You don’t have to have new sets of pans all at once—add pieces when you can afford them. I wouldn’t buy used knives or cutting boards but look for other second-hand items in resale shops or at yard sales. I got my generic food processor at a garage sale years ago for $10. When someone asks you what you want for your birthday suggest a kitchen item you don’t have—several friends or relatives can go together to get you something nice.

Kitchen Essentials:

good sharp knives (minimum: 8” or 12” chef’s knife, small paring knife) and a bread knife if you make bread

cutting board(s); wood or bamboo

several  heavy non-aluminum pots with lids, various sizes

large stainless steel pot 2011 02 10_0230_edited-1

skillet/fry pan (1 small, 1 large)

veggie steamer

9” X 13” glass baking dish (Pyrex)

glass casserole dish w/lid (Pyrex)

baking pans—cake, pie

muffin pans

hand mixer

set of measuring spoons and measuring cups, including liquid

various glass or BPA-free plastic containers for storage (recycled)c0e98e4e56915fe65a87087f7fd318b9

wooden spoons, various (bamboo is nice)

veggie brush for cleaning off dirt

rubber and metal spatula(s)

nesting bowls with lids


colander(s) and strainer(s)

veggie peeler

hand grater

hand masher

can opener

veggie spinnerMy first bottles of yogurt

zester or planer

bench scraper

several glass quart jars for sprouting and making yogurt

Good to have but not necessary:

bread board

small food processor

stand mixer

hand grinder


pasta pot

large wok



mortar & pestle