Kitchen Essentials

The LA Times‘ food writers list what kitchen items really are necessary, and which you can safely skip.


  • Pestle and mortar.
  • A quality cork screw.
  • Instant-read thermometer.
  • Quality dried pasta.
  • Heavy-duty roasting pan.
  • Dutch oven.
  • Whole vanilla beans (not extract).
  • Micro-plane.
  • Larousse Gastronomique.

Unnecessary utensils:

  • Mini food processors.
  • Most non-stick pans.
  • An expansive selection of knives.
  • Crème brûlée torches.
  • Expensive red wine vinegar (keep and use dinner party dregs).
  • Fondue sets.
  • A toaster.

via Lifehacker

Update: Lifehacker points to a number of additional ‘kitchen essential’ lists, adding the following to the above list of must-haves:

  • Required knives: chef’s knife, paring knife, inexpensive serrated bread knife.
  • Quality coffee.
  • Silicon oven mitts (no risk of burns when reaching into hot liquids).
  • A plastic or wooden chopping board (the difference is purely aesthetic, although plastic can be put in a dishwasher).
  • Coffee/spice grinder.
  • The semi-obvious items: a U-shaped vegetable peeler, colander, can opener, slotted spoon, heat-resistance rubber spatula, wooden spoon and a whisk.

And these unnecessaries:

  • Bread machine (a little practice and you can bake your own perfectly well without a machine).
  • Microwave.
  • Stand mixer (whisk or cheap hand mixer will suffice).
  • Wok.

Food processors and immersive blenders are classed as nice-to-haves.