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How to Start a Kitchen

How to Start a Kitchen

Lara Trale |

Our friends at Foodproof have compiled a list of kitchen essentials. Visit their website for more articles by Lara and other Foodproof members!

Considering it’s been a good ten years now, I remember the day I moved into my first apartment exceptionally well. I was 19 years old, starting my second year at UC Santa Barbara, and my dad had driven me and my possessions down to the ramshackle adjoining college town of Isla Vista. We moved my boxes and furniture and clothes into the two-bedroom that I’d share with three friends for the next few years. Then we went to the grocery store.

Having lived my life thus far supported by my parents’ stocked pantry or the mediocre bounty of the dining commons, I was startled to realize that I needed to begin a kitchen from scratch. I had most of the basic cooking implements I needed—a measuring cup, mixing bowls, wooden spoons, a cookie sheet, a cake pan, pots and pans for the stovetop—but I didn’t have anything to actually cook.

We wound our way through the aisles of the supermarket, selecting and discarding items according to how necessary they seemed. While I got some things that I don’t really consider necessities for my kitchen—Dad insisted that it was imperative that I purchase a cut-up chicken, even though I would go on to buy meat approximately five times in the following three years—mostly we agreed about what a new kitchen needs, and I left set up with a base supply.

Here are my lists of super-important kitchen ingredients, sorted by type:

Part I: Baking Goods
Part II: Dry Goods & Spices
Part III: Perishables
Part IV: The Pantry

My basic list will set you back around $100. (And seriously, it’s totally magical that it adds up that way. I must have made a mistake.)

If you get the extended-list items as well, add another $83 for a total of $183.

And finally, I haven’t figured in bevs, so the coffee, tea, whiskey, wine, and beer are all on you.

I would love to hear back from you about this list! What do you like? What’s ridiculous? Which of your must-haves have I left out?

Let me know!