Essential Kitchenware and Appliances for the Modern Kitchen
Food is one of the most basic human needs. Subsequently, this fact makes the kitchen one of the most important rooms in the house. After all, it is in the kitchen that people prepare and cook food. Every kitchen must have certain wares and appliances which streamline the processes of preparing and cooking food.
Factors To Consider
These days, there are many kitchen appliances on the market. Additionally, some of these appliances have highly specialized functions such as making and keeping sandwiches, making juice and even creating soda drinks. However, homeowners must keep in mind that they do not necessarily need some of these appliances. Some kitchen appliances are purely for novelty and often stay unused for long periods. To avoid this, homeowners should focus on appliances and kitchenware that they need and use on a frequent basis. Homeowners should also keep in mind that different households have different needs and ultimately, may require different kitchen appliances. Aside from that, people should consider factors such as the ease of use and cleaning as well as the cost of the kitchenware or appliances.
Essential Kitchenware, Tools, And Utensils
Every cook requires certain basic utensils and tools to effectively and efficiently prepare and cook food. These are used to perform the most basic tasks such as cutting, measuring, timing and mixing among others. They include;
1. A set of Kitchen Knives, Kitchen Shears, and Chopping/Cutting Boards
Most cooking processes require people to cut ingredients into smaller quantities that cook fast and easy. Even in cases such as the preparation of salads, cutting is still important. As such, homeowners must invest in a good set of kitchen knives. Depending on budget, one may opt for a full set or one that has a few basic knives. Some good knives to have include steak knives, serrated knives, chef knives and even paring knives among others.
Alongside the kitchen knife set, every kitchen needs a good and durable cutting board. Experts advice is getting a cutting board made of wood or plastic. Although there are boards made of other harder materials such as steel, marble or even glass, they tend to cause more damage to knives.
According to many kitchen experts, kitchen shears are synonymous with the Swiss Army knife regarding versatility. Indeed, people can use kitchen shears to cut up herbs and smaller vegetables, open food packaged in plastic bags and even curving cooked chicken or turkey. Whichever way one chooses to use them, kitchen shears are an essential tool for every kitchen. A commonly overlooked yet useful tool is a kitchen fruit and vegetable brush. This tool is particularly valuable for cleaning fruits and vegetables.
2. Basic Kitchen Utensils
Homeowners can buy most kitchen utensils either as single pieces or as a set. Although some of these appliances may not appear useful on face value, most chefs soon realize that they are necessary. Some of the necessary utensils include;
- A good garlic crusher
- At least two different kinds of graters (e.g., a vegetable grater and a cheese grater)
- Scales, measuring cups and measuring spoons
- A good quality potato and vegetable peeler
- A timer ensures that one always gets the timing right when cooking.
- Mixing bowls. It is recommended to have at least two sizes; large and medium.
- A spice rack
- At least two different kinds of spatulas including metal spatulas and silicone spatulas.
- Wooden spoons
- A can opener
- A spider skimmer for use when boiling, deep frying or blanching food.
- A whisk for use in blending ingredients.
- Several food storage containers for left-overs and jars and canisters for storing grains and other ingredients.
In addition to the above kitchenware, homeowners must remember to equip their kitchens with essential tools such as potholders, oven mitts, and hot pads. These help to protect the hands and arms from getting burned when handling the oven, stove or hot cookware. Every kitchen should also have dishcloths and tea towels.
3. Cookware, and Bakeware
Once one is one measuring, chopping and mixing the ingredients, the next step is often to put the ingredients to cook or bake. Every kitchen needs to have enough and appropriate pots, pans, and bake-ware. The exact number of each to have depended on factors such as the size of the household and of course the size of the kitchen. Experts also advise getting non-stick cookware and bake-ware. Basic cookware and bake-ware to have included;
A range of different frying pans.
For example, a 10 1/2 ” or 12″ cast iron skillet is useful in performing tasks such as pan-roasting and deep frying. It is also useful in frying potato pancakes. On the other hand, an 8″ or 10″ none stick skillet or sauté pan is useful in performing tasks such as cooking eggs and fish.
Woks are deep, wide shaped and often have large volumes. This makes them versatile tools in the kitchen. People can use woks for cooking tasks such as deep-frying, smoking, braising or even steaming. Many cooks also prefer stir-frying in woks rather than skillets. However, woks are not ideal for use on electric and induction burners.
Different sized saucepans and sauciers with lids.
Basic sizes to have are the 1, 2 and 4 quart straight sided saucepans as well as the 3-quart slope-sided saucier. These are great for cooking stew and soups as well as for making sauces.
A large Dutch oven
Dutch ovens are cooking pots with extra-thick walls and tight-fitting lids. Dutch ovens are often made from three materials; cast iron, cast aluminum or ceramic. The biggest benefit of using Dutch ovens is that they heat up in an even manner. Additionally, Dutch ovens can move from a stove-top to the oven and onto the dinner table. They are ideal for cooking tasks such as; blanching, frying, slow braising, poaching and even making soups.
A large stockpot
Stockpots are among the most common cooking pots found in kitchens all over the world. Traditionally, cooks used stockpots for cooking tasks such as making stock or broth. Stockpots are also ideal for producing large quantities of soups and sauces as well as boiling meats whole. During Thanksgiving, stock pots come in handy when bringing turkey whole before roasting.
- Steamer pot or steamer basket
- A roasting pan is particularly useful in roasting turkey, chicken or even beef.
- A casserole dish can also double up as a cake pan.
Standard kitchenware related to baking include;
- Cookie sheets
- Good quality baking sheets
- Muffin pan
- A 9×13 pan
- 9″ pie pan
- Rolling pin
- Metal cooling racks
- Round, or/and square baking pan
- A loaf pan
- A Pie plate
- A donut pan
- Custard cups
4. Dinnerware and Glassware
The use of kitchenware does not end in the kitchen. On the contrary, it continues right into the dining room or rather, the dining table. Regardless of household size or budget, every home needs to have enough dinnerware, silverware, and glassware. These include basics such as;
It is important to have settings that can cater to between 8 and 12 people. These include dinner forks, salad forks, soup spoons, table knives and even teaspoons. Flatware is often available in a wide range of material from stainless steel, to plastics and even to gold and silver. One should also not forget to include serving pieces such as large spoons, soup ladies, large forks and even a cake cutter.
Every home needs to have enough plates and bowls to serve at least 4-6 people. One should invest in a variety of plates right from dinner plates to butter plates and salad plates. In addition to that, it is recommendable to have an assortment of bowls such as cereal bowls and soup bowls. Fruit and dessert dishes are also important additions.
Food is often taken alongside beverages. Glassware is, therefore, a T. Experts suggest starting with a set of simple drinking glasses that can hold drinks such as beer and soda. To add on that, every kitchen must have enough mugs and tea-cups for use with hot and warm beverages.
- Salt and pepper set
- Napkin holder
- Serving bowls
- Serving platter
- A teapot
- Vacuum flask
- Cream and sugar bowl
Essential Kitchen Appliances
Apart from the kitchenware, utensils, tools, and dinnerware, some appliances are of fundamental importance to any household. It is possible to divide these appliances into two major categories; large (standalone) appliances and the smaller (tabletop/countertop) appliances.
Basic large appliances to have included;
1. A Range or Cooktop
Although these two appliances are similar in that they serve the same purpose of cooking, there are a few distinct differences between them. The range is an appliance that comprises a cooktop area with zones that can use electricity, gas or induction to cook and an oven below the cooking area. Ranges come in different sizes with some as small as 20″ and others as big as 60″. The average household requires a range of between 30″ and 36″. Ranges are in most cases stand-alone units while in other cases they are designed to slide into the countertop.
On the other hand, a cooktop is designed to sit right on top of the counter. Cooktops offer similar functions to the range except without the oven area. This makes them ideal for kitchens where space is a priority. Just like ranges, cooktops are available in some sizes with many average households using either 30″ or 36″. However, small households may opt to use cooktops as small as 10″ or 12″.
Both ranges and cooktops can use electricity, gas or induction. Some ranges known as dual-fuel ranges use both gas and electricity to cook. Gas cooktops/ranges cost relatively cheaper to operate but have a relatively higher cost than electric cooktops/ranges. Induction cooktops/ranges are the quickest and most precise to cook with but are also more expensive than other types.
This is yet another popular but useful appliance in the kitchens of many households. People can use it to keep and preserve leftovers as well as preserve foods that perish easily. This appliance also comes in handy when cooling drink such as beer, soda, and water. Aside from drink and food storage, a fridge is also useful for storing and preserving drugs such as insulin. Experts advise homeowners to purchase refrigerators that have a freezer.
3. Vacuum Cleaner
Kitchen floors, as well as the floors of other rooms in the house, are bound to get dirty on a regular basis. The more people in a household, the faster they floors get dirty. This makes a vacuum cleaner one of the essential appliances in any household. The ideal vacuum depends on the size of the household and other factors such as the presence of kids or pets. Homeowners should also get vacuum cleaners that match with the floors.
However, houses that have hardwood or linoleum floors may not need vacuums. Instead, such households may opt for manual solutions such as a simple broom, dustpan, and mop.
In addition to these three appliances, homeowners may also choose to have other appliances such as;
- A dishwasher
- Washing machine and dryer
- A stand-alone freezer (either upright or a chest)
- Grill (either gas or electric)
Some kitchen appliances are smaller and fit on top of the counter perfectly. Some of these small appliances are also quite versatile with others providing more specialized functions. Standard countertop appliances to have included;
1. Microwave Oven
According to researchers, as many as 90% of households own microwaves. This is clear proof of their popularity in kitchens. What makes microwaves such important kitchen appliances is their versatility. People use microwaves for tasks such as heating and cooking food, defrosting heat and cook food, baking, and grilling among others.
This is yet another small but extremely useful kitchen appliance. People use it primarily to blend and puree foods. Blenders can perform a variety of tasks right from making smoothies and mixing cake to blending baby food. Some blenders also come with enhanced functions such as crushing ice and even extended processing functions.
3. Toaster Oven
Most people are more familiar with the regular toasters. The toaster oven performs the functions of the regular toaster and much more. This makes it an ideal appliance for every kitchen and especially small kitchens. Toaster ovens are ideal for toasting stickier items, cooking small quantities of food and even baking foods such as pizza, cookies, and cakes. Some toaster ovens even come with a microwave function.
For those with the money and space to spare, there are other optional small kitchen appliances for the kitchen. Some of these optional appliances include;
- Food processor
- Countertop grill
- Electric kettle
- Rice cooker
- Pressure cooker
- Mixer (either hand-held or stand)
Homeowners should always keep in mind that the term “essential” is relative and often depends on one’s lifestyle. For example, a household that does not bake would not require bake-ware. Similarly, a household that does not consume a lot of coffee would not require a coffee maker.