12 Things Every Man Needs In His Kitchen
We used to have a girlfriend named Wanda who could really cook. A dozen Wandas would be good. Otherwise, there's this stuff... Tweet
Want to make the leap from microwave pizza guy to your neighborhood’s Wolfgang Puck?
We’ve got the tools to get you started.
Let’s just say your idea of food prep is opening the cornflakes, then adding milk and sugar — or to put this in cookbook parlance, 1 cup milk, 2tsp sugar. But you have some fresh aspirations to becoming a chef. Where to begin if you know next to nothing?
The celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck has a suggestion:
“The only way to teach people how to truly do it and do it the right way,” he once said, “is to get those ingredients and kitchen tools in front of them and in their hands to use.”
But what are the “right” cooking tools? Relax, unless you’re planning on tackling complicated recipes like Duck Pâté en Croûte, you’ll only need a few basic gadgets and utensils in your kitchen arsenal to make just about anything you can imagine.
You don’t need a full sleeve or block of knives, but you do need this. This can be your one utensil that cuts, minces, dices, and carves in a pinch. It tends to be a larger knife — think something Mike Myers from those Halloween slasher movies would prefer — and if you’re getting just one, make sure it’s a high-quality, well-balanced knife. It can get pricey, but if there’s anywhere you splurge in a kitchen, it should be here.
A set of pots and pans
Make sure the set you choose contains at least two different-sized frying pans, one large (to boil pasta water or make soup) and a saucepan. We recommend looking for sets like this one, which comes with 14 different pots and pans in various sizes, at a far more affordable price than buying each piece individually.
Despite the name, it’s not just for cheese. You can also use this grater for zesting a lemon, shaving chocolate, or mincing garlic.
A set of bowls usually come nested and in three sizes. Melamine bowls tend to last longer and don’t usually break as easily as ceramic. They’re not just useful for cooking — whether you’re whipping up a batch of pancake batter or mixing a delicious salad — they’re also fantastic for serving popcorn at your next weekend movie night.
Glass baking dishes
They come in all sizes and shapes, but make sure you pick a baking dish that comes with a lid. Trust us, it makes the entire process so much easier. Whether you’re making a Chicken Enchilada Casserole or your mom’s secret recipe for lasagna, your dish can go straight from the oven to the table and then, when dinner’s over, the leftovers can stay in the same pan and go right to the fridge.
The ideal tool for stirring and scraping up the bits at the bottom of a frying pan. The secret to making the perfect scrambled eggs often comes down to having a wooden spoon that you can use with the dramatic flair of an orchestra conductor.
To the uninitiated, a spatula might seem like the simplest, most idiot-proof utensil in your kitchen. But there are actually three different types of spatulas: metal, plastic, and BBQ. Plastic spatulas work well if you have non-stick pans with a coating. Metal helps with serving from hot dishes. And BBQs are usually larger and have an extended handle so you can flip your meat away from the flame on a grill.
A little different from the flipping variety, these spatulas are used to scrape down a bowl or down the sides of the pot if you’re cooking a stew or chili. They have multiple functions, come in all sizes, and can even be shaped like a spoon.
Whether you’re grilling a steak or baking a chicken, you can’t go wrong with this essential. The digital ones are more accurate, and if you get one that’s magnetized, you can leave them on the edge of your fridge or on the grill, so you’ll never lose it.
If you can think of a better way of straining cooked spaghetti or cleaning your fresh veggies, we’d love to hear it. Consider getting a colander made of rubber that pops open when you need it but also lays flat in a drawer, so they won’t even take up too much cabinet space.
Salt and pepper
The gold standards of seasonings. Nothing can be cooked without at least a dash or two of salt and/or pepper. Seriously, you can create damn fine meals without any other seasonings. If you brought home the perfect cut of meat, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a very hot grill is all a steak needs.
Or as your grandmother may have called it, a “jelly roll pan.” You’ll need this to bake everything from French fries to pizzas, or if you’re cooking for a grandmother with a sweet tooth, jelly rolls and cookies.