Your First Kitchen: The 5 Tools You Need

3/15/2016
kitchen toolsRenting your first apartment is exciting, and being on your own brings freedom as well as responsibility. One thing you'll have to do is cook for yourself in your new kitchen. Very few people can afford a full suite of pots, pans, and small appliances when they first move into their own place, but don't worry – you only need a few essentials to get started. Here are the five must-have kitchen tools to get first:

1. Boning Knife
A mid-sized knife with a smooth, sharp edge will carry you through many kitchen tasks. A boning knife is small enough to slice and dice fruits and veggies, but big enough to handle cutting meat and maybe even carving that first jack-o'-lantern. If you only buy one knife, this is your best bet.

2. Three-quart Saucepan
This is the workhorse of the kitchen, and you can use it to make soups, stews, sauces, and even hot cocoa. In a pinch, it's also wide enough to use as a frying pan to sauté vegetables. While not the most elegant way to make scrambled eggs, a saucepan is more versatile than a frying pan if you can only afford one or the other. Choose one with an oven-safe handle so you can also use it for small roasts.

3. Set of Measuring Cups
If you're planning to follow recipes, these are important. Get a sturdy, stainless steel set that will last forever – plastic might break and can lose its shape during a dishwasher's heated drying cycle. Measuring spoons aren't as important unless you love to bake, which is a very exact science. For savory recipes, learn to taste your food as you cook and adjust the seasoning as you go, and you'll find you can skip fussy measuring spoons.

4. Large Mixing Bowl
Anything that calls for a small mixing bowl can just as easily be made in a large one. Get one with high sides to avoid making a mess on your counter. A plastic one is inexpensive, though a tempered glass one will resist scratching as you stir.

5. Rubber Spatula
More hygienic and longer-lasting than a traditional wooden spoon, a rubber spatula will let you stir the contents of that saucepan without burning your hands. The flat, flexible blade also lets you scrape every last bit of sauce or batter out of your mixing bowl, so nothing goes to waste.

Though it's hardly a complete kitchen set, these five items will allow you to start cooking for yourself in your new apartment. You can add more over time, but you can't live without these basics!