Writing: Cookbook Basics

I’ve been talking about writing a cookbook for several years now (more than 2, less than 10) and I know how I want to start it:

Stocking the kitchen

It always amazes me how many people don’t keep something I think is basic and essential in their kitchen. It always reminds me of the old Bogart/A.Heburn version of Sabrina when she comes to his office to blow him off and ends up trying to cook with an egg and olives or something – it sounds like a terrible recipe but it has always made me laugh.

So what are the basics that I expect.  Well, I break it into a few categories:

Tools; Perishables; Non-Perishables; and Spices

So, I’ve started writing down the things I think are essential in the kitchen.  Starting with Tools.

Obviously everyone should have at least 6 plates, 6 bowels, and a set of silverware (at least 8 of everything – yes, you should have more eating utensils than plateware).  Cups and things too.  All of this can be substituted with plastic.  Below are the things that CAN’T be substituted (in my opinion):

  • a pot (like a 4-qt sauce pan)
  • at least a 9″ skillet
  • a large(r) stock or soup pot
  • at least 2 spatulas
  • a whisk
  • large plastic slotted spoons (yes, the slots matter!)
  • 2- (min) or 4-cup measuring cup
  • Set of measuring spoons with: 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 Tbl, 1 Tbl (min!)
  • either cooking tongs or cooking chopsticks
  • a strainer/colander
  • a set of cooking bowls (2 minimum) – one of which should be oven safe (i.e. metal with no plastic)
  • cookie sheet and/or pizza pan
  • 8″ or 9″ square glass or ceramic baking dish (I prefer glass personally, but I can use either)

Optional but highly recommended:

  • a wok (with a lid)
  • a meat thermometer
  • 13″ rectangular glass or ceramic baking dish
  • at least 1 bread loaf pan
  • slow cooker/GOOD rice cooker

I consider these to be a minimum.  My non-required items fall into 2 categories: can be substituted for most things by one of the required items or can be purchased as a temporary/tin foil of the type.

What do you think should be “required” and “recommended” kitchen tools?  Did I miss anything?


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