I know that many new Tribe members haven’t cooked much. And to make eating real food part of your daily life, you’re gonna need to cook.
So here’s a list of the bare essentials that you’ll need to be successful. It’s not a lot. And I’ve even put the estimated price for each item and the total at the bottom so you know about how much you’ll have to invest to get cooking. Of course you don’t have to have these exact things but they’re what I’m currently using in my kitchen and I’ll tell you why.
A cast iron skillet. We’ve gotten many comments when people come into our kitchen and see a cast iron skillet on the stove. It’s pretty much there all the time and it gets used multiple times every day. Some people think they’re hard to care for so they don’t even consider using one. But they’re really no trouble at all if you if you treat them right. See this video <link> and I’ll show you how easy it is. You’ll also get a workout every time you lift it :-) Avoid using Teflon-type non-stick pans. That surface “wearing out” is really a little bit of that coating getting into your food every time you cook. No thanks. $30
2 really good knives to start. There’s nothing worse than trying to use flexible, dull knives when you’re cooking. Get some good ones! I know they’re expensive but you’ll have them forever. If you can afford it, get a complete set of high quality knives that comes with steak knives. That’ll cost $200-$250
Calphalon 7 inch Santoku knife. We were given a Calphalon knife set as a gift several years ago and when I first saw this knife, I thought, “Wow, that’s huge! When am I going to use that?” I use it for just about everything, everyday. $35
3 ½ inch paring knife In addition to a big, multi-purpose knife, you’ll need a little paring knife. I couldn’t find the 3 ½ inch knife by itself on Amazon but they have this pair for $35
A good, large cutting board. This one is similar to the one that I use every day. I prefer the thick, dense plastic boards to wooden boards. I think they’re easier to clean. Also get a board that has the drain channel around the edge. That really helps keep things clean. One note: Don’t put these in your dishwasher. I did that with ours and it’s forever warped. $15
Wooden spoons. We’ve acquired a bunch of wooden spoons over time and I have no idea where they came from. But they get used every day and they last a really long time. Here’s a set that’s on Amazon that look good and have great ratings. These say you should hand wash them but we throw ours in the dishwasher and they’ve held up well. $15
Spatulas! Remember Spatula CIty? Seriously, you need a few good spatulas. A couple of rubber ones and a good rigid one for flipping things like eggs and burgers. Our spatulas are kind of like our wooden spoons - I have no idea where they came from. Find some good silicone spatulas and a high quality “turner” and you should be good for a long time. $20 and $8
I almost forgot to include measuring spoons. You don’t need anything fancy but they are kind of important. I like this set because they’re narrow enough to fit into little spice jars. $10
You’ll also need a couple of mixing bowls. One big one and one smaller one will get you by for most things. The big one I use most often is 11 inches diameter and about 6 inches deep, the smaller one is about 6 inches diameter and 3 inches deep.
Total for the essentials: About $210
And if you’re on a very limited budget, you can go treasure hunting and find things really cheap at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or Value Village. It’s surprising some of the nice stuff people give away.