Essential kitchen appliances?

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Topic Author
A La Mode
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Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by A La Mode »

Hi everyone, I'm a single guy that plans on moving out in the next 2-3 months and I'll be living by myself (maybe, who knows?). I'm learning how to cook and plan on mostly eating at home in order to save on eating expenses and being healthy. Since I'm by myself, I'm not going to be making any feasts and really only need to make a protein and vegetable dish for dinner. Do you guys have any suggestions on some kitchen appliances/tools that would make my cooking life a lot easier?
mhalley
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by mhalley »

I've been enjoying my instant pot since I got divorced. It is also a great substitute for a rice cooker if you like rice. I make a ton of different meals, including beef stew or bourganion, cashew chicken, chicken stew, bbq ribs, potatos for mashed potatos, etc. Makes good oatmeal for breakfast also. I got the small one since its just me. Sometimes I wish it was a little bigger, but it generally is fine. I have been debating getting an air fryer/convection oven, so I look forward to seeing if anyone else recommends them.
You might consider a sous vide cooker also. I bought one once and it failed the first time I used it so I just returned it for a refund but the concept sounds good as I like my meat well done.
Some things that I picked up that I found handy: Pyrex containers with lids, can go from fridge into microwave to make reheating easier. Pyrex casserole dish. Baking sheet - I got one for $1 that works fine. Microwave spatter guard. Mesh dishwashing cloth to use instead of a sponge so you don't have to worry about them becoming icky. Inexpensive mixer and bowls. Toaster.
Last edited by mhalley on Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
jebmke
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by jebmke »

Essential in any kitchen: corkscrew and at least one decent knife, preferably two (paring and medium size or chefs knife).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
dsmil
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by dsmil »

Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
mhalley
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by mhalley »

Second the knife, plus a cutting board to go with it.
ddurrett896
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by ddurrett896 »

instapot and air fryer
runner3081
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by runner3081 »

Infrared toaster oven and microwave.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by adamthesmythe »

While necessary, I never thought of knives and pots as appliances.

I would say "most useful" rather than essential, because with only a range and a pot it is possible to make food.

Most useful: microwave and toaster. Next: coffeemaker. If at all possible: dishwasher.

Having said that, I managed for months is a foreign country with none of the above. I did buy a french press to make coffee.
rich126
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by rich126 »

dsmil wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:11 pm Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
I know that is likely true but I can't get over not cleaning/scrubbing pots and pans. Yeah, stupid but true.
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hand
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by hand »

Not sure appliances are the best place to start on the culinary journey - I'd start with some good pots and decent chef, paring and bread knives until you have a better idea of what would enhance your cooking.

That being said, a sous vide device meets my criteria for worthwhile kitchen appliance (small, not too expensive, easy to store, performs novel and useful function) and it allows you to bring proteins to temperature and hold for a bit before a quick finish when you're ready to eat.

I'm also a fan of having a bunch (5+) small plastic cutting boards around that you can use once, then drop into the dishwasher.
Teague
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Teague »

Some very versatile items that take hardly any space and not much $$:

1. A fish flipper a.k.a fish spatula. The most useful spatula you will ever own, even if you never use it for fish.

2. A good stick blender. 90% of the utility of a countertop blender at a fraction of the price and space, with ridiculously easy cleanup.

3. A wooden spoon for soups, stews, sauces. Joyce Chen makes a good all-purpose bamboo thing that's kind of a cross between a spoon and spatula, my favorite.

I've learned to avoid single-purpose countertop appliances, and even most multi-use appliances. Take up too much room, need cleaning after use, etc. A small microwave is worthwhile though.
Last edited by Teague on Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ray.james
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by ray.james »

Instant pot and Airfryer has simplified my cooking.

versatile dishes:
Airfryer - marinated fish/breaded fish/chicken fahitas/ veggie sides/Any store bought ready made.
Instant pot - Any single pot dishes - lentil rice, pasta - many types/combos, fried rice, beans/legumes, meat stews.

Easy Maintenance
Instant pot is easy to clean as steam cooking uses water- so no browning the bottom. Airfryer - If it is dry sauce/cook, wipe and reuse. If it is wet(marinated chicken), clean the bottom with water, airfry dry and reuse. I use soap on airfryer after 4-5 uses. :happy

less time:
Throw in instant pot and head to shower. It will be ready by the time you are back. Same with airfryer. Both are timed devices, so no baby sitting. Pressure cooking and air frying - both are extremely efficient in time and energy.

I have 2 non stick pots, where I cook eggs/other items. But the above replaced all my dinners/lunch. The only other device I use is a toaster for bread. I would advice to start with either instant pot/airfryer and use it frequently before you get the second device. I need not repeat, get all those spices!
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939
goflyers13
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by goflyers13 »

rich126 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:35 pm
dsmil wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:11 pm Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
I know that is likely true but I can't get over not cleaning/scrubbing pots and pans. Yeah, stupid but true.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, you actually can wash cast iron pans with soap and water. I wash my cast iron pans with soap and water every time I use them. Just make sure you dry your pans immediately after washing to prevent rust.

See myth #4 at this link:
https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the ... -iron.html
rich126
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by rich126 »

goflyers13 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:51 pm
rich126 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:35 pm
dsmil wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:11 pm Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
I know that is likely true but I can't get over not cleaning/scrubbing pots and pans. Yeah, stupid but true.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, you actually can wash cast iron pans with soap and water. I wash my cast iron pans with soap and water every time I use them. Just make sure you dry your pans immediately after washing to prevent rust.

See myth #4 at this link:
https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the ... -iron.html
Thanks. Maybe I bought cheap ones but when I tried cleaning them, it just seemed to get sticky. I ended up only using the pan with a piece of aluminum foil in the broiler for cooking burgers/hot dogs but now I use an aluminum pan that I got from Amazon. I recall as a kid my grandmother had an cast iron griddle and she made some great pancakes on it.
jebmke
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by jebmke »

I clean our cast iron once in a while - especially if used for something like fish. Most of the time, a wipe with paper towel will suffice.

If things stick to your cast iron, it probably means it wasn't properly seasoned.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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lthenderson
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by lthenderson »

A La Mode wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:54 pm Do you guys have any suggestions on some kitchen appliances/tools that would make my cooking life a lot easier?
I recommend a stove, refrigerator and microwave and whatever cooking utensils you already have. As you gain experience in cooking there are tons of other appliances and tools, many mentioned up thread that you might want to invest in. However investing in them upfront without any cooking experience is a recipe in disaster and a waste of money because by the time you do know how to use them, they may be obsolete and something better may be out there. Also, one person's essential item is another person's drawer filler gathering dust. Cooking tends to be very individualized. Good luck.
Topic Author
A La Mode
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by A La Mode »

mhalley wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:04 pm I've been enjoying my instant pot since I got divorced. It is also a great substitute for a rice cooker if you like rice. I make a ton of different meals, including beef stew or bourganion, cashew chicken, chicken stew, bbq ribs, potatos for mashed potatos, etc. Makes good oatmeal for breakfast also. I got the small one since its just me. Sometimes I wish it was a little bigger, but it generally is fine. I have been debating getting an air fryer/convection oven, so I look forward to seeing if anyone else recommends them.
You might consider a sous vide cooker also. I bought one once and it failed the first time I used it so I just returned it for a refund but the concept sounds good as I like my meat well done.
Some things that I picked up that I found handy: Pyrex containers with lids, can go from fridge into microwave to make reheating easier. Pyrex casserole dish. Baking sheet - I got one for $1 that works fine. Microwave spatter guard. Mesh dishwashing cloth to use instead of a sponge so you don't have to worry about them becoming icky. Inexpensive mixer and bowls. Toaster.
Sorry about the divorce, these are great suggestions. My parents have an instant pot that they never use so I may borrow it..indefinitely. I bought them an air fryer last Christmas and it's been really convenient. We mostly use it to make chicken thighs, fries, quiches, would recommend.
Topic Author
A La Mode
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by A La Mode »

jebmke wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:06 pm Essential in any kitchen: corkscrew and at least one decent knife, preferably two (paring and medium size or chefs knife).
Thanks, any knife brands you recommend? Preferably ones that are decent quality for its value.
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hand
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by hand »

A La Mode wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:21 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:06 pm Essential in any kitchen: corkscrew and at least one decent knife, preferably two (paring and medium size or chefs knife).
Thanks, any knife brands you recommend? Preferably ones that are decent quality for its value.
Victorinox Fibrox on the low end, Global in the middle (but both high value)... and sky's the limit on the high end.
caffeperfavore
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by caffeperfavore »

The MVP of our kitchen by far is the Breville Smart Oven. Technically, it's a toaster oven, but yet so much more and it has replaced our regular oven for all but the biggest items. We use it for nearly every meal.

But, most of all, don't go crazy thinking you need a lot of kitchen items. A couple good pots of varying sizes, a couple good stainless steel skillets (small and large), a good paring knife, and a good chef's knife will take you far. Get the basics, avoid faddish stuff. You don't have to spend a lot either.

Take a few classes. It will be worth it.
Dontwasteit
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Dontwasteit »

For a single guy...Air fryer.
Alf 101
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Alf 101 »

This is a an interesting question. I may be merging tools and appliances, but here goes:

The first thing you need are knives. You can spend a great deal on knives, but what's important is that it's sharp and feels good in your hand. I would visit a kitchen supply store to get a feel, or just order something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Fibro ... B0000CF99O

Get a cutting board, nothing fancy, but nothing too thin. I've also make sure you had a big wooden spoon, and silicone spatula. A plastic spatula is also important; someone mentioned a "fish spatula", which I use a lot, and mostly not for fish. Make sure you have a colander, and maybe also a fine mesh strainer. You will also want sheet pans.

As for pots and pans, you can get by with a 1.5 to 2 quart pan, and a 3.5 to 4 quart pan -- a smaller one and a larger one. You also will want a 12" non-stick skillet. Don't spend much money here, as the non-stick wears out after about a year, and will need to be replaced. Cast iron is nice, as is multi-ply metal cookware, but not essential to feeding yourself.

For actual appliances, a small (3 cup) food processor is very useful. Some have mentioned a crockpot, instant pot/pressure cooker, or sous vide. These are either slow cookers or fast cookers. Depending on your work schedule, and exactly what you want to cook, these are worth looking into.

In general, a chef's knife, cutting board, non-stick skillet, and some pots will be good to get you started. As you find yourself unable to cook something you want to, then is the time to expand, in my $0.02. Not that I am a great example to go by, as it seems I have about one of everything.
hightower
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by hightower »

A La Mode wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:54 pm Hi everyone, I'm a single guy that plans on moving out in the next 2-3 months and I'll be living by myself (maybe, who knows?). I'm learning how to cook and plan on mostly eating at home in order to save on eating expenses and being healthy. Since I'm by myself, I'm not going to be making any feasts and really only need to make a protein and vegetable dish for dinner. Do you guys have any suggestions on some kitchen appliances/tools that would make my cooking life a lot easier?
I cook a lot for my wife and 2 year old. So, a little different than cooking for myself, but it's not a bad idea to cook meals for others still (friends like friends who cook good food:)). Could be a good way to meet someone too? ;)

Anyway, my favorite/most used items in our kitchen are
My large cutting board and chef's knife (don't spend a lot here, 30-40 dollars for a victorinox can go a long way)
A dutch oven (hands down the most used cooking vessel I own), great for soups, stews, browning meat, making bread, and many other things
A good quality stainless steel skillet, I don't personally like to cook on Teflon and those pans usually don't stand the test of time. A SS heavy bottom skillet can last your entire life no problem, even with heavy abuse. Just need to learn the proper way to cook on it (hot pan, cold oil).
A large heavy bottom sauce pan/soup pot for boiling water for pasta, rice, etc
A good quality sheet pan for roasting vegetables in the oven or making cookies, etc

When you say learning to cook, I'm assuming you'll be following recipes? I absolutely LOVE America's Test Kitchen. I can't recommend them enough. I bought a subscription and have it on my phone at all times. Super easy to use while at the grocery. They are the most dependable source I have found for great, well tested recipes. If you follow their recipes precisely you WILL make great food. Totally worth it in my opinion. And their equipment reviews are stellar and trustworthy as well.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Lee_WSP »

The only small appliance I use regularly is a hand blender, next is a small food processor for salad dressing and the like, then even further down the list is the stand mixer. Otherwise, the refrigerator, stove, hood vent, microwave, and dishwasher are the only other appliances I use regularly.
goflyers13
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by goflyers13 »

rich126 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:02 pm
goflyers13 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:51 pm
rich126 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:35 pm
dsmil wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:11 pm Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
I know that is likely true but I can't get over not cleaning/scrubbing pots and pans. Yeah, stupid but true.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, you actually can wash cast iron pans with soap and water. I wash my cast iron pans with soap and water every time I use them. Just make sure you dry your pans immediately after washing to prevent rust.

See myth #4 at this link:
https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the ... -iron.html
Thanks. Maybe I bought cheap ones but when I tried cleaning them, it just seemed to get sticky. I ended up only using the pan with a piece of aluminum foil in the broiler for cooking burgers/hot dogs but now I use an aluminum pan that I got from Amazon. I recall as a kid my grandmother had an cast iron griddle and she made some great pancakes on it.

It shouldn't matter whether you got cheap or expensive pans. The expensive pans have a smoother cooking surface, but otherwise, the cheap pans are just as good.

It sounds to me like you had some oil partially baked onto the pan. If you want to reclaim the pan, first scrub it thoroughly with steel wool. Then wash with soapy water and dry immediately. Immediately after drying, use a paper towel to rub the entire surface of the pan with vegetable oil. This should be a thin coating. Buff it thoroughly. Put the pan in a 450-degree oven. I usually put the pan upside-down to avoid any oil pooling on the cooking surface. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, apply another layer of oil, and return the pan to the oven for 30 minutes. Repeat this process 4 times total. Once you have a good seasoning, you shouldn't have any trouble cleaning the pans with soap and water.

And yes, there's no better way to cook pancakes than on cast iron.
LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I'm a single and old. I have a "galley" kitchen (not much counter space). I started cooking about 10 -15 years ago to save money (and loose weight - take out food 2 or 3 times a day is not conducive to weight loss).

TLDR; a Microwave oven, a toaster oven, a stick blender, a 4 cup food processor if you like and eat alot of hummus.

You will need some kitchen tools: a peeler, a paring knife, tongs, a couple of silicon 'spoons', a spatula, a wooden spoon. You can get these at the dollar store - and then when you have opinions about what does and doesn't work for you (too small handle? too long handle? some other thing about it that makes it hard to use) - you can upgrade with something better.

The microwave is your friend. Look for some microwave dishes that work with what you eat. I have a "Nordic Ware" microwave steamer pot - perfect for 1 or 2 servings of frozen veggies OR an ear of corn (broken in half) OR partially cooking some yellow or red potatoes that I can then fry up as home fries. I'm not overly fond of making eggs in the microwave (it might just be my old microwave) but I know plenty of people who do it. So, maybe something to make eggs in... I also have a popcorn popper - I liked hot air popcorn - and now I use a plastic pop corn popper in the microwave.

I get a lot of use out of a "stick blender" (soups and drinks) and a 4 cup food processor (I make alot of hummus, bean dips, and various slaws (during the summer) and sometimes pestos )

I also get a lot of use out of a basic toaster oven that lives on my counter - (I can make bruschetta or toast a sandwich, dry herbs (parsley? sage? thyme?), bake a "frozen bean burger or chicken pattie" (I eat vegetarian mostly) for example. ) Breaded frozen shrimp and various frozen appetizers bake up nicely in a toaster oven too. I have also successfully baked "3 ingredient bread" revised: it's 2 ingredient bread/bagels (yogurt and flour) in it. I've also turned TJ's premade pizza dough into "rolls/twists" and baked them in the toaster oven. Way better than turning on the big oven - especially during the summer months.

I also have a hand held Kitchen Aide mixer - but if you aren't baking regularly I would skip it. You don't need it for most box mixes.

As for unenameled cast iron pans... they are wonderful - but if you don't use them regularly they get furry (collect dust) and sometimes rust. I'd skip them if you are just starting out and have NEVER used them in the past. Think of them as having reached a "milestone" when you finally decide it's time to own and use them.
Last edited by LittleMaggieMae on Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Lee_WSP »

dsmil wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:11 pm Cast iron pans. They are cheap, last forever, and the food tastes good. To be very simple, you can just put some oil on whatever you are cooking and stick it in the oven on 350 or so.
It's hard to beat cast iron price to usefulness since it's practically free at Goodwill if you can find it. Still cheap at retail. But, bare aluminum fry pans and disc bottomed stainless pots and saucepans from the restaurant supply store are better. Other options are more expensive.
goflyers13
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by goflyers13 »

I'd start with a few essentials:
  • Chef's knife
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Nonstick skillet
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Large Pot
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Tongs, spoons, rubber spatulas, whisk, etc.
  • Aluminum half sheet pans
  • Instant read thermometer
I'm sure I'm leaving some things off the list, but that's a good start. You can always buy new equipment as needed.

Here's a good resource for product recommendations:
https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/06/bas ... pment.html

p.s. Don't buy a knife set. You'll get better knives for your money if you buy individual knives.
fishnhunt
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by fishnhunt »

A small propane grill for cooking meats in the summer if you have a spot to grill. Tastes great and easy to clean. A basic stove top and oven is all you really need. A coffee maker and toaster might be a good idea for breakfast.

When I used to live by myself I would cook enough to have dinner and have leftovers for lunch and possibly dinner the next day, usually I would have 2-3 servings every time I cooked. Saved a lot of money and time doing it this way and I always had a nice lunch the next day. I always enjoyed having a hot lunch to eat, homemade cold sandwiches were never my thing and got old fast.
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GerryL
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by GerryL »

I'm a solo with limited counter space. I'm a big believer in multi-purpose items. For example, Corningware can be used on the stove, in the oven and in the fridge/freezer. Just about the only single-purpose item I have is a water kettle. Jut because.

I do most of my cooking on the stove top and in the microwave and a counter-top oven. I use the big oven only for baking projects and the occasional special meal. Some people might call my counter-top oven a "toaster oven," but beware, so-called toaster ovens come in a variety of levels. You can easily find one for ~$35 that is good for making ... toast. Maybe you can use it to heat up something. An adequate countertop oven runs ~$100 but can be used for most of the cooking needs of a single (or maybe even a dual) household. Everything from my morning toast to a holiday rock cornish game hen. I even use it to bake small batches of muffins and other baked goods.

Been in this house for 30 years. On a few occasions I have had the appliance die or get exceedingly cranky. I immediately go out and buy a replacement.
LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

If you are thinking of buying a "meat thermometer" I'd skip the "traditional" ones - and go with a ThermoPop from thermoworks. I see they are retailing for about $35 - in the past a sale would get you one for $25.00 or clearance for $20 if you don't care what color it is. It takes a common inexpensive button battery (mine has had a very long life...)

Prior to the ThermoPop I probably spent about $50.00 total on various meat thermometers that never seemed to work (as in I could stick it into a charred peice of burnt something just pulled from the oven and it would register 130 degrees or something silly like that. )

(I solar cook as a hobby and sometimes it's really important to know the tempurature of one's food... I never use to use a thermometer on food I cooked indoors. So, you may not need this tool. I started using the ThermoPop on meat I cooked in my oven (and stove top) and I got better at not over cooking meats. :) )
MJS
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by MJS »

Keep it simple until you know what & how you like to cook. Knife, cutting board, pot, stirring tool (spurtles, wooden spoons, serving spoons from your mom's good silver, even a spatula works), a flipper if you like to fry, a can opener, and a source of heat. If your apartment has a range, skip the countertop stuff for now.

On how the range of different types of cooks make chicken soup by where they shop:
* Convenience store. Open can, [add 1 tablespoon sherry], heat.
* Trader Joe's. Saute mire poix, add broth & pasta & frozen vegetables & roasted chicken. Heat.
* Whole Foods. Mince, by hand, 1# of nutritious vegetables: Oven roast. Take frozen stock from freezer, made from the bones, feet & skin of last week's chicken. Peruse spice collection, select those suitable, add judiciously. Make a good broth from vegetables, spices & stock. .... Next day.... Make egg noodles. Carefully chop chicken, preserving bones etc for stock: brown in schmaltz from last week. While chicken browns, slice 2# of vegetables into identical units that will all be done at the same time. Add salt and other seasonings at start, during cooking and at end. Combine. Heat.
* Costco. Prepare 30 days of meals, careful avoiding any waste. Label meal sized portions in stackable glass containers. Apply heat when appropriate.
FeesR-BullNotBullish
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish »

LittleMaggieMae wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:11 pm You will need some kitchen tools: a peeler, a paring knife, tongs, a couple of silicon 'spoons', a spatula, a wooden spoon. You can get these at the dollar store - and then when you have opinions about what does and doesn't work for you (too small handle? too long handle? some other thing about it that makes it hard to use) - you can upgrade with something better.
This is good advice. I'll add to it by saying start cheap for everything. All pots boil water and all pans cook things. No shame in going to thrift stores. The only thing I'd insist on getting new is Teflon pans if you want some. Upgrade one item at a time as you hone your cooking skills and learn what tools you value most.
Paul78
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Paul78 »

hand wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:38 pm
That being said, a sous vide device meets my criteria for worthwhile kitchen appliance (small, not too expensive, easy to store, performs novel and useful function) and it allows you to bring proteins to temperature and hold for a bit before a quick finish when you're ready to eat.
Seconded. I like to buy like one non essential kitchen appliance a year and my sous vide was one of the better purchases. Don't get me wrong I am not using it everyday (or even every week to be honest) but it does it's job perfectly and greatly simplifies a task (properly cooking proteins).

My other non essential appliance recommendation would be a vacuum sealer. Both for its use with sous vide (there are other methods to displace air but this is the easiest and also assures a solid seal cause leaks with sous vide are no fun) and in general (especially if you are single). It preserves freshness and increases shelf life. Can buy bulk items (rice, beans, 20 lbs cuts of meat) and portion it out/vacuum seal/freeze or put in panty. Even for slightly less obvious things such as coffee beans it is a huge help. For me it takes three weeks or so to go through a bag of coffee beans. They start to get stale after a few days of being open. I solve that problem by vacuum sealing portions and opening them when needed.
Paul78
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Paul78 »

hand wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:30 pm
A La Mode wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:21 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:06 pm Essential in any kitchen: corkscrew and at least one decent knife, preferably two (paring and medium size or chefs knife).
Thanks, any knife brands you recommend? Preferably ones that are decent quality for its value.
Victorinox .
Yeah bought their $20 or whatever it was chef's knife 10 years ago and that is still all I am using haha. I just sharpen it every now and then. Bought a $300 knife set couple of years ago and never bothered opening it cause don't have much counter space and my chef knife gets the job done. I mean if you are skinning/deboning fish or something a chef knife won't work but for the basics it gets most jobs done.
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GerryL
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by GerryL »

Paul78 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:41 pm
hand wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:38 pm
That being said, a sous vide device meets my criteria for worthwhile kitchen appliance (small, not too expensive, easy to store, performs novel and useful function) and it allows you to bring proteins to temperature and hold for a bit before a quick finish when you're ready to eat.
Seconded. I like to buy like one non essential kitchen appliance a year and my sous vide was one of the better purchases. Don't get me wrong I am not using it everyday (or even every week to be honest) but it does it's job perfectly and greatly simplifies a task (properly cooking proteins).
...
I speak French and have lived in France ... but I have no idea what a sous vide device is or does. I know they are all the rage right now, but somehow I have managed to get to the age of 72 without ever needing one, as far as I know.
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A La Mode
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by A La Mode »

Sorry I couldn't reply to all your guys' posts but really appreciate the helpful advice, I'll definitely be looking into your suggestions!
Boglegirl81
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Boglegirl81 »

If you eat a lot of hard boiled eggs, a Dash egg cooker. The eggs come out perfect and they’re easy to peel.
iamlucky13
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by iamlucky13 »

GerryL wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:08 pm I speak French and have lived in France ... but I have no idea what a sous vide device is or does. I know they are all the rage right now, but somehow I have managed to get to the age of 72 without ever needing one, as far as I know.
It's a slow, slow, slow cooker. The idea is to immerse the food (typically in a ziplock bag, which also makes it a good opportunity for a deep marinade) in water at the desired final temperature, and cook it long enough it reaches that temperature all the way through, without risk of overcooking. I think some recipes exceed 24 hours.

I don't own one, but I've had a couple meals that friends have prepared with them. Obviously it requires planning your start time well ahead, but requires basically no attention while it's cooking. Meats are often helped out by a very quick sear in a skillet when done for final flavor and texture. Tenderness can match smoking or pit barbecue cooking.

I would not rate it as remotely a priority for anyone trying to gather the essentials.
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Bogle7
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Bogle7 »

Boglegirl81 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:38 pm If you eat a lot of hard boiled eggs, a Dash egg cooker. The eggs come out perfect and they’re easy to peel.
No.
Alton Brown says: avoid single purpose devices.
An Instant Pot makes perfect eggs.
Old fart who does three index funds, baby.
Dottie57
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Dottie57 »

hightower wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:45 pm
When you say learning to cook, I'm assuming you'll be following recipes? I absolutely LOVE America's Test Kitchen. I can't recommend them enough. I bought a subscription and have it on my phone at all times. Super easy to use while at the grocery. They are the most dependable source I have found for great, well tested recipes. If you follow their recipes precisely you WILL make great food. Totally worth it in my opinion. And their equipment reviews are stellar and trustworthy as well.
I love America’s Test Kitchen too. The show is great because they explain why something works ( chemistry behind it).

Also love cook book. “How to Cook Anything”. Each recipe has variation so that you can make the same thing but vary the taste. Foe appliance stove and microwave. Nice to haves are toaster, dishwasher.

Tools, knives, a fry pan/ saute pan, a couple of pots, strainer, measuring spoons and cups. Maybe tongs.

You can get by with very little.
Barsoom
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Barsoom »

Get a food saver. Vacuum seal your excess. Buy a pound of ground beef and seal them in quarter pound burger patties.

Get mason jars and a food saver canning attachment. Vacuum seal rice, open cans of beans, veggies, etc., that a single can't finish in one serving.

Get a Breville smart countertop oven. Don't heat the large oven for a single's portion of food.

-B
Boglegirl81
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Boglegirl81 »

Bogle7 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:45 pm
Boglegirl81 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:38 pm If you eat a lot of hard boiled eggs, a Dash egg cooker. The eggs come out perfect and they’re easy to peel.
No.
Alton Brown says: avoid single purpose devices.
An Instant Pot makes perfect eggs.
Ha, we have a tiny kitchen and have both an instant pot and egg cooker. The egg cooker is tiny and less than $20. It’s worth it IMO. Besides, my bf does all the instant pot cooking so I have no clue how to use it and am not interested in learning. I’m the clean-up crew. :mrgreen:
Boglegirl81
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Boglegirl81 »

Also get nice “Tupperware.” The glass ones with the locking lids.
csm
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by csm »

OP, you didn't say if you needed to be particularly budget-minded, but since you mentioned making your food at home and eating healthy, I would highly recommend a Vitamix *if* it fits your budget and kitchen space and *if* you like things like smoothies, healthy soups, hummus, nut butters, etc.

It is the single best purchase I've bought for my kitchen (and health) in my lifetime and I wish I had gotten one many years earlier. There is a Vitamix thread here on Bogleheads if you're interested.

Nearly daily, I make a smoothie with water, one or two frozen fruits (lately banana and pineapple, but it alternates with berries, mango, apple, etc.), a handful of kale, spoonful of flax or chia seeds, sprinkle of turmeric and/or cinnamon, slice of fresh ginger and chunk of fresh lemon. The Vitamix blends so well that the seeds and kale are undetectable (don't go cheap on a blender). The clean up is a breeze - just a drop of dishwashing liquid and water, let run for 40 seconds.

If you are the type that would otherwise frequently buy a commercial smoothie - either expensive from a fresh juice bar, or full of sugar and preservatives from a supermarket - this will save money in the long run and be far healthier. You can also toss in fresh vegetables and whip up a hot soup ready to eat, then freeze leftovers. If you plan to do any entertaining, it's also great for frozen cocktails - margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris.

There are black Friday sales coming up and you can go for one of the basic models or a refurbished model to save money. It will last you 10 or 20 years or more. Don't be deterred thinking it's overkill for one person. We are just two, and it's brilliant - most used appliance ever purchased.

EDITED TO ADD: I agree with others about a vacuum sealer. I highly recommend the Anova vacuum sealer which is both small and inexpensive. It does lack the jar attachment option but if space is an issue, is an option to consider.
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hand
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by hand »

iamlucky13 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:45 pm
GerryL wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:08 pm I speak French and have lived in France ... but I have no idea what a sous vide device is or does. I know they are all the rage right now, but somehow I have managed to get to the age of 72 without ever needing one, as far as I know.
It's a slow, slow, slow cooker. The idea is to immerse the food (typically in a ziplock bag, which also makes it a good opportunity for a deep marinade) in water at the desired final temperature, and cook it long enough it reaches that temperature all the way through, without risk of overcooking. I think some recipes exceed 24 hours.

I don't own one, but I've had a couple meals that friends have prepared with them. Obviously it requires planning your start time well ahead, but requires basically no attention while it's cooking. Meats are often helped out by a very quick sear in a skillet when done for final flavor and texture. Tenderness can match smoking or pit barbecue cooking.

I would not rate it as remotely a priority for anyone trying to gather the essentials.
Agreed not a priority or essential, but... uniquely useful for a busy bachelor learning to cook:

1) Difficult to mess up - simply reference proper temperature for your proteins, drop them in the pot and wait (finish with a quick sear if desired) - no more overcooked or undercooked meat

2) Decouples prep time from meal time and allows flexibility on meal time - start the process in the afternoon and easy to eat at 6, 7, or 8 with only a couple minute of work to finish the meal

3) No more dried out chicken which loses less moisture during the process and can be safely eaten well below 165 degrees after extended sous vide (safety is a function of temp & time)

4) The opportunity for high end results when you want to impress
Teague
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Teague »

My goodness, all this talk of fancy devices that take up space and need to be cleaned and stored and moved. I'd suggest sticking with the basics when starting. Keep things simple. As a young adult exploring life away from the nest you will have enough things to worry about. Why, I remember back in the good old days when we'd haul our food out and beat it on a flat rock down by the river. Or maybe that was the laundry. No matter.

Learn a few fundamental skills. Hone your technique as well as your knife. Learn how to chop an onion, and why that's different than a dice or a mince. (Hint: the onion has done most of the work for you already.) Know what saute means, and why its not frying. Learn how to pan-broil a steak
in just minutes and how the results can best many restaurants. When using a knife keep your other fingers curled under and never cut toward yourself. Have fun!
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Soon2BXProgrammer
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

assuming your place has a stove and an oven. Then the only thing you really need is:

https://www.costco.com/tramontina-ename ... 90152.html
sls239
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Re: Essential kitchen appliances?

Post by sls239 »

The tools I use most - a ceramic chef knife and a ceramic pairing knife, a peeler, and 2 or 3 of the largest cutting boards that will fit in the dishwasher.

The utensils I use the most - a silicon spatula, a metal spatula, a silicone spoon, and a good pair of tongs. You'll also want a corkscrew and a can opener as a pan sauce with broth or wine (or both) is a great way to add flavor.

The cookware I use the most - a 3 qt pot - good for a half pound of pasta, a few cups of rice, or oats, a sheet pan - for roasting vegetables, a 12 inch stainless steel skillet (again, the largest that fits in the dishwasher) - for browning meat, sauteing vegetables, and one skillet meals, and an 10 inch nonstick skillet for eggs, pancakes, and the like.

I use mixing bowls and prep bowls and pyrex containers and 1 cup and 2 cup liquid measuring cups.

I also use aluminum foil and paper towels frequently.

Also - lots of soap, and a clean washcloth and hand towel every day.

And - herbs are easy to grow - especially thyme, rosemary, oregano, dill, and cilantro and having them on hand and living is much more convenient and cheaper than buying the decaying ones at the grocery store.

I'm pretty sure all this can be bought at Wal-Mart, although TJMaxx / Homegoods often has good deals on cookware.
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