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Gearing Up

Back in the day, when you became a young married lady, you had a wedding shower and everyone supplied you with all the necessities for a long and successful career in homemaking. Well, those days are over. While you might still have a wedding shower at some point, you’ll likely collect your own pots, pans, and dishes over time. The post, pans, and dishes that I’m bringing into married life are super gnarly.

I have to admit that I get a lot of pleasure from having matching silverware and a full set of functional measuring cups. All that aesthetically pleasing stuff is another motivator to get me going in the kitchen. But it’s in no way essential to learning how to cook, or to enjoying the process. However, if you’re looking to start gathering some good kitchen gear, or fill in some blanks, here’s a handy checklist. Don’t feel like you need to spend a million bucks or have the most high-end gear on the market. You can find great deals online. You can buy items at garage sales. You can ask your mom or grandma to part with the stuff they got for their showers and never use. Or, the next time you have a birthday, graduation, or Chrismukkah, create a “registry” and have your friends give you something you know you’ll put to good use. You don’t need to put a ring on it to get your kitchen fired up.

In the Drawer

  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Resealable plastic bags (assorted sizes)
  • Dish towels (instead of paper towels)
  • The Honest Company or Mrs. Meyers dish soap (no nasty chemicals)
  • Utility scissors or kitchen shears

For Baking and Cooking

  • Casserole dish with lid
  • Big, deep skillet
  • Smaller nonstick frying pan
  • Big-ass pot with lid
  • Medium pot with lid
  • Small/sauce pot with lid (Note: You can often find a stainless-steel or nonstick porcelain or enamel cookware set that includes all of the above!)
  • Nonstick baking sheets (two)
  • Glass bakeware set that includes baking dishes
  • Cupcake tins
  • Loaf pan
  • Colander
  • Cutting boards: one for meat and one for everything else (I like plastic for meat and wood for veggies, cheese, fruit, etc.)
  • Vitamix, NutriBullet, or other blender
  • Set of mixing bowls (I prefer a couple of nice, durable stainless-steel ones for when I use my KitchenAd mixer – the KitchenAid is not essential, but very useful.)
  • Pot holders/oven mitts (Silicone is great, but I prefer quilted because my aunt Meme (who sewed her own as presents for us. Cooking with love!)
  • Mason jars: four 8 – ounce jars and two 16 – ounce jars (For smoothies, chlorophyll water, coconut water, storing spices and dry goods, you name it. You can buy them cheaply in bulk on Amazon. They look super chic and hipster on the shelf/counter.)
Utensils

  • Knives: chef, paring, and serrated
  • Sharpening stone (Sharp knives are not only helpful – they chop veggie cutting time in half – but also important. One night when Michael was out of town, I made the brilliant move of trying to pull a pit out of an avocado by sticking the point of my knife into it. I ended up slicing open my finger instead. At the ER the doctor said admiringly, “It’s a beautiful cut…you must have really sharp knives!” He assured me that the cut would heal quickly due to his ability to stitch up that smooth line. Michael takes a weird kind of pride in this story. On dates when we would be cooking together, he’d come over with HIS OWN SHARPENING STONE. He bought his mom one as a gift, too. The moral of the story? Show your love with very, very sharp instruments.
  • Whisk
  • Tongs
  • Rubber or silicone
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Can opener
  • Ladle
  • Slotted spoon
  • Wooden spoon – use it for EVERYTHING
  • Grater
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Set of measuring cups (for dry measures)
  • Two – cup Pyrex measuring cup (for liquid measures)
  • Baby bottle brushes (to clean those mason jars)
  • Handheld lemon juicer (for morning-lemon-water convenience)
  • Little wooden bowls (for black pepper, kosher salt, or other spices – I keep one right near the stove so it’s easy to grab a quick pinch).
  • Sponges (I buy the scrub-top ones at the grocery store or get them in bulk at Costco. Wash ’em in the dishwasher if you’re worried about germs, or just replace them frequently.
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