Man cannot live on spatula and frying pan alone-- there are kitchen essentials that every person needs to create a home-cooked meal, whether it's for a dinner party or an evening at home with your significant other. You won't know you need them until it's too late, so add these kitchen supplies to your collection:
A rubber scraper does a whole lot more than just scrape cake batter off the sides of the bowl-- it mixes, stirs, and scoops. It's basically your best friend when you're in a sticky situation in the kitchen. These kitchen essentials are generally inexpensive, so treat yourself to a variety of them - short, tall, flat, angular, spoon-shaped. Keep in mind that rubber scrapers can melt with heat, so silicone are the best option for those looking to do some more intense cooking.
Cast Iron Skillet
This is one of the more expensive kitchen supplies, but you only need to buy it once. In fact, the cast iron skillet gets better with age and use. You don't even clean it the same way you would a non-stick pan, since you want to keep all the flavors of foods past to enhance your future culinary experiments.
Why not just buy a stainless steel pan? A cast iron skillet is superior to the standard pan, as it heats evenly all around and can even be transferred to the oven. The flavor difference is one you have to taste to believe.
Anyone who's felt the effects of salmonella wouldn't dare go without this most important of kitchen essentials. Undercooked poultry is particularly dangerous, as are other meats, and checking for pinkness in the middle isn't always a surefire way to check doneness. Invest in a good meat thermometer and you'll notice the difference not just in your health but also in the flavor of your foods.
Even if you're not a baker, you're going to need a baking sheet. When the rumbles start revving up in your stomach on late on a Sunday night and you need to cook that roll of cookie dough, the baking sheet will come to your rescue. You'll use it to cook vegetables, reheat leftovers and even cook the almighty pizza. Feel free to go cheap with these kitchen essentials-- they generally wear out fast due to high use and can be replaced for just a few dollars.
As a young one, you may have dreamed of a life filled with taqueria tacos and cheese puffs, but everyone soon learns that the body just doesn't work without vegetables. One of the essential kitchen supplies often forgotten is the vegetable peeler. Sure, you can use a plain old house knife, but a good, sharp peeler is faster, more efficient and actually kind of fun to use.
Anyone who loves pancakes needs a whisk. It can stir up anything from whipped cream to eggs, and whisks are designed specifically to incorporate air into the the foods you're stirring for optimal fluffiness. Pick up a simple stainless steel one, or splurge for a silicone version that doesn't melt in high heat.
Someday, you'll actually crave a salad, and that salad will need a safe place to stay. A big bowl comes in handy for a lot of things-- mixing cake batter, transporting that huge pot of stew you made for the potluck, and storing that homemade batch of sangria. Keep in mind that a big bowl takes up room, and you may end up having to leave it out of your cabinet. So it's wise to choose one that's appealing to the eye. Be sure to pick one with a lid if you want to use it to carry food to and fro.
Big Chef's Knife
There are few more powerful feelings you can have in the kitchen than when wielding a big knife. The 8-inch chef's knife is ideal for most cutting needs, like cutting veggies, mincing garlic, chopping herbs, and slicing steak. It's wise to spend the extra money one one that's super sharp and precise-- it not only cuts better but lasts longer and requires less sharpening. (Oh, and don't forget to pick up a knife sharpener while you're at it.)
Big Cutting Board
In your dorm room, that tiny cutting board may have sufficed for the occasional cheese slices or chopping limes for your cervezas. But you're ready to move on to the wide, broad world of a an expansive cutting board. It doesn't have to be insanely heavy or carved from the wood of an ancient Japanese cherry blossom tree-- just aim for one big and sturdy enough to comfortably tackle a large cabbage.
This is one of those kitchen essentials that can save you money in the long run. After all, shredded cheese costs a ton, but those blocks of cheese cut behind the deli counter are generally higher quality and more affordable. Plus, you get freshly grated cheese every time, and that's just plain old wonderful.