Cooking is fun...when you know what you're doing. It's not so much fun when you are waiting for things to boil, burning food and wondering how long to bake something. Getting an apartment is exciting, and being on your own brings freedom as well as responsibility. One thing you will have to do is cook for yourself in your new kitchen. Very few people can afford a full suite of pots, pans and small appliances when they first move into their own place but don't worry - you only need a few essentials to get started.
If you're just starting out in the kitchen, you might be thinking that you need a ton of equipment—but that's not really the case. In fact, we think a saucepan is all you need! This is the workhorse of the kitchen, and you can use it to make soups, stews, sauces, and even hot cocoa. In a pinch, it's also wide enough to use as a frying pan to sauté vegetables. While not the most elegant way to make scrambled eggs, a saucepan is more versatile than a frying pan if you can only afford one or the other. Choose one with an oven-safe handle so you can also use it for small roasts.
A Good Knife
A mid-sized knife with a smooth, sharp edge will carry you through many kitchen tasks. A boning knife is small enough to slice and dice fruits and veggies, but big enough to handle cutting meat and maybe even carving that first jack-o'-lantern. If you only buy one knife, this is your best bet. The kind of knife you need depends on what you want to do with it—and how much money you want to spend! For example: if you're looking for a good all-around knife for your kitchen, we recommend an 8" blade that's perfect for slicing fruit, vegetables, and herbs; plus it's got a comfortable handle that won't slip off while you're chopping away.
Large Mixing Bowl
Mixing bowls are one of the most versatile kitchen tools you can have. They're great for mixing together ingredients, serving salads, and even washing fruit and vegetables.
But did you know that you don't need a separate bowl for each task? Anything that calls for a small mixing bowl can just as easily be made in a large one. Get one with high sides to avoid making a mess on your counter. A plastic one is inexpensive, though a tempered glass one will resist scratching as you stir.
A rubber spatula is more hygienic and longer lasting than a traditional wooden spoon, a rubber spatula will let you stir the contents of that saucepan without burning your hands. The flat, flexible blade also lets you scrape every last bit of sauce or batter out of your mixing bowl, so nothing goes to waste. And if you're using a wooden spoon to stir the contents of that saucepan, it's probably not the best choice. Wooden spoons are porous and can't be sterilized. So grab yourself a rubber spatula.
Set of Measuring Cups
When you're cooking, the right tools make all the difference. If you're planning to follow recipes, these are important. Get a sturdy, stainless steel set that will last forever – plastic might break and can lose its shape during a dishwasher's heated drying cycle. Measuring spoons aren't as important unless you love to bake, which is a very exact science.
Hopefully this list has helped you to narrow down a few options. While the idea of moving into your own place for the first time is exciting, it can also be a little scary. Thankfully, these five basic items will at least get you started when it comes to cooking for yourself in your apartment kitchen.