Ive recently married and have used my connubial ritual as a wonderful opportunity (as many others before me) to upgrade and expand my cooking tools as result of the absurd generosity bestowed upon my bride and me by our circle of friends whom are quick to endorse and reward our decision to join their ranks (as a similarly "married" couple) as opposed to continuing to live in sin whereby we would be due no compensation at all.
We registered at Bloomingdales for a number of reasons, not least of which is their return/exchange policy that allows for us to return items that we knew people would gladly buy us but which in fact we have no need for but can exchange them for whatever extravagant kitchen bauble that we please.
I am a relatively accomplished amateur chef (mostly French and Italian influenced, with a few Indian influences) and after a few years of experimenting Ive really come to believe that a few pots, pans and knives are all that are truly needed. However, I love cookware and will eagerly whore myself equally for yet another microplane zester (a new shape) or a another, larger cast iron skillet (please, get me the 15"). Thus I am torn between my true belief that I dont really need any more tools, etc. and my salivating desire at the prospect of all the objects that are now my due! I dont need a speech about donations, charity or simple living. Im not an excessive person; I appreciate these things enormously and intend to procure things that are truly useful and with hope will last many years.
The question is: what are the essential pots, pans, knives and gadget? And after the essential, what are the first indulgences to demand of my tardy friends?
Here is my essentials list:
3" paring knife.
8" chefs knife
10" boning knife
8" nonstick skillet
12" heavy skillet (cast iron, Le Crueset)
Square grill pan
4.5 Quart stockpot
Good salad spinner
Quality salt and pepper grinders
Mortar and pestle
Now, I have many other gadgets and pans (including nearly identical items in different finishes) but if I had to ditch it all and pick what mattered, what I used day in and day out, it would look something like the above list.
Id love ideas and even commentary on my own list. For instance, today I toyed with an excellent cutting board at Williams-Sonoma. It was a reversible board that had a well grooved into one side in order to carve birds; the other side was a traditional meat cutting board. It seemed terrific. The problem is that I already have a basic cutting board that Ive used for years and although it has no moat to collect juices I have used it for a long time and whatever its shortcomings it hasnt seemed to diminish my or any of my guests enjoyment of many meals over many evenings so it begs the question, Do I really need a new cutting board?! Of course I dont expect a specific answer to a question so utterly personal but rather a general inquiry into the objects needed to properly outfit a kitchen.