Living real food starts in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy a lot of high-end gear. High-tech gadgets like food processors, stand mixers, and high-powered blenders are great to have, and many of them save time and effort in the kitchen, but rest assured that none of these is necessary in order to start living real food.
Following are the 10 essentials of a real food kitchen:
- A good quality, sharp, 6- to 8-inch chef’s knife.
Buy the best knife you can afford on your budget (we like the mid-range offerings from Henckels, Wustoff, and Shun) and choose one that feels good in your hand. A small paring knife and a serrated bread knife also come in handy, but neither is essential.
- A cutting board.
The purpose of a cutting board is to protect the countertop from your knife. Sure, you can spend a small fortune on a stunning, 3-inch-thick walnut beauty that will be a centerpiece of your kitchen for years to come, but a simple plastic rectangle from Ikea will serve you perfectly well for now.
- A 6- to 8-quart stockpot with a well-fitting lid.
You’ll use this for cooking pasta, beans, soups, or stews.
- A 2- to 4-quart saucepan, also with a well-fitting lid.
For making sauces, reductions, reheating soup, or steaming or boiling vegetables.
- A 10-inch skillet.
Useful for sautéing, stir-frying, steaming, omelets, and more. For this and the two pots mentioned above, invest in hard-anodized aluminum versions if you can. They are extremely durable, conduct heat well, are nonstick and easy to care for, and most can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven (makes sure the versions you buy are oven-safe since some brands have non-oven-safe handles or lids).
- A box grater with multiple hole sizes.
Use it for grating cheese, potatoes, carrots, squash, citrus zest, onions, ginger, or garlic.
- A vegetable peeler.
This will only set you back a couple of dollars, and you’ll use it often to peel potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. It can also be used for making paper-thin slices of hard cheeses like Parmesan or thinly slicing vegetables for salads and other preparations.
- A large, rimmed baking sheet (or two).
You don’t need to spend a lot of cash on these, but they’ll be useful for everything from roasting vegetables to baking cookies.
- A 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
You can use this for baking cakes, brownies, or casseroles.
- A few basic cooking utensils
A spatula, a wooden spoon, a whisk, and a good pair of tongs