One of the problems with setting up a kitchen is deciding on which pieces of equipment are important and which can be left behind. With all of the equipment available to home chefs today that is not an easy to make, especially for those who follow any number of the cooking shows now on the air. Fortunately there are a few choices that can make life easier for any cook, and most of them apply to almost any sort of cooking. Ignoring pots and pans, there are some pieces of essential kitchen equipment that need to be considered.
I always love a good igloo wine cooler. A good food processor needs to be seriously debated. It not only saves time but also makes preparation a lot easier, especially for those with minimal knife skills. It allows a cook to prepare some foods that require a little more serious preparation than other foods, such as being pureed. It also helps to chop nuts and mince garlic.
Slow cookers are useful for not only some great winter cooking such as stews or chowders, but also make entertaining much easier, as you can prepare a hot dip. They also make all sorts of barbecue that much easier by eliminating the smoker. For those that work, a slow cooker allows you to put together a meal before you go to work and have it ready by the time you get home.
Rice cookers should be at least debated. Although it is easy enough to prepare rice, the consideration here is more about its ability to steam food other than rice. Not only are vegetables better if they are just steamed, but it can help in the preparation of fish and allows for better meat buns than any other method. Out of the frying pan and into the fire is not something you want to experience!
A double boiler should also be part of the inventory. Although they are easy enough to simulate with two pans or a pan and a metal bowl, they are vital to enough recipes that one should be part of the pantry. With a double-boiler a lot of sauces are less likely to burn, and it makes candy preparation infinitely easier. If you are interested in candies and sauces one is indispensable.
There is a word of caution that needs to be mentioned: Do not purchase everything we mention here. A lot of kitchen stuff looks great ad may save some time, but most of it is so specific in its focus that they are likely to be used once or twice and remain ignored on a shelf. A sandwich press is a good example; while it may look good, you are unlikely to use it often enough to make it worth it and usually it can be done better with just another pan. So be wary of “must-buy” equipment.
By deciding on pieces of equipment are important to your kitchen, you determine what kind of recipes you can cook in your kitchen. As such try to purchase as many as your budget allows so as to enjoy as much versatility as possible. You can surely do with a lot less equipment, but with a few pieces of essential kitchen equipment you can coo almost anything you want.