For me, April showers don’t just bring May flowers, they also bring weddings.
I am twenty seven and just in that part of life when all my friends are getting married. In the last few years, I have spent a good amount of time studying registries and wandering aisles of department stores in search of kitchen appliances I have never heard of or the latest and greatest cooking gadgets.
These are gifts I love to give because I love Love. I truly enjoy celebrating my friends’ excitement… and I do remember feeling like I also needed a fancy fondue pot and a vegetable steamer when I was getting married.
Then, I was starting a home with my new husband and wanted to fill that home.
While I appreciate every gift Adam and I received and know that I am so blessed to have people in my life who wanted to give me these items to celebrate my own marriage, I sometimes wish I could go back and tell myself to cool it with the registry gun.
Now that I have spent much more time becoming a strong, real food home cook, I know you don’t need too much to have everything you need to create superb, home cooked meals. I know keeping a simple real food kitchen is essential to avoiding stress.
Below are good equipment recommendations for maintaining minimalism in the kitchen as you keep your food simple too:
Having a thirty piece knife set may make you feel like an Iron Chef, but it also can take up a lot of space.
And, the likelihood of you using all of those knives? Slim to none.
What you need is just one really good chefs knife and a good paring knife. In my opinion and experience, knives are also one area in the kitchen that deserve a little more investment. Spending a bit more on a good knife will save you money in the long run.
A cutting board goes hand in hand with knives; however, this is an area that doesn’t need much investment. A cutting board basically is just a way to protect your counter tops so a relatively inexpensive, plastic cutting board is all you need.
I am an avid canner, but mason jars fill a lot of roles in the real food kitchen.
They are great for shaking up scratch made dressings. They offer a great bulk food storage solution for lentils, rice, beans, dried pasta, and more. With liquids like broth, mason jars can go in the freezer with a little room left for expansion. I even use them in place of Tupperware with dinner leftovers.
Large Box Grater
A good grater is perfect for many uses from grating cheese, making bread crumbs, breaking down vegetables and more. Many box graters have different sized grating surfaces so they can also be used for zesting or grating ginger, nuts and spices.
A Large Skillet
There are so many different types of skillets out there, but I believe you can easily get by with just one.
I love, love, love cast iron. It retains heat well, it can easily be transferred into the oven and they are not too expensive. They also are built to last for the ages when non-stick coated skillets tend to show wear and tear quickly.
In cooking, I rarely use precise measurements. But, when baking, you have to. Measuring cups and spoons are kitchen staples and are super cheap. They also are great tools for young kids in the kitchen to learn more about reading and following a recipe… And give you a helping hand!
From a food safety perspective, a thermometer is a must.
From a home cook’s perspective, a thermometer is also the difference in a great dish or a poorly prepared dish as it helps the cook understand if the meal is underdone — or over done.
My all-purpose, digital thermometer works great and gets a workout every time I roast a whole chicken or whip up some mozzarella cheese.
A Medium Sized Sauce Pan and One Big Pot
Yes. Two Pots. That’s it. No more clanging around when trying to find that same stinking pot you use all the time anyways!
The sauce pan will get the job done in creating sauces, boiling veggies, eggs, smaller batches of soup, whatever! The big pot will be great for pasta, soups, stews, making broth, and more. Make sure both have lids!
One Large Baking Sheet and One Baking Dish
No need to spend too much money on either. A large baking sheet serves as the surface for just about anything you put in the oven from cookies to roasts. The baking dish will help with casseroles, lasagna, cakes, and more.
As far as gadgets and handheld tools go, a good rule of thumb is that if it only has one use, you don’t need it. I hate when I see tools that are made specifically to mince garlic or dice an onion… I have a knife for that. But, thanks!
However there, of course, is an exception to every rule. The exception to this rule?
Tongs, slotted spoon, whisk, spatula.
A wine opener.
Cheers to keeping the food — and the kitchen — simple!