After college, I inhered my mom’s million-year-old Farberware and a toaster oven the same age as me. Since then, I’ve accumulated enough kitchenware that my kid’s bedroom closet acts as a storage space. Some of the items I’ve bought, clearly, are not the most necessary. Below, though, are the ones I can’t live without.

  • 12″ Frying Pan/Skillet

    This is definitely nice to have and I use mine quite a bit, specifically for searing/cooking smaller pieces of meat. Beyond 2-3 largeish pieces, you will need to sear in batches. It doesn’t do anything the saute pan won’t do, but it’s convenient if you are cooking multiple items on the stovetop (as I often find myself doing). This is used for a lot of side dishes (sauteed vegetables, beans, etc.).

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  • 3 Qt. Covered Casserole

    I use this for making grains, blanching smaller amounts of vegetables, making small casseroles and smaller batches of mashed potatoes. When it was just the two of us, it was my main vehicle for boiling pasta, too.

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  • 2 Qt. Saucepan

    This can also be used for making smaller batches of rice and grains but most frequently I use it to make sauces and glazes, bechamel, custards and creams.

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  • Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

    A search for “cast iron” on this blog will give you some insight into how often I use this pan. Clue:  it’s a LOT.  The workhorse of my kitchen, this thing is good for everything from making steaks to perfectly crisped fritters and casseroles to cornbread. It’s cheap and will last you a lifetime.

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  • 3 Qt. Stainless Saute Pan with Lid

    This is my most used pan, by far. It’s perfect for searing large pieces of meat (and making a pan sauce after), making one pot dishes, and even serves as my dipping station for melomakarona. If you buy one stainless steel pan, make this it.

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