I’ve been living by myself in a condo for close to two years now and suffice it to say, it’s been quite the eye-opener for me. We live in a society where you don’t move out of your parents’ house until you get married, and sometimes, that’s not even the case! I know of married couples that still stay in the homes they grew up in due to a myriad of reasons but I think primarily, it’s just because we Filipinos have very, very strong familial bonds. We’re not the leave-our-elderly-at-a-nursing-home types but more of a “family above all else” society. Moving out, WHILE STILL SINGLE, for no reason other than just having your own place, isn’t quite the norm here yet. We are getting there though and I think this will lead to a lot of cooking-at-home experiments –which is good! Good for everyone who wants to cook at home and even better for everyone who wants to learn how to cook, too!
Intimidated? Well, you should be. It’s cooking, so there’s going to be a LOT of chopping, working with fire, stinky fingers, and cleaning up afterwards, but, trust me, it’s going to be all worth it. Been there, been that. So why don’t we make life easier for everyone? In Dude Food, my semi-regular column here, I’m giving the guys a kitchen cheat-sheet on what it takes to learn the ins and outs of your home kitchen.
Guys, welcome to THE FOOD HACK!!!
Let’s start it off with a picture diary of the 5 most essential tools you can have for your home kitchen. If you have the right tools to begin with, cooking at home will be a lot easier and more importantly, safer. Trust me, some of the items on this list will seem like no-brainers to some, but common sense isn’t as common nowadays so we might as well guide everyone through it.
1. The first kitchen tool, the humble Wooden Spoon.
Versatile. Light. Easy to handle. Sturdy. Won’t scrape your non-stick cookware. Easy to clean. Make sure you have a wooden spoon to aid you in the kitchen at all times to avoid the messy situation of scraping your pots and pans with metal cooking utensils.
2. Non-stick Pan
This will sound awfully silly but get one heavy-duty non-stick pan and you’ll be set to cook almost anything in your kitchen. You can use it to fry, sauté, boil, pan-grill — the works! I use a 16-inch IKEA pan that I got on sale and believe it or not, I lived off of having just one pan in my kitchen for close to a year (‘til my friends noticed and started gifting me with more pans. Party-poopers)! Cleaning a pan is a cinch so you won’t even have to worry about that.
You’ll be cooking a lot of things in this pan and I won’t lie to you: the bachelor life is very much like the college student life – a LOOOOT of noodles. Noodles and pasta cook way faster than rice so this will definitely be your starch of choice; trust me, a strainer is indispensable. Get one and start using it for everything.
Yes, you’ll be making a lot of shakes, be it for breakfast smoothies or an after-workout protein burst. No, you don’t have to buy a big one. I recommend a Nutribullet. It’s safe because it won’t activate unless you secure it properly (very much like a food processor) and it’s also very easy to clean. Afraid it can’t blend your morning apple-carrot-kale fiber booster? This monster has 800 watts of blending muscle at its disposal. Yes, that’s a lot of firepower for a sweet little blender. [Lori’s note: I don’t have a NutriBullet but I do have a bad-ass blender (above) that runs at a wicked 1500 watts. I couldn’t live without it.]
It doesn’t matter what brand you use. It doesn’t matter where you get them. It doesn’t even matter what they’re made of. Just make sure of two things: first, make sure they’re so sharp they can cut through almost everything with ease; and second, make sure the length and weight are just right for you. These two factors contribute a lot to your safety, specifically, the safety of retaining all of your digits after all your prep work. The sharpness means it’s going through your food easily and won’t slip onto your fingers, while the weight and length contribute to the knife’s heft. Get a standard santoku knife for most of your prep work and a small paring knife for more precision and you’re set.
So that’s it, your starter set of five kitchen tools! Get them and use them and you’ll be a fledgling kitchen conqueror in no time! For more questions and/or information you may get in touch with me @chefedward via my social media accounts. Thank you and please stay tuned for my next Food Hack articles.