What are the Kitchen Essentials?

What do you absolutely need to have in a kitchen? What are the cooking tools you use daily?

My girlfriend is a very good cook who enjoys cooking. So she cooks great dinners every night, I’m very fortunate. I still cook during the day but the dishes are mundane. Between what I use for cooking and what I see that she’s used as I’m cleaning up, I’ve come up with a list of what we commonly use in our kitchen. This is our personal tool box:

An 8″ chef’s knife. It’s made by Global and we’ve had it for 5 years. In a supporting ¬†role is a steel for maintaining the knife’s edge. The steel is old and I don’t know the brand but I use it every couple of days to maintain the knife’s sharp edge. We also wash the knife after using it and store it in a slot between cabinets to protect it. This seems to work; we’ve never sharpened it and it’s still wickedly sharp. And this 8″ chef’s knife is really the only knife either one of us uses for cooking.

12″ and 8″ Teflon saute pans. These guys get used so much that they’re replaced every year or so. The brand doesn’t seem to matter, they still wear out.

A bamboo spatula. We’ve had it forever. It’s what we use in the pans and for most stirring and severing too.

10″ Tongs. They’re as useful and used as often as the spatula. Ours has a built-in locking mechanism to keep them closed when they’re in the drawer.

Lemon squeezer. Very common in Mexico and it gets used a lot by us, mostly for limes which seem to get used in many dishes.

Large and medium size Pyrex mixing bowls. We use them for…mixing, and sometimes serving too.

14″ and ¬†8″ cutting boards. For the last three years we’ve used boards by Epicurean. They’re thin manmade wood based cutting boards that are eco-friendly as well as knife edge friendly, you don’t want too hard a cutting board.

Scissors. Medium duty and sharp, they’re probably why we get along so well with just one knife.

Wine opener. A double hinged waiter’s friend type. No reason to use any other type, having been a waiter for many years I’ve used these to open hundreds of wine bottles, ‘nuf said.

Pepper grinder. Fresh ground pepper is good and we use it in almost every dish. We’re happy with an 8″ model by Peugeot that sports an all steel grinder, if you flip it, it’s like looking at the scary beak you see after you turn an octopus upside down.

Food storage. This system works really well. There are three different heights of plastic storage containers, they can nest into one another when they’re not being used and (that’s not all!) they all use the same size screw-on top. Very tidy, convenient, and easy. We turn away any other storage vessels approaching our shoreline, that’s how beloved the system is. Freedom from Tupperware chaos.

Appliances we use all the time are: a gas stove, microwave, blender, Cuisinart food processor, and once a week, every week, I use a Toddy cold drip coffee maker to make coffee for the week. We’re starting to use a Crockpot more and more.

The dishwasher is about 5’9″ and tips the scales at 70 kilos (about 155 lbs) and runs on meat and vegetables.