A Kitchen Maximalist

How much stuff do you need to outfit your kitchen?

I was put to the test last summer when I helped my kid set up an apartment. We made the assumption that both cooking and baking would take place (!) Besides dishes, cutlery and storage containers, our checklist included:

  • Frying pan with lid
  • 2 saucepans
  • Steamer insert
  • Cookie sheet
  • Baking pans: 9 x 13” & muffin
  • Baking pans: 8 x 8” & loaf (wait-listed)
  • Chef knife
  • Serrated knife
  • Peeler
  • Slotted and plain spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Lifter
  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Colander
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Link asked for a microwave oven, rice cooker and mixer, but not a toaster or electric kettle! From the list, about 1/3 were scrounged from home. 1/3 were bought used, and 1/3 were bought new (at discount stores).

Now I cannot imagine making do with so little myself. Our house has a big eat-in kitchen with lots of storage. And as a “Real Food” household, we make almost everything from scratch. This week I went through all my kitchen gadgets and, while not throwing anything out yet, I came up with a priority list. I didn’t include dishes, cutlery, storage containers or cleaning supplies.


Use daily: coffee maker (or coffee press), toaster, electric kettle, food scale (battery-op)

Use often: espresso maker, coffee grinder, rice cooker, yogurt maker, mixer, toaster oven

Use occasionally: grill (George Foreman type), crock pot, electric fry pan, meat thermometer

Own but never use: blender, mini-blender, popcorn maker, bread maker


Use daily: Saucepans, frying pan, steamer, chef’s knife, serrated knife, lifter, plain and slotted spoons, wooden spoons, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen scissors, cutting board

Use several times a week: garlic press, cheese grater, can opener, colander, mixing bowls, ice cream scoop

Use several times a month: cookie sheets, loaf pans, muffin pans, 9 x 13 pan or casserole dish for meals, cooling racks, pizza stone, pizza cutter, Dutch oven (enamelled cast iron), rolling pin, whisk

Use annually/rarely: cake pans, cake decorating (icing) tips, cake platter, cookie cutters, trifle dish, gravy boat, potato masher, roasting pan, broiling pan, lasagne pan, cheese knives, cheese board, nut cracker (all of these are used for holidays or special occasions only), corn-on-the-cob holders, apple corer, pastry/basting brush, pie plates, salad servers, tongs, stock pot

Own but never use: Egg beater, melon baller, candy thermometer, funnel, fruit/veg/dip tray

Despite this huge list, there are a few things I don’t have and don’t want: a stand mixer, a food processor, a hand/immersion blender, and a pod/disc-type coffee maker. But there are a few things on my wish list: a flan or quiche pan, an omelet or crepe pan, a mandoline, and a high-quality pepper grinder! And even a few items on my “fantasy” wish list (which I have no intention of buying): a waffle maker, a panini press, and a tagine!

I know I could make do with far less stuff than I have, but I really don’t want to. I am enjoying it for now!

Another thing I don’t need!


  1. Somehow I buy more supplies for my kitchen than I buy for any other room of my house! It’s like an addiction. 🙂

  2. Mel

    Okay, we could never do without our potato masher or the waffle maker (actually have 2 waffle makers – one makes round belgian waffles and the other one makes square – using Greatgrandma D’s recipe of course)!

    • I went through a long phase of not cooking potatoes (too many plain boiled potatoes growing up) but I’m over it! The grill-thing I have, has waffle plates, but since it is also used for hamburgers etc, I’m thinking I should get a separate machine!

  3. gillshouse

    we got our two a slow cooker/crockpot each and I even made a cookbook for them for it with simple recipes for them. There is nothing better than coming home and having a meal ready to eat. They both use their slow cookers. If you want a copy of the cookbook, it’s on a word file, just email me.


  4. SarahN

    What is a “lifter”?

    I recently set up my home, and have a very minimal stuff (for my small kitchen!). My friend keeps asking me ‘do you have another saucepan yet?’ (no.. but I did buy a Le Creuset, so that sort of counts!) He only asks, as one day him and his partner came for curry, which I had to reheat in the large paella/frying pan, so the saucepan could make the rice. I bake (a lot) so I have a variety of baking pans, but I think I have settles with my pie dish, two flat glass casserole dishes, round cake tin, brownie tin, square cake tin, loaf tin, patty cakes tin (cupcakes), two baking ‘sheets’ (double for pizza). I do have more than one set of cup measure (did have three sets, but that was too many) – helps when I’m doing sweet and savoury at once… or wet and dry. I have two knives. A tiny one person frying pan, and a huge family paella frying pan!

    The only things I ‘want’ and don’t have is a steamer insert (used a metal strainer last time I made dumplings!)

    Things I could live without: toaster (don’t eat wheat much at all)

    Things I don’t have: immersion blender, sandwich press, ice cream scoop (spoons I have are strong enough), any makers (bread, yoghurt, popcorn, waffles etc), rolling pin (I use the spray oil can!)

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