Cooking for Two can present many challenges, but having the right equipment on-hand can make a world of difference! In Cooking for Two – Part One we talked about Tips and Tricks, in Part Two we talked about portion sizes, so in Part Three we’ll deal with the kind of equipment you should have on hand in even a small kitchen to give you the right tools for the job. The list below also serves as a basis for my scaled-down camp kitchen box.
Do your research on brands before you buy any knives, pots and pans. They should be durable and made with quality materials with solid construction, especially around the handles. You won’t save any money if you buy cheaply the first time and then have to replace them again in a year or two. You probably don’t need a big set of pans or a large knife block full of knives. (See my Knife Skills post for my suggestions there). It may seem like a better deal to buy a big set, but if you only need a few pieces, it will probably be about the same price to get exactly what you need.
Cooking for Two: Equipment for Two
1 10 – 12 inch frying pan – A durable heavyweight pan with a heatproof handle is versatile. Cast iron that is treated properly can be a wonderful non-stick surface, but if you do buy a non-stick coating, replace the pan as soon as it shows signs of wear.
2 cup small saucepan with lid for sauces and single serving sized preparations
1-2qt saucepan with lid for dinner-sized portions of rice and starchy vegetables
3 qt saucepan with lid for soups, steaming vegetables, larger batches for leftovers
1 gallon pot for boiling pasta, seafood, corn on the cob, etc.
8-9 inch square or rectangular baking pan
Set of nesting mixing bowls
Set of nested measuring cups, set of measuring spoons
Graduated 2 cup liquid measuring cup
Wooden spoons or heat-resistant plastic spoons
1 metal slotted spoon
1 Rubber or Heat Proof Silicone Spatula
1 flexible, wide and strong heat proof spatula for turning hot foods
1 wire whisk
1 good quality chef’s knife
1 good quality paring knife
1 vegetable peeler
1 serrated slicer
Cutting Board at least 18” across, made of high grade plastic or wood. Plan to replace cutting boards when they start showing signs of deep grooves from repeated cuts.
1 colander. If space is tight, a hand tool that is held up against a pot for straining can be useful.
Individual-sized casserole dishes or deep soup bowls that can go into the oven
Individual portion-sized storage containers. Choose sturdy containers with tightly-sealing lids, preferably ones that can go from freezer to lunchbox, or even into the microwave. If you decide to double your recipe and make 4 servings, you can eat two and store two for a later meal!
2 heavy-duty hot pads
2 hand towels
Scrub brush, dish drainer
Hand soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s for both hand soap and general cleaning so I don’t have more than one dispenser. If you use something harsher to clean your dishes, you will want a hand soap designed to be gentle on your skin.)