Kitting out your own kitchen in your own home for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you have a limited budget. It’s a question of priorities, though. You don’t have to be rich to entertain friends or dates in gentlemanly style, you just need some versatile basics. Here is a list of essential kitchen appliances and utensils for the entertainer:
Cookware: Quality Counts
Apart from your fridge and freezer, the first thing to find is a decent set of pots and pans. As with all the items on this list, you should buy the best quality you can: they’ll last longer and deliver better results. They’re generally more affordable as a set, but ensure it includes one large pot, two saucepans, a large and small frying pan and a flat griddle pan.
Your cooking utensils should include some wooden spoons for stirring, plus a large serving spoon, a ladle, and a slotted spoon. A decent set of knives, and a knife sharpener, will probably be your biggest expense here. It’s worth splashing out, though. Being able to slice meat and vegetables smoothly, rather than tearing and mashing them with blunt knives, does wonders for both the preparation and presentation of your food.
And don’t forget oven mitts! There’s nothing particularly manly about getting a first-degree burn while checking a roast.
A food processor that doubles as a blender is remarkably versatile. It can crush ice for cocktails, mix up smoothies, salsas and sauces, and take all the work out of the chopping and dicing in many recipes. With a dough attachment, it will also add breadsticks, pizza and more to your culinary repertoire. If your budget allows, or you’ve won big with AFL Premiership betting, splash out an electric hand beater as you can whip cream, eggs and batter with no effort.
An electric grill is a versatile piece of cookware but be sure to get one with solid plates and a clamshell design, like a sandwich toaster. It’s a handy way to cook meat fast or make snacks like waffles.
A dishwasher may seem like an extravagance for a single gentleman or a couple, but if you entertain often, it can save you loads of work. Stocking a full dishwasher and running a cycle generally uses less water and power than repeated small loads washed in the sink, too, so it’s an environmentally kinder option.
If you’re entertaining an overnight guest, you’ll want to offer them breakfast that’s both enticing and effortless. You already have the frying pan to make the perfect omelette, but how about perfect coffee? Brewing is not the hard part; you can make a cup of coffee in a stovetop two-chamber espresso pot that’s just as impressive as one brewed in an expensive machine.
The secret is freshly ground beans, brewed within four minutes of grinding. A decent coffee grinder is thus an important breakfast appliance. So is a good toaster. Fresh juice completes a good breakfast: an electric juicer will save you effort, but you can easily get by with a cheaper hand-juicer.