Every guy who truly claims to be independent and on his own needs to, at a minimum be able to boil water and fry an egg. Ordering take-out food or pizza everyday just won’t cut it! Cooking basics are essential because a little cooking know-how goes a long way when you want to feed yourself or prepare a delicious meal for someone special.
6 Kitchen Essentials for Your Bachelor Pad
Let’s start with basics. There are 5 basic items you need in your kitchen:
1. A sharp knife,
4. Salt, and a
6. Measuring cups and spoons
Blade-work: the Cutting-Edge
Blade-work requires a Sharp Knife. You will thank yourself when you are chopping vegetables or slicing meat. It doesn’t matter if you have one single knife or an arsenal; as long as you are comfortable with it, just keep it sharp.
Quality Blade = Quality Results
When it comes to purchasing a knife, quality is important. King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was not found at a bargain shop! Do not spend less than $50 on a set of knives; you may think you are getting a great deal with 10+ knives, but the quality will be poor. They’ll rust within a year, and blade will not remain sharp. Go with a well known cutlery manufacturer like J.A. Henckles or Wusthof. Quality blades are bachelor pad essentials.
How to Avoid Food Cross-Contamination
Having two cutting boards is essential. Why? When you are cooking a big meal, you’ll need one for veggies and the other for chicken and meat because you don’t want cross contamination of food. You don’t want your guests to get food poisoning! A wooden cutting board for larger food items and a smaller board for bite-sized morsels.
Cookware vs. Pots and Pans
What’s the difference between Cookware and Pots and Pans? The difference is in the name. Amateurs call them “pots and pans.” Aspiring chef’s call them “Cookware.” A surgeon does not call a scalpel a “tool.” A scalpel is an “Instrument.”
You’re going to need something to cook these scrumptious meals in, so I recommend having at the minimum:
A 1 quart and 2 quart size piece of cookware that you can boil water in for pasta, rice, and maybe prepare a delicious rich soup. Optimally, they should have lids. There are Teflon coated and steel versions of Cookware; but I recommend steel because you get a better flavor.
The advantage to the Teflon coating is it’s non-stick and more difficult to burn the food you are preparing. The only drawback is that the coating wears off. Do some research on which cookware would work better for you. Below are some great choices, depending upon how much you cook and how much you want to invest.
A Sauté or Frying Pan: the “Swiss Army Knife” of Cookware
This all-purpose piece of equipment will work for a variety of tasks from making sauce, to stir-frying and making breakfast. Make sure you always buy one that comes with a lid because there are certain dishes that can only be prepared with a sauté pan with a lid, so it’s worth the extra money! A sauté pan is a bachelor pad necessity.
Colander or Strainer: You’ll be making pasta, so you’ll need to strain the excess water. Washing lettuce or any other leafy vegetable is easy when done in a strainer. Metal strainers are superior to plastic because you can pour boiling water through them and do not have to worry about BPA’s in plastics.
Mixing Bowl for Multiple-Uses. - At least one, but two or more is ideal. These bowls work great for putting chips or other snacks in while you entertain.
Show Your Skills and Bake!
Baking trays and baking dishes. If you want to serve a casserole, lasagna, nachos, stuffing or bake cookies or brownies, you’ll need these items! The baking trays or dishes can be versatile and having one will greatly expand the dishes you’ll be able to create for your guests.
Fat: an Essential Ingredient in Cooking
By fat I mean oil or butter, or whatever product you choose to cook. Fat adds distinct flavors to your food and reduces the chance of overcooking. Make sure you have different olive oils, one for basic cooking and the other for making dressings.
Salt is Your Friend
When cooking, salt is your friend. Yes, I said it, and I know health freaks are cringing, but it’s the simple truth. Salt enhances the flavor of all the ingredients in the dishes you are serving.
How Much Salt is “Enough?”
It’s true that we all should keep an eye on our sodium intake, but the amount of sodium used when flavoring your food with salt while cooking is well below what you will consume at any chain restaurant. Season (a fancy word for adding salt) until it tastes good, and you should be keeping your intake below the daily recommended doses.
Salt is Salt, Right?
Over the past few years there has been a Renaissance in salt selections at your grocery store. I recommend plain salt for everyday cooking, and another more flavorful salt for when you really want to season your dish in a special way.
Whisk: the Kitchen Mixmaster
The whisk will become one of your favorite tools in the kitchen. A whisk is used to mix ingredients and helps in the making of sauces, thickening liquids, making dressings, and even sweet servings like whipped cream for ice cream or other desserts. A whisk could very well make you look like a 3-star chef at your next personal gathering. Don’t you want to look like a 3-star chef to your guests? Get a nice sturdy whisk that feels good in your grip.
Having these cooking components, you are sure to be on your way to setting up the ultimate, romantic bachelor pad’s kitchen. When starting off, always keep it simple and focus on the flavor.
Experimenting with new ingredients is the best way to hone your cooking skills in the kitchen or in front of a grill. Remember, don’t experiment on a first date!
Once you have these 5 items, check out our website for delicious recipes that require few ingredients, are easy to prepare and taste delicious!