The past week of silence is due to the fact that I was at my first residency — I’m officially a grad student now! It was a dense experience, so I’ll save that for another post. But let me just point out that I used an em dash in that first sentence, not a hyphen. I’ve been doing it wrong all my life, so hey! I’m improving already. (Technically I shouldn’t be using bold for emphasis, and that exclamation mark was probably unnecessary, but this is a blog called “always room for ice cream”, so you know I’m not taking this too seriously.)
Today’s post is just me rejoicing over the fact that now the residency’s over and I have more free time, I can finally get down to equipping my kitchen. Aww yesss. In a week we won’t be eating microwave meals and hamburgers and American-ised Asian food, in a week we’ll be able to sit down to a home-cooked Chinese meal, complete with fluffy rice straight out of the rice cooker and vegetables drizzled over with soy sauce. To celebrate, I’m going to use one of my few precious packets of bak kut teh herbs, and I’ll probably also go to that Thai stall I saw in Reading Terminal Market and stock up on some tom yum ingredients. I can’t wait. I’ve got a much more Western tummy than hubby, but even I am starting to feel rice deprivation.
After some light research — thank God for review sites like The Sweethome and cooking guides like The Kitchn and Epicurious — and with an eye always on my budget, here’s a list of my must-haves when setting up kitchen in a small apartment.
Unlike when I was back home, I’m equipping this kitchen with an emphasis on home cooking rather than baking (which I love). Which is why you’re not going to see a KitchenAid stand mixer on this list, though believe me I’m crying inside.
Jenna’s 10 Kitchen Essentials
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Serrated knife
- Wooden chopping blocks (1 for meat, one for produce)
- Cast iron Dutch oven
- Set of stainless steel pots and pans
- Food processor
- Baking sheet x 2
- Rice cooker
If you want to see which ones I picked out, you can check out my Amazon Philly list here. None of the choices were made lightly. Having a budget makes you really consider the value-for-money of the items you’re buying. Every item was chosen after visiting a couple of different review sites as well as a quick read- through of the Amazon customer reviews.
Since I intend to bring most of the items home, I was trying to balance quality with price. So the items on the list aren’t the cheapest ones out there, but neither are they the most expensive ones on the market.
Talk to me:
- Did I leave anything out of my kitchen essentials list? Is there a product you think is better than the one I picked?
- French Press vs Coffeemaker: Thoughts?
Tell me what you think in the comments section!
Have a great weekend, and remember — there’s ARFI.