After weeks of searching PadMapper, questioning your future roommates’ intelligence and eventually losing yourself under piles of cardboard boxes, moving day arrives. Your first apartment is a young adult milestone like your first time booking a doctor’s appointment by yourself or discovering binge drinking isn’t worth the hangover. Yet amongst the thrill of independence, you’re likely to forget something. Let me ease your mind and provide you a list of your basic kitchen needs. You can survive on these few items until your next pay cheque arrives or you choose to delay paying off your credit card for another month—whichever comes first. For more indulgent (and fun) food apartment purchases, check out Danielle’s countdown of graduation-worthy kitchen gadgets.
Pasta pot and strainer
I am not accusing North American college and university students of a limited culinary imagination. However, they do eat a lot of spaghetti. And, honestly, after a move, who wants to cook anything more complicated? When you do return to or start exploring more demanding recipes a large pot covers most of the bases: boiling, frying and sautéing.
The spatula is another catch-all kitchen utensil. Purchase a sturdy, high-quality one though. Unlike a wooden spoon, you can stir, wipe down, spread and sauté with a spatula. It’s ideal for cooking as well as baking. Once you adopt a regular cooking routine, you’ll see what other utensils your needs require.
It’s not until you unpack a can of chickpeas from your first grocery shop that you realize you have absolutely no means to access the legume inside of it. And no app, Google search or bout of tears can help you. Too often forgotten, can openers hold this odd power over us simple humans. So let me remind you again, before you go forgetting it again: buy a can opener. Now.
The trio: fork, spoon and knife
Sure, you can eat with your hands or lick your dinner clean off the plate, but the classic trio serve other purposes in the kitchen. Ketchup stuck in the bottle? Knife. Soup require taste test? Spoon. Toast stuck in the toaster? Fork. (JUST UNPLUG THE TOASTER FIRST THOUGH, DUDE.) Aim to purchase two sets per person in the apartment. It’ll save you eating off of dirty cutlery and endless washing-up as well as allowing for dinner parties down the road.
A proper knife
It makes both Danielle’s and my list for a reason: any cook (first-time or pro) needs a solid cutting knife. Like the can opener, it’s too often forgotten until the worse time. It slices open everything from onions, stubborn bags of potato chips and sometimes even fingers. If you have to skimp on any of the above items—even the spatula—at the very least invest in the knife. If you buy sensibly, it’ll last you numerous apartments. (Yes, you will likely have to move several more times in your life). Sensibility is key. Don’t choose anything, you’re too scared to touch let alone cut with.