advice food

12 Essentials For Your College Kitchen

For those who can cook, going off to university is a milestone of moving away from home and spreading one’s wings. For the rest of us, it’s a cleverly disguised death sentence for slow starvation. Whether you’re ready or not, living on your own means cooking for yourself. This uncharted territory can be especially scary for individuals like myself who spent highschool married to their microwave; so if I can make the leap, you can too. This is the fool-proof guide to what you absolutely need for your college/uni kitchen.

BASICS

1. Knives

Big tip: don’t waste your time or money buying expensive knife sets. Chances are, you’ll probably only end up using two or three of the knives in the set. Seriously, which ordinary college kid even needs a Cheese Knife or Spatula Spreader? Instead, opt for investing in a good ol’ multi-purpose Chef’s Knife and Paring Knife.

Chef’s Knife

Whether it’s a hunk of steak or lump of potatoes, the Chef’s knife is the go-to tool for all your cutting, dicing, and slicing needs.

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Victorinox Chef’s Knife

Paring Knife

The paring knife is great for cutting and peeling smaller objects like fruit or veggies.

Victorinox Paring Knife

2. Cutting Board

If you’re not an avid chef, a plastic cutting board will be your best bet to making food prep and clean-up effortless. The plastic surface is durable, light, and can be disinfected easily. Cross-contamination is a real thing (!!!) so make sure to get two cutting boards: one for your raw meats, poultry, fish, etc and one for everything else.

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OXO Good Grips Utility Board

3. Measuring Tools

The key to cooking as a beginner is to actually follow the recipe, which includes listening to the cookbook or YouTube video’s specific measurements. I know we all think we’re salt bae and can sprinkle and add a little bit of this or that into our food, but honestly, the measurements are there for your benefit. Even seasoned chefs need exact measurements for things like baking (seriously, baking’s a science!).

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Portable Collapsable Silicone Measuring Set

Liquid and solid measurements are different so make sure you get yourself a Pyrex for your liquids. My mom got her Pyrex over 10 years ago and we still use it to this day.

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Pyrex Measuring Cup

4. Cookware Set

The classic pot and pan duo are the only real staples when it comes to cookware. A good pot will be your best friend when it comes to making pasta, sauces, rice, soups, etc, while the pan covers everything else. With that said, it never hurts to have some extra pots on hand, especially if you’re planning on cooking a full course meal.

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Six-Piece SKÄNKA Set

5. Mixing Bowls

Making a salad? Mixing batter for a cake recipe? Marinating your me- never mind. Mixing bowls are the answer to all problems. Get a set of stainless steel bowls, they’re practically indestructible.

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Finedine Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

TOOLS

6. Colander

Don’t be the schmuck who tries to pour out boiling hot pasta water without one, trust me you’ll regret it. A colander is an unsung hero that can be used for rinsing vegetables, draining canned goods, and even steaming vegetables.

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ExcelSteel Colander

7. Baking Sheet

I’ll give anyone $10 who can go their entire four years of Uni without craving cookies, fries, and roasted veggies; basically anything that requires a baking sheet.

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Wilton Baking Sheet

8. Can Opener

Quick recipes always seem to include canned goods like tuna, chickpeas, and Campbell’s. You never realize how much you use can openers until you can’t find one, or in my case, have a rusted one that’s useless. Be safe, go for a stainless steel one.

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Kebley Stainless Steel Can Opener

9. Aluminium Foil

Everyone knows that aluminium foil can be used to cover your food and line your baking sheets. But they are also perfect for no clean-up foil packet dinners and tinfoil hat team building (jk).

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GreatValue Aluminium Foil

10. Tupperware

With all the hype around meal planning, homemade lunches are cool again. Store your food with good quality and microwave friendly tupperware.

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Rubbermaid Food Storage Set

APPLIANCES

11. Nutribullet

Is an explanation even necessary? There seems to be an unspoken rule that every millennial who cares an ounce about healthy eating has one. On a serious note, the Nutribullet is the solution for almost anything you can think of. Small kitchen? The Nutribullet is tiny. Want a smoothie? Now you can make it at home. Feeling fancy and want to make pesto? Purée away in your Nutribullet! I bought mine refurbished for only $50.

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Nutribullet 600

12. Kettle

Money might not be able to buy you happiness but it can buy you a kettle that will give hot water on demand for when your soul needs tea, hot chocolate, or a classy cup of ramen.

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Salton Cordless Kettle

OPTIONAL

Here are some extra gadgets that are really useful in the kitchen. Although these things are nice to have, they won’t make or break your meal prep process if they’re out of your budget.

Rice Cooker

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Salton Rice Cooker

Crock Pot

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4-Qt Crock-Pot

Brita Filter

 

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Brita Pitcher

 

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