Recently I was asked, and happily accepted, to do some cooking and baking at a relatives’s house for their pre-wedding party. It was absolutely my pleasure and since I was flying in for the occasion, I couldn’t bring any of my own kitchen tools (for some reason the TSA frowns at sharp knives in your carry on) and had to rely on whatever utensils and gizmos were in the couple’s cabinets and drawers. I’m certainly not a prima donna in the kitchen and the bride graciously thanked me for sending her out to Target the day before her wedding to buy two baking sheets and an electric hand mixer.
There are loads of ways to improvise and be creative in the kitchen – the tiny cough syrup measuring cap I found in the drawer was fairly accurate to measure the baking powder and vanilla and two opened coffee filters placed in the insert of a vegetable steamer worked quite nicely to drain orzo. And the plastic wrap (found in the freezer because supposedly it sticks better cold) was a life saver. It all depends on what you’re cooking or baking, but some things can’t be cobbled together to make them work. So here are a few things that I consider to be the bare minimum important items to have in your kitchen:
- At least 1 sharp knife (I’d take any size and more than one would be nice)
- Baking sheet (two or three would make your cookie making go a lot faster)
- Handheld electric mixer (a Kitchen Aid would be pushing it)
- Measuring cups and spoons (lumped together so we can add more to the list)
- One small and 1 large pot, and 1 small and 1 large pan (named generically as not to confuse the issue with saucepan, skillet, stockpot,frying pan, sauté pan, etc.)
- Mixing bowl (again, a few different sizes would put a smile on my face)
- Oven proof baking/roasting dish (disposable aluminum doesn’t count)
- Tongs (to pick up just about anything, hot or cold including ice for your cocktail)
- Rubber spatula (to mix, stir, combine, blend, meld and scrape or to lick the bowl)
- Large wooden or heat resistant spoon (metal doesn’t count unless you have a high tolerance for pain)
- Wooden cutting board (I know, this makes eleven)
I would consider this a very basic list especially considering all the kitchen gadgets out there in the market. And even if you don’t cook and think there’s no way you’d ever use any of these things, you never know who might just one day show up in you kitchen who would.