It’s finally time: You are graduating college or moving out on your own. You’re about to have your very own place! You’ve made your checklist for the big move, and you’re ready to go.
The good news is that you’re the lord and king of your new apartment. The bad news? Well, it’s not exactly bad news, but unless you’re prepared to eat out every night, you’re going to have to cook for yourself.
More good news: Your kitchen may be a bit of a squeeze space-wise, but you can equip it efficiently with carefully chosen cookware that will handle just about any sort of dish you’d like to make.
Start With the Basics
You’ll need to stock your new kitchen with a slate of basics to handle rudimentary cooking tasks. Don’t worry, these won’t take up much space, and you’ll find you get a lot of use from every piece.
Begin with table settings — dishes, cups and flatware. You don’t have to have a full 8- or 12-piece set of dining ware. Simply buy what you think you will need (four of each is probably fine unless you have large get-togethers.
You’ll then need a few cooking pans. Start with a medium-sized pot for cooking sauces, heating soup, boiling noodles or eggs, etc. Then you can add two frying pans, one large and one small for tasks such as sautéing.
A colander or strainer is also essential for pasta, washing fruit or salad greens, etc.
Be sure to have at least one good, sharp kitchen knife. You don’t need a whole elaborate set right away. Just one is a good start! You’ll also need a cutting board to accompany it.
Mixing bowls will serve a wide variety of cooking needs, but again, you don’t need too many. Two of varying sizes will serve you well.
Food storage is helpful for neat, space-saving organization. Consider attractive glass containers that will add charm to your kitchen along with containing your cereals, grains, etc.
Decide What ‘Extras’ You Personally Need
After you’ve gotten the basics down, do a little examination of your cooking style to figure out which extra items you want or need in your kitchen. For example, if you love coffee, a good coffee maker or Keurig brewer should take precedence on your priority list.
Here are some more ideas to consider when rounding out your kitchen stock:
Don’t like to bake? Scratch “mixer” off your list, or at least just go for an inexpensive, small handheld one. If you do like to bake, you will want to consider some baking essentials, such as cookie sheets and cutters, a rolling pin, muffin tins, cake pans and pie pans.
A blender comes in handy for many chopping and pureeing tasks. However, do you drink a lot of smoothies or make a lot of mixed drinks? Consider one that comes with a spout. If you’re using the blender for food only, perhaps a fancier food processor would be a better choice.
Do you eat a lot of rice? A rice cooker doesn’t take up much space and will make your life much easier.
Crockpots come in all sizes, including small ones just right to feed one or two people. If you work long hours, you might consider slow cooking — just add ingredients in the morning and come home at night to a hot meal.
Planning on hosting friends for dinner? You can bake a chicken, turkey or ham in your oven using a small roaster. As a bonus, leftovers can be used for lunches or dinners later in the week.
Now that you have a checklist to stock your first kitchen, you should be ready to handle three meals a day with aplomb!