i posted a couple of months ago, asking other hounds for their recommendations for my college daughter's SECOND apartment. Not the first apartment, with unknown roommates and a new stove.. the second apartment, where everything is getting a little more familiar and the roommates are hand picked (for quality??). I thought i had it covered, thanks to so many wonderful suggestions: i was going with an immersion blender with a chopping attachment (like a mini food processor so she could make pesto, which she loves) and a cast iron skillet. these were to add to her motley crew of cookware.
when i got there, to HELP she accepted only one new item... a tea kettle. THAT'S IT!!! i demanded it have a whistle so she wouldn't boil it dry, other than that she didn't really care what it looked like. She just knew that her other (electric) tea kettle had broken so she wanted a new one for the stove.
I was in shock! this kid eats well and enjoys some novice level of cooking... and she said she'd get by on what she has. I had to throw out one small non-stick skillet, which had been thoroughly trashed and was so crusted i couldn't even see the bottom, and she didn't even want me to replace that! (Her reasoning being it obviously didn't function well the first go-round, so why replace it with another!)
so much for my being helpful: I guess you really can get by on a can opener and a pot...