Stocking Your Kitchen

Some girls dream about their weddings from the time they are little…I started really having fun wedding planning when we got to Macy’s to choose kitchen gear. Conversely, I remember vividly a moment about 12 years ago when I knew Mike truly got me…I was whining about our first new apartment together in Philadelphia and how I felt so unprepared to live there. We were going from living on his college campus to our first real place, and all we had was a futon and our two laundry baskets full of clothes–or at least, that’s how I saw it at the time. He calmly looked at me and said, “Ann, if all it takes is going to Wal-Mart and getting a basket of kitchen utensils, let’s go right now. Because then you will be able to cook.” I thought he was nuts, but setting up the kitchen was really all it took. We have pictures of his family visiting for graduation and the place is almost empty (I mean, people could still sit on the futon!), but we’re smiling broadly and we had already made it home. The power of the kitchen.

If you love cooking, eating and sharing your food, you’re going to spend a lot of time with the gear you choose to stock your kitchen. I used my wedding registry to have my kid-in-a-candy-store moment and receive a lot of the things I still use every day, almost 10 years later. But I am always adding things that I think are just awesome. So here’s a collection of tools and a list of what’s in my pantry–tell me about your kitchen and pantry and we can add to it!

My Well-Equipped Kitchen
Recipe type: Crucial
Serves: Everyone
The following is a list of what I have, and love, in my kitchen. Though my kitchen may still contain things I don't love or use as much, I won't be cluttering this list with them!
  • 8-inch and 11 or 12-inch nonstick saute pans: TFal and Food Network brands at Kohl's
  • Large (12 or 14-inch) nonstick saute pan with lid, like the TFal Total Nonstick Jumbo Cooker
  • Dutch oven or a 3-quart or larger stainless steel pot with lid, I love my All-Clad 3-quart casserole
  • Large stainless steel stockpot, many brands can get the job done
  • Cutting boards: I like plastic for cooking prep (Crate and Barrel), bamboo for using as a cheese and fruit serving tray, and I'm still waiting to find the perfect carving board with a deep trench
  • Knives!! Once you use good ones, you will wonder where they have been all your life. We have the Wusthof Classic 9-piece set and we added in a Santoku knife from them too. You need to take care of your knives to keep them super sharp, but more on that later.
  • Rice cooker, Panasonic
  • Immersion blender, Braun
  • Sheet pans, we have stainless steel and nonstick, both by Chicago Metallic. We buy rimmed sheet pans, who needs things flying off the pans?
  • Fun gadgets of note: Microplane zester/grater, Zyliss garlic press, Crate and Barrel's citrus squeezer, Oxo tongs with nylon heads
  1. Those are the basics that I find myself reaching for daily to cook almost everything. I will continue to add fun gadgets as they reveal themselves in the recipes I post. Let me know if you have any questions or want advice on buying gear. I use and abuse it, so I know what works for the home cook.

Pantry list coming very soon!