It doesn't matter if you're living on your own for the first time, picking up cooking as a new hobby or just trying to eat less take out: being able to prepare a great meal is a life skill everyone should possess. And while choosing the best ingredients is important, you can't even take a first bite without having the right tools at your disposal. We've broken down the must-haves needed in any kitchen to make cooking and baking seem that much less daunting. You may not be a Master Chef just yet, but you can be outfitted like one.
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Make Everyday Cooking a Piece of Cake
Having a few key supplies on hand for your daily cooking endeavors can make your life so much easier. And they don't need to be complicated, either: a spatula, whisk, tongs and a grater can get the job done. Sure, you might want that multipurpose mandolin or that expensive mixer later, but picking up a few high quality essentials will get you started on the right track.
Chop it Like it's Hot
"Chopping" is a command that appears often in recipes, and having a good selection of knives will ensure you have the right one for each occasion. From a serrated knife for slicing onions to a pairing knife for removing seeds, stocking your drawer with a selection of various sizes and blade textures will keep your skills sharp — and your nerves calm — as you work through the steps of a meal.
The Science Behind Sweets
Baking is more of an exact science than cooking: it requires precise measurements rather than tweaking as you go along. A set of measuring spoons will make sure you always add just the right amount of sugar, while baking sheets and parchment paper will guarantee that your double chocolate chip cookies never stick.
Less is More When it Comes to Pots and Pans
Your stove only has a few burners, so filling your cabinets with more pans than you can count doesn't make much sense. Build a minimal collection with a couple of standard styles and sizes instead. Nonstick skillets, a sauce pan and a cast iron Dutch oven will easily be your most used pieces of kitchen equipment, and they can be tucked away without a commotion.
Keep Cupcake Wars at Bay
If you have the urge to whip up dozens of cupcakes, owning the right tools can make the process immensely easier and incredibly consistent. Nonstick pans, disposable liners and cooling racks will help you crank out bakery-worthy cupcakes like you've been doing it for years. And once you've become a self-described pro, expand your arsenal to include things like a stand mixer or a fancy electric scale, too.