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Basic Cooking Essentials

Updated on April 25, 2012

Equiping A Kitchen With Basic Cooking Tools

So, what are the things you need most for a well equiped kitchen that can be used to prepare a varied range of home cooked meals from scratch. What are the cooking essentials that every kitchen should have whether you are a basic or advanced home cook. Below you will find all the cooking essentials you'll need to prepare a variety of recipes, as simple or as complicated as you choose.

The basic kitchen equipment you will need will be dependant on how many people you are cooking for. If you live alone you won't be needing large pots and pans and baking dishes for large meals unless you plan on entertaining. It's something to consider because cooking essentials for one will vary from the needs of a family.

Cooking Essentials - The Basics

Pots and pans are some of the most used items in cooking. Even if you are the most unconfident and basic of cooks, you'll need a set of pans to create simple meals. In this instance it's best to go for the highest quailty you can afford as you will be using these cooking essentials a lot, if not for most meals.

Cheaper pots and pans are great bargains to begin with, but writing from personal experience, they don't last. A set of pots and pans should be seen as an investment, items that you will still be using for years to come. You of course don't have to buy a set, you can buy pots and pans individually, but usually it's far better to buy a set when you're starting out (the size of the set depending on your reqirements) because you get a better deal.

Basic Kitchen Utensils

Another of the basics of cooking essentials are utensils. There are all manner of different kinds for different tasks, the most obvious being spatulas, ladles, whisks, colanders, vegetable peelers and can openers. Those are the real basics of utensils but there are a lot of items that though they may not be cooking essentials, they do make life in the kitchen much easier.

Again, if you're starting out it's probably best to buy a utensil set, as there are certain things that may not seem like absolute must haves, but they'll make preparing food much easier and less time consuming. Things such as kitchen scissors are essential items for me, I use them to prepare meat and fish and they make those tasks much easier. You may make homemade pizza or cook ready made fresh or frozen ones, a pizza wheel isn't an essential, but it's much easier to cut the pizza that way rather than using a knife.

A cooking essential will vary from person to person, it all depends on what kinds of foods you cook or want to cook. I happen to cook a wide range of dishes from many different cuisines so for me, I need a wide and varied range of kitchen equipment, You may have more basic needs but we'll cover all bases to be sure.

Cooking Essentials For Basic Meals

A basic meal doesn't have to be a boring one. If you have limited cooking experience, following a recipe can be a bit daunting, especially if the recipe involves lots of different elements and ingredients. With the right tools, preparing and cooking whilst following a recipe makes for a much simplified experience. Let's look at some examples:

Homemade Pork Burgers - What cooking essentials are needed to make homemade burgers?

Preparation:

This recipe requires grated / minced onion and garlic. For ages I always manually grated those ingredients, but it was time consuming and not without one or two finger accidents. On a whim we bought a mini chopper for the task and it has proven to be a little kitchen treasure! The task is done in a fraction of the time and there is never any concern about safety. You don't have to buy a mini chopper to make homemade burgers, but I couldn't be without one now. It's useful for lots of other things too.

Grater / Mini chopper - to prepare the onions and garlic

Plastic container with lid - to mix the ingredients in then store in the fridge prior to cooking

Fork - for mixing

Skillet - for cooking

Spatula - for turning and serving

Those five items of kitchen equipment are all you need to make and cook homemade burgers, but if you want to get a bit more technical, add a burger press to the list.

Easy Egg Fried Rice

Saucepan - for boiling the rice

Collander - for straining the rice

Chopping board - for cutting the vegetables

Knife - for cutting the vegetables

Whisk - for preparing the egg

Bowl - to whisk the egg in

Wok - to fry the rice

Spatula - for turning the rice

Toad In The Hole

Baking dish - to cook the toad in the hole

Mixing jug - to prepare the batter mix

Whisk - to mix the batter

Spatula - to serve the toad in the hole

Investing In Cooking Essentials

The above examples show just how varied cooking essentials are. If you aren't a cook who primarily uses a microwave, you will be needing an assortment of items to make even the most basic of recipes.

So long as you have a couple of different sized saucepans, a baking dish, skillet, chopping board and various utensils, that's the basis of a cooks kitchen. You don't have to buy lots of other kitchen items to be able to prepare great home cooked meals from scratch. However, lots of these added extras that are cooking essentials to some are there because they make life easier. If you have the money to spend, it's worth investing in the little things that make preparing and cooking more simple.

It's worth remembering that you'll be using these items time and time again. You may initially buy an item to prepare a specific meal like I did with the mini chopper. Since using it to make homemade burgers with I have also used it to make sauces such as salsa and guacamole, meat rubs, marinades and salad dressings. You can cook fried rice in a skillet, but unless it's a super small portion, keeping the ingredients within the skillet isn't that easy. You may buy a wok just for this meal, but you'll be using it over and over for all manner of different dishes. I cook homemade french fries in mine and well as other fried foods and stir fries.

Happy cooking!

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