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Episode 417 - School Rules
First Kitchen
Strictly essential...
I receive many letters and e-mails from viewers who are recent University Graduates. A recurring question: What essentials do I need to have in my kitchen the first time I set it up? Well, the time has come to answer that question.

The first two utensils that I recommend are similar: a strainer and a colander. The colander is perfect for rinsing out lettuces, fresh fruits and pasta. A strainer is useful if you have to run something such as sliced or stewed tomatoes through it, because it catches the seeds.

Next, I recommend keeping a complete set of both measuring spoons and cups. Graters are also great things to have in your kitchen, perfect for cheeses or for grating vegetables. A kettle is an important item to have, whether electric or stovetop.

You can't have a kitchen without a wire rack. Where else are you going to cool cookies or cakes as you remove them from a hot oven? Inexpensive and versatile, you can even use a wire rack to roast meats. If you're cooking food such as a chicken breast or hamburger, you can place them onto the wire rack and then onto a baking sheet and it will allow the fat to drip off. This is a great way to cut fat intake.

Regarding pots and pans, I'm going to suggest that you start with a basic, standard set: a medium-sized covered pot, a larger pot, and a skillet. The nice thing to do is to keep adding; so, once a year, why not treat yourself and pick up a new pot to incorporate into your set?

In my own kitchen drawer, I have some very important items which I use on a regular basis, items such as spatulas, a garlic press, a cheese slicer, a pizza slicer and you can't forget a can opener. You may also wish to have on hand a potato peeler, bottle opener, meat thermometer, melon baller, turkey baster and a long-pronged fork for holding down meats. A juicer, an ice-cream scoop, a whisk and a meat mallet should help to complete your collection.

Following my advice, you will hopefully have all the essentials you need when you set up home for the first time. By purchasing them slowly but surely, before you know it, you'll have the perfect collection of all of the kitchen essentials.

Lots of fun and I know it will inspire you to cook real soon!