipes, and if you're not in the US they are still handy if you want to make a recipe from a US site. You should also get a separate jug for measuring liquids.
3. A Chef's Knife
Yes, you can buy a knife block with a set of different knives. But a good chef's knife will be more versatile than you think, and last a long time. This is one item that is worth paying more for; a cheap knife will soon blunt. A decent knife, however, will make chopping, slicing and other food preparation so much easier.
4. The Perfect Peeler
If you can find the perfect peeler for you, it will make you so happy! Everybody has their own preferences, so try a few types until you hit on the right one. There are few more frustrating kitchen experiences than struggling to peel a simple potato, so finding the right one for you will make the task quicker and easier.
5. A Hand Blender
While not strictly essential, a hand blender (also called a stick blender) is definitely useful. It can save you the aching arms caused by trying to whip cream or get lumps out of your sauce. You can also use it to puree fruit, blend soup to make it smoother, and make hummus. These blenders are easy to clean, and very inexpensive to buy.
6. Mixing Bowl
You'll also find a good-sized mixing bowl very handy. Whether you're mixing a cake, or making home-made burgers, baking bread or mixing a salad, a nice large bowl will ensure that you can prepare the food without spilling it all over the worktop. Plastic bowls are cheap, but you can also buy a glass bowl if you want something more sturdy (just don't drop it!).
Finally, a colander is one of those items you really need in your kitchen. Avoid buying one, and you'll end up dropping pasta in the sink. It'll also do double duty for washing salad and other vegetables. Plus it's the best way of draining potatoes.
These are some of the items you'll need to start out with, but as time goes on you'll be able to see what else you'll find useful. A lot of kitchen equipment ends up having very little use, so the more versatile an item is, the better. Then you won't have too many things taking up space!