Editor’s note: This post comes from our pal Katie, who is a marketing coordinator for Food Service Warehouse.
When it comes to cooking, you may be miles away from being the next Wolfgang Puck. And let’s be honest: your friends (and any lady friends in your life) probably prefer it that way. Still, as an emerging, independent and self-sufficient adult male, the ability to hold your own in the kitchen is one of those things you can’t afford to put off forever. As awesome as it sounds to live off of Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for the rest of your life, those days should have ended after you left college.
This guide offers six must-have kitchen supplies to get you started on the right foot. We promise that these simple items will give you the opportunity to start cooking up meals like the pros…or at least a little better than you were before. And hey, you may even impress someone along the way.
1. Chef’s Knife
Every kitchen needs a reliable knife, and a chef’s knife is a good place to start. A good chef’s knife has a blade at least eight inches long made of carbon steel or stainless steel, or an amalgam of the two. Choose a forged knife over a stamped knife, since it pays to invest in something that will last—especially if this is your only kitchen knife. Be sure to hand-wash your chef’s knife to keep it in prime condition.
2. Cutting Board
No use for a chef’s knife unless you have the right surface to cut on. Cutting boards help save your countertops from nicks, and they also provide a food-safe surface that can extend the length of your cutting utensils. Cutting boards come in plastic or wood varieties of all shapes and sizes. Select wood if you prefer a heavy board with a natural look. However, plastic cutting boards are generally easier to clean and less likely to harbor bacteria. It is even more preferable to select several different cutting boards that you can use for different types of foods, which will go the extra mile to prevent cross-contamination. No salmonella here!
3. Non-Stick Skillet
Not only are these babies incredibly versatile, but they are more forgiving than cast iron or aluminum. For your go-to frying pan, choose the non-stick variety. The slick and durable material will last for years when properly cared for. Plus, you can cook everything from pancakes and bacon to chicken breasts and pork tenderloin.
Even if you consider yourself more of a beer drinker, it is essential to have a corkscrew on hand. Occasions in which you might need it—like a romantic dinner for two, or impressing your parents the next time they come to town—are important enough to keep this tool close at hand. Plus, practicing with your own corkscrew ensures that when the time comes, you’ll know how to use one.
5. Grill Set
Yes, maybe this is a bit of a stretch. But, owning a grill set means you have the tongs, the turner, a grill brush, and maybe even a meat thermometer for those times when you need to double check your chicken. You may even be able to use some of these items in your kitchen. And let’s face it: knowing your way around a grill instantly upgrades your overall cooking ability. Having the right tools is a good place to start.
No one said that food wasn’t allowed in this list. Chances are you already have a package of bacon (or two or three) occupying the top shelf of your refrigerator. Not only is bacon the king of breakfast meats, it is actually pretty versatile. Cook up some bacon and crumble it on a salad. Add chunks of thick-cut bacon to your next batch of Bolognese sauce. You could even try your hand at a bacon martini, if you are really creative. The goodness of bacon can do no wrong.