On Sunday night, we hosted our first informal dinner party with Will’s parents and their best family friend. We cooked three different kinds of pizza as well as asparagus hollandaise and I’d say everything turned out reasonably well (read: edible) besides me overcooking the asparagus. Maybe it sounds silly to those of you who are more experienced chefs but it was a fun little milestone for us in building up our confidence in the kitchen.

That said, it was pretty hilarious how unprepared our kitchen is for any kind of entertaining. “Where are the wine glasses?” (A lot of them broke during our move.) “Do you have a pizza cutter?” (No.) “Is there a third cookie sheet?” (A very tiny one.) “Is there a fifth placemat?” (No.) “How do you make hollandaise without a double boiler?” (By precariously balancing a metal bowl on top of a small pot.) I started making a mental list of everything we ought to invest in but decided to document it here as I know some of you are in the early stages of stocking your kitchen as well.

cute kitchen supplies

double boiler  //  cookie sheets  //  oven mitts  //  pizza cutter  //  wine glasses  //  placemats

Are there any items you’d recommend for a beginner’s kitchen? Do you have a favorite brand for pots, pans, etc.? I’d love to hear!

P.S. See our kitchen here.


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  1. MacKenzie, dinner Sunday night was wonderful. I was thrilled to be with you. The asparagus was yummy and you observed the most important rules: you were relaxed (or appeared to be), and you were a delightful hostess. Thanks for a great evening.

  2. We love our French Press + Coffee bean grinder. I swear it saves us money because we buy coffee out less. And it tastes so good!

    But also—maybe this sounds strange—but I never buy too much kitchen stuff because I always think that’s kind of like the purpose of wedding registries, when that day comes. haha.

  3. always have extra virgin olive oil!
    my most used item is my Le Creuset dutch oven … investment and worth every dime
    a mandolin and/or food processor work wonders
    nice wooden cooking utensils … they protect the surface of your pots/pans
    and because I am southern … buy y’all a seasoned cast iron skillet … you won’t regret it!


  4. Sounds like your first dinner party was a success! Edible is key!

    Have you had your hand fitted for a quality chef’s knife yet? There is a dizzying amount of brands out there and they all feel, weigh and maneuver differently. You don’t want one that’s too heavy, possibly slippery, or too small/large. You can go into a good quality cutlery shop or kitchen store and ask to have your hand fitted. The chef’s knife is the most versatile and you’ll have it forever. Also, talk with them about sharpening your knife.

    Sur La Table allows customers to use sample knives and offers knife skills classes. Have fun and good luck!

  5. I agree about the sets of pots and pans. I buy the cheapest nonstick one or two that don’t look hideous at TJ Maxx and replace them as soon as the nonstick finish starts to go, and I have stainless for everything else. Not as heat-conductive as other materials, but I’ve had my stainless-finish Calphalon set for almost 9 years. (Also, random side note, don’t get a nonstick wok; stirfrying is meant for high temps and nonstick surfaces are not. I have a carbon steel one from World Market that I’ve been seasoning for a few years…it’s a process :))

    Also, while I received beautiful delicate wine glasses as a shower gift, I bought a set of 12 from…the Dollar Tree. After reminding my husband to be careful while handwashing the wine glasses, I was the one who broke one or three because they were so damn thin and delicate. Dollar Tree has (large) stemmed and stemless glasses in a very standard “wine glass” shape. I’m obviously not snobby about my wine being in the right glass…but I love these 🙂

    One other thing I wish I’d known about cooking “gear” is to get a knife magnet and not use the block. Knives dull SO much faster in a drawer or block, it’s crazy, plus a magnet is easier access. If you’re installing in drywall, make sure you use anchors or get into a stud.

    Lastly (longest comment EVER) if you make a menu, think about what tools you’ll need to make the meals, like the tools are part of your menu/shopping list. That way, you’re not buying tools you’ll never use and unnecessarily cluttering up your kitchen. Good luck! So fun to follow along with you!

  6. cutting boards
    good knife set (the only time I recommend a set of anything)
    dutch oven (huge pot with a lid that is very heavy)
    sauce pan
    skillet (skip the cast iron because the maintenance is hard for a beginner)
    heat resistant rubber scrappers
    slow cooker
    garlic press

  7. Have you ever read the blog Smitten Kitchen? She has great recipes, and her cookbook has a nice list in the back of the “essentials” that you need to stock a kitchen. She might also have it posted on her website – worth a look!

  8. Glass mixing bowl set. i have two of these sets from Pyrex: http://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Smart-Essentials-8-Piece-Mixing/dp/B000FBUMLQ. They are nice because they come with lids so you can throw them in the fridge with leftovers or use them to transport food. I use mine as a double broiler all the time, and it’s a useful set for prep bowls, too. OXO utensils aren’t the prettiest, but they work the best. Sometimes you can find them at Homegoods or Marshalls. I second the commenters that said avoid big sets- you can get away with just a couple nice pots and pans, there is no reason to own a set of 10 pans!

  9. This post takes me back to our first dinner party many, many years ago. I cooked everything straight from a box since I had no experience in the kitchen. At that moment I really regretted not paying more attention when my mom and dad would cook! Everything went well and no on complained about the food ( I think they were being polite) and that experience showed me what tools I would really need in the kitchen. Many years later I am glad to say that I no longer cook from a box and my kitchen supplies are overflowing! Things I would recommend are a set of pots (an expensive investment but worth it. I have the Gordon Ramsay Royal Doulton set and they are fab!), a good apron (to protect your clothing from splatters) small kitchen gadgets (such as a zester, garlic press, cutting in tool, citrus squeeze, etc.) and some go to cook books like anything from Martha Stewart. Goof luck on your next dinner party!
    xx http://www.celebratingthislife.ca

  10. Congratulations on your first dinner party! I hope you took pictures so you can look back at how far you’ve come.

    I love Made in America pots and pans. All-Clad is fantastic for stainless steel and my favorite non stick line is Calphalon Elite (sold only at Williams-Sonoma). I’d stock up on wooden and silicon cooking utensils – they won’t scratch your non stick.

    My brother gave me the 10 piece glass mixing bowl set (also from Williams-Sonoma) as a gift and it’s one of the best gifts Ive ever gotten. I use it when setting up miss en place for cookie baking, I grab one of the bowls use as part of a double boiler. I’ll fill the large size with homemade kettle corn while Netflix binging.

  11. I love this post! I moved into my first house (my real house I purchased! no roomies! miracle!) a year and a half ago with all hand me down’s and random Target purchases in my kitchen. It was slow and steady trying to decorate and furnish a house and stock a kitchen. I made a few key purchases (immersion blender, mixing bowls, crock pot), but now I am engaged and counting down the months until I can register. Also planning a kitchen renovation before the wedding so I would love to keep seeing your kitchen inspiration and picks here!

  12. I seriously need to invest in some good cookie sheets. I only have 2 right now and neither one of them have sides, so whenever I try to roast something the oil and juices run off the pan and start to make my oven smoke! Also I would love to invest in a good set of knives. But instead of investing in quality kitchen ware I somehow always find myself with a new pair of shoes instead!

    – Kelsey

  13. We just remodeled our kitchen & had to get rid of every last item in our pantry b/c they got bugs in them during the endless construction. So I’m starting from scratch in a similar way. I have found that a glass bowl on top of a sauce pan actually works better than a ‘real’ double boiler b/c the glass conducts head better (we melt a lot of chocolate:-). I dream about divesting of our gazillion iffy pots and pans and replacing them with one 5.5 white Le Creuset dutch oven. xo

  14. My biggest tip for stocking a kitchen is to avoid the large sets of items. For two people still building kitchen confidence, you really don’t need the 11 piece pots/pans set or the 15 piece utensil set. I’ve searched for must have lists from chefs who appeal to more basic kitchens, like Ina Garten, or take a look at a list of what to register for (I love the one in Russel and Hazel’s wedding planner: http://www.russellandhazel.com/PDF/WeddingTemplate.pdf) to give you ideas of what you might want to shop for.

    That said, my must haves include a medium pot for everything from pasta to veggies, lots of wooden sppons, rubber spatulas, good pot holders and trivets, a nice non-slip cutting board, a good non-stick skillet, and one good chef’s knife (you often don’t need whole sets).

    Good luck!

  15. we registered for all new wine glasses when we got married! Our favorite everday ones are Reidel. Oxo is great for pizza cutters or any other basic kitchen items. I also highly suggest a vitamix. Great for chopping, blending even making soups! Also a slow cooker 🙂