Congratulation for getting out your mom’s basement!
…but now what?
Maybe you were annoyed of not being able to fuck as loud as you wished to or, you just arrived in college. Maybe you broke up with your girl or simply you’re an independent guy that doesn’t see why committing because… the world is one big playground and you’re an incredible player.
No matter what’s your reason(s) to be a bachelor, at this point in time, doesn’t mean you have to settle down for all the pre-made food available at the grocery. Become a Jedi with a rollin pin and make panties go down with the power of the force because deep down, you know you always been a rebel.
In this column, I’m hoping to give you an incentive… even better, an inspiration to start cooking for yourself and, also for that special lady you just laid your eyes on. Plus, how do you think you’re going to be on your A-game to flirt with that crazy hot bartender, if you haven’t eaten something substantial to keep your brain going while you look at her tits? You know as much as me, that’s the kind of stuff that takes skills and a decent amount of brain power.
As an introduction to the culinary world, I’ll stick to basic so, here’s a quick list of the minimal gear you should have in your bachelor’s kitchen.
A good chef’s knife with a blade sharpener, two paring knifes & a vegetable peeler.
From experience, you don’t need to have a knife for every situations. A good chef’s knife and a blade sharpener will rock your kitchen and allow you create pretty much everything you have in mind. Although, take the time to walk in store yourself to try many different ones before settling for an online purchase. Finding your ideal blade is like finding your best pal, that knife is going to stay with you for many years to come so make sure it’s comfortable in your hand, it’s sharp and it’s at least 8 inches long.
Size does matter at this point because, you’re gonna want something long enough to cut through big squashes, melons and other big foods but, don’t go overzealous either and buy yourself a two feet long maguro bōchō knife, you’ll just end up cutting yourself while being drunk and trying to cut a fish filet. #ItHappenedToMe
The first, slick paring knife will allow you to quickly attack small tasks like peeling fruits and veggies, practicing your fancy cutting skills or deveining shrimps. The second knife should be serrated to go through bread and pastries. Once again, take the time to shop around and hold a bunch in your hands… not all paring knifes are created equal.
Vegetable peelers are absolutely essential, in my book. They’re going to peel thin skinned fruits and veggies way quicker than the paring knife and also make some fancy dancy veggies “noodles” that will add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to your next food creations. It’s an all around time saver and unavoidable item in your kit.
Cast Iron pan(s) or good frying pan(s).
I currently travel with two non-stick frying pans bought at a big chain’s store. Countless of “one pot recipes” are a breeze in those babies and, they get some use every day. Although, make sure to buy oven safe ones for the simple reason that it’s absolutely badass to start your meal on the stove top, top it with a ton of cheese and simply put it in the oven, on broil, before serving.
If it was possible, cast iron would have been my first choice but the weight factor is way too annoying to carry around. Depending on your living situation, those indestructible pans and dutch ovens our grand mothers used are definitely an excellent choice if you want keep your cooking gear to a minimum, as long as you care for them properly.
Small and medium stainless steel pots with lids.
Boiling water, making popcorn, slow cook meals and everything in between, I don’t think you guys need me to enumerate all the uses for two stainless steel pots. Get them light enough to lift, with a lids and a thick bottom to make sure the heat spreads out nicely.
Metal whisk, silicon spatulas, measuring tools, wooden & slotted spoons.
Personally, I find silicon whisk to be absolutely aggravating because of they’re flimsyness. Bite the bullet and buy a metal one. The only rule is to refrain yourself from using it in non-stick and cast iron pans. This way, at least, you won’t become utterly annoyed while trying to make a batch of homemade mayonnaise.
Only two types of spatulas are needed: one to scrape off the left over everything of the sides of your bowls, the other one is to flip eggs & pancakes. Since the goal is not to reck our pans and pots, silicon is the way to go.
Measuring tools are going to be your saviours when trying to replicate that recipe you liked and, they are the only items between you and complete mayhem, making sure your recipes aren’t a total disaster. Measure your shit, take that extra step and take your cooking skills to the next level. Cups and spoons kits is pretty much all your need unless you want to be a perfect baker, in that case, get a scale.
A wooden spoon has a lot of uses from stirring pretty much anything without killing your pans, to help avoiding a big mess when boiling pasta and so on… a metal or silicon slotted spoon will help you grab a poached egg in water or cooked pastas when you don’t have a strainer. Both, super essential.
Cutting board(s), baking sheet, mixing bowl(s), rolling pin, strainers kit, can opener & small grater/zester.
There’s two ways you can go with cutting boards… its either you get a fancy wood one that will be use for fruits and veggies only and, a plastic one for all raw meats and other contaminating items. The other way is to simply get a plastic one, wash it well between uses and stop over-thinking.
Clearly, the second option is way simpler but, to each their own. Personally, I like having two for the simple fact that the wooden board becomes a service plate from time to time. Food often taste better when nicely presented and depending on how cool you want to look next time your mates are coming to watch the game… your choice.
A rigid baking sheet is another kitchen essential, buy one with holes in it if you plan on getting a silpat, at a later time OR, don’t break your head and get a simple one for pretty much everything. When choosing the latter option, make sure not to forget buying parchment paper because you know you’ll crave cookies at 2am.
You’ll need at least one mixing bowl to avoid having to use all your regular bowls in order to make your mom’s decadent brownie recipe. Transparent glass is my favourite material (because they make the food look pretty *^_^) but, two bucks, melamine or stainless steel ones from Chinatown are perfectly good too.
The rolling pin and the strainer kit is pretty much self explanatory. My only tips would be to choose a rolling pin that you like and that feels great in your hands. There’s a few various types available on the market but, a classic wooden one is all you need… for now.
As for the strainers kit, try to find a pack of three fine strainers of different sizes, making sure your biggest size is big enough to strain and hold cooked pasta.
Now, after being able to make pastas, you’re gonna need cheese to top it up so obviously, you’ll need a small, portable grater/zester. The one I’m using from Cuisipro is pretty much all you need, unless you want to try to make these delicious cheese straws. In that case, get one that has 4 different sizes to cover your ass in almost all situations.
And if you’re super lazy (no worries, I wont judge) and, you feel like buying some pre-made stuff, the can opener is kind of a “no shit , sherlock” item to have.
The following tools can be considered “optional” but the goal here is to make you shine in an area of life where you wouldn’t so, once again, here’s the last items you’ll need in order to become a real kitchen Jedi…
Hand blender, citrus juicer, pastry brush, bamboo steamer, bamboo sushi mat & a bottle opener.
Hand blenders are amazing!
Don’t get caught up in the idea of buying a cordless one because the speed levels wont be satisfying and, you’re most likely to end up burning the motor while trying to puree something. A nice kit with a chopper and whisker attachment to really cover a lot of culinary possibilities will become you new best friend so, if you can, don’t cheap out on this one and get something good. …like something better than what I have.
Do you like freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice? A simple hand citrus juicer will get you to town in no time but, don’t break your head with an electric one (which are often too cumbersome anyways…) because, you’ll get the same result using one of your strainers to separate the pulp from the juice.
The pastry brush will add that professional touch on all your pies and tarts. Useful to also splatter spices on a roast or grease one of your pans. It’s an inexpensive item you’re probably gonna be happy you have instead of getting your hands dirty, digging in gooey eggs or marinade.
Dumplings, steamed veggies and buns become easily accessible when you own a bamboo steamer. Even if a metal steamer is often added as an extra part, when buying pots and pans, the bamboo version destroys it by it’s never ending stackable possibilities. Many different ones on the market, some expensive some not. I’m a big fan of the super cheap ones in Chinatown so, go for a nice nature walk and get yourself one for a few bucks.
About the bottle opener… I’m guessing you already have one attached on your backpack or surf board but, just in case, remember that ladies like wine too so keep one in your kitchen.
Lastly, the bamboo sushi mat is definitely not essential but, if you feel like impressing that girl with your sushi rolling skills… you’re gonna need one. No worries, sushi isn’t the only creations possible with your mat and you’ll probably end up using it more often than you think.
Now that your kitchen is officially pimped out, cooking class is about to start…
Are you ready?