Have you been turned off from being a home chef because you feel your kitchen is not properly “outfitted”? Have you been told you need hundreds of dollars worth of equipment to even begin to consider cooking, and that doesn’t even include ingredients? Has most of this information come from infomercials you watched at 4am when you couldn’t sleep? Well have I got news for you!
You don’t need any of that crap.
Well not any of it, but you don’t need most of it. We are often told in all aspects of our lives that consumption leads to better product. Consuming more kitchen goods will make you a better chef, consuming more wine will make you a better drinker, but this is not a completely factual belief. I have come to know that apart from plates/utensils to eat off of, there are only a few items each kitchen utterly needs to survive. They are:
- A chef’s knife (that can be sharpened so one without “teeth”)
- A cast-iron
- A dutch oven
- A big spoon (I prefer wooden)
Both pots can go from the oven to the stove or vice versa so you’ll be able to bake as you see fit. If your knife ever dulls you can get it sharpened (many kitchen supply outlets will do this for you) and a good sharp knife, with a little finesse, will let you achieve everything you need to do. You’ll be able to peel, chop, julienne, and flex. A big spoon will allow you to serve, stir, test if your oil is ready for frying (if it’s wooden) and makes a pretty good fake microphone. To start as a home chef that’s all you need aside from clean counters.
But being a “Macgyver” in the kitchen is also about approaching every recipe with a bit of confidence that even if you don’t have every single tool or recipe asked for, that you will still be able to achieve your end goal. My freshman year of college I didn’t even have access to a stove but in my rice cooker and hot water heater I managed to make rice (obvi), pasta, steamed veggies, you can bake cakes in rice cookers as well as pies (good ones!) and if you have the heart you can make soup or stew in a hot water heater. My rolling pin for the past 6 years (until I bought one last week) was whatever wine bottle I had on hand. Your hands are excellent strainers. A fork is an excellent whisk. Your fingers and a knife can make and shape any dough, anytime, any place. All I’m saying is while kitchen tools are cute and chic they are in no way necessary. So don’t fret when you need to approach a souffle without a standing mixer, just roll up your sleeves, kiss your biceps, and get into those egg whites.
As always, be good, and eat happily (no matter what you’re eating off of)