After looking at the basic pantry items in Pantry Basics 101, 102, and 103, I thought we could turn our attention to basic kitchen tools. If you are going to keep the pantry stocked and do some cooking around the house, this series will look at the basic hardware you will need. Check out Kitchen Basics 101 here and Kitchen Basics 102 here.
This is another workhorse of the kitchen. In restaurant parlance, you have size options like the full sheet, half sheet, and quarter sheet as shown in the above picture. This is what you use to roast vegetables, bake cookies, and just make use of your oven efficiently. What size you want, will depend on your needs and how many people you are cooking for at a time. If you are worried about baking cooking and things sticking, instead of buying an expensive non-stick cookie pan, just line one of these with parchment paper.
Mixing bowls, and small ramekin style bowls, are extremely useful for your kitchen. I use a lot of small bowls and ramekins to corral the mis-en-place for recipes so everything is ready when I start cooking. Larger bowls are, axiomatically, used for mixing things like batters or tossing salads.
This tool, also called a spatula at times, goes along with those bowls I just listed. A bowl scraper lets you get all of the good stuff out of the bowls because the flexible head will adhere to the curves of the bowl. It provides great coverage if you are spreading something on bread and I prefer to use these when scrambling eggs.
While there is a lot of cooking that can be done “to taste” or without specific measurements, sometimes you want the confidence of following a recipe. This has both dry and liquid measuring cups shown – the ones with a spout are for liquids while the ones without are for solids.
If you are going to be cooking more at home, you will probably have leftovers. An often overlooked part of a good kitchen set-up is labeling gear to keep track of what you have in the fridge and pantry. I use regular masking tape and a clickable marker. The masking tape will adhere to most things but without leaving too much of a residue when it is time to remove the label. Similarly, the marker means the writing is large and easy to identify at a glance and the clickable nature lets me use it in one hand without fumbling to keep track of a cap.
Do you have all 5 of these items in your kitchen right now? Is there something you think we missed? What else would you like to see covered in a future “Basics” series?