Everyone has their kitchen quirks and necessities. To visualize your own essentials, imagine your way through a typical day in the kitchen. What can you not do without?
To organize your kitchen better, decide what your essentials are and place them where you can use them easily. As for the extraneous items that are rarely or never used, put them in storage elsewhere or free up precious storage space and get rid of them entirely.
Another approach to kitchen essentials is by way of your favorite recipes. This is particularly helpful if you tend to make the same dozen family favorites with just the occasional experiment. If you make beef stew two or three times a month from October to March, your Dutch oven is obviously used regularly. Put it and your oft used tools for stew making in the most convenient storage locations.
The following table represents the top ten kitchen essentials for a variety of different family types as offered to us by real live human beings. Obviously, each cook has different priorities, and yours will probably be different. Nevertheless, consider this a snapshot of potential gift giving possibilities for Christmas or birthdays—it's a little insight into what is commonly needed and what isn't.
|First Apartment||Quasi-helpless bachelor||Family Mom||Downsizing Couple||Seasoned Single|
||Dutch oven - cast iron||Electric kettle - good for coffee, tea, ramen, whatever. Much safer than the microwave, or stove top kettle.||Cast-iron Dutch oven|
|Water pitcher filtration system||Sauce pan
||Baking stones with handles||Good Knives - Chef's, paring, bread. Maybe a tomato knife.||Good knives: 8-inch chef's knife and 3 1/2 inch paring knife min. A serrated knife is good, too.|
|Rice cooker||Fry pan
||Good quality knives||Enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, so it can go into the dishwasher, no worries about the seasoning.||Plastic cutting sheets, at least 3|
|Hot water kettle, electric||Blender
||Stainless steel pots & pans||Pots - 4 qt, 2-2.5 qt, 8-12 qt stockpot||Cooking spoons: 1 wooden and 1 metal slotted|
|Coffee grinder & French press||Pepper mill
||Silicone spatulas and scrapers||Skillets - 8 and 12 inch. Maybe a no stick egg pan - 6 inch||Silicone spatula/scrapers: 2|
|Toaster||Big mixing bowl
||Microwave||Cutting boards - flexible ones for veggies!||French press & coffee grinder|
|Mugs||Salad spinner||Toaster oven||Set of nesting measuring cups, dry and liq, measuring spoons.||8" omelette pan and a large cast iron fry pan|
|Insulated beverage container||Rolling pin - also good for crushing nuts||Pepper mill.||Pepper mill|
|Plastic storage containers||Mixing bowls||Colanders. One small - for cans of beans and tomatoes. One large for pasta||12 qt. stock pot, 2 qt. sauce pan w/ lids|
|Medium pot w/ lid||Cookbooks - including a vintage binder cookbook with handwritten family recipes||Set of mixing bowls. At least 3.||Tea kettle - must have a good whistle|
|Medium fry pan||Tea kettle||Mortar & pestle|
|Big bowl||Measuring cups||A wooden salad bowl and a large ceramic mixing bowl|