10 Must-Have Items for Aspiring Home Cooks

Did you know that aspiring to be a great cook is an act of friendship? It’s true!

Here’s the logic:

Our home acts as a metaphor for our relationships. The extent to which someone has access to certain areas of our home says a lot about how close we are. For instance, some people are never invited in, and others rarely make it past the foyer. Alternatively, when we welcome someone into our kitchen, or into our dining room, or, better yet, give them free access to our refrigerator? That’s a strong friendship.

Kitchens and dining rooms are the central hub of every home; relationships are forged at tables and over meals. Therefore, as both an aspiring cook and—by virtue of this clever syllogism—gracious friend, here are 10 items you must have the next time you decide to invite someone into your kitchen for a homecooked meal!

Cut Out the Middle Man | Emojoy Knife Set

Whoever said, “A good craftsman never blames his tools,” probably never tried cutting a steak with a butter knife or a loaf of bread with a paring knife. The fact of the matter is the right knife for the right job is an absolute necessity in the kitchen. This all-in-one set of blades made from high-Carbon stainless steel and with Polymer handles offers not just excellence in cutlery but also the practicality that too many aspiring cooks tend to overlook. Just try peeling that avocado with that serrated blade, and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

Worry-free Pottery | Calphalon Classic Pots and Pans  

Sturdy, reliable, and innovative cookware might be the most important tools of the culinary trade. These pots and pans aren’t just made of non-stick and easy-to-clean surfaces. They also include a “no boil over” insert, which frees up an aspiring cook to move about the kitchen without the concern of a messy spill. The anodized aluminum also showcases convenient measuring marks and offers handles that do not heat up. These are a huge benefit for those chefs who occasionally forget where they put that oven mitt.

Measure by Measure | 10 Piece Measuring Cups and Spoons

We probably all have that family member who famously never shared a family recipe, only to discover there never was one. The details, handed down by word of mouth over time, eventually devolved into “throw in a dash of this into a bowl with a pinch of that” and, BAM! Caramel apple pie. To be clear: that’s not how cooking usually works. People looking to improve their cooking skills need to measure accurately, and this attractive set of anti-rust, stainless steel measuring cups and spoons ensure that both your wet and dry ingredients are calculated to absolute perfection.

Don’t Strain Yourself | Powder Coated Steel Colander Set

Whether it’s handfuls of berries, bunches of grapes, or a steaming helping of pasta, getting rid of excess water will always be necessary in the kitchen. Made with powder-coated steel to ensure protection against moisture and to prevent unsightly corrosion, this colander set nests nicely to save space on storage while also providing a durable foundation for all your cooking needs.

If I Knew That You Were Coming… | Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware Set

Fewer outcomes are more frustrating than spending a lot of time making cookies or an appetizer only to discover, after taking them out of the oven, that you need to chip away at them with a chisel to serve them to your guests. Fret no longer! This 3-piece set of baking pans features a long-lasting, non-stick surface that also resists warping and comes with rubber-gripped handles for the easy and safe transportation of your perfectly baked goods from oven to countertop.

Getting a Handle on Things | Silicone Cooking Utensil Set

Cooks are creators, and the more creative they become, the more advanced and specific their tools must become. As a result, the culinary shelves of your local department store are littered with oddly shaped and mysterious accessories that can appear alien to an aspiring chef. That’s why this premium kitchen set of 15 durable and heat-resistant utensils, from slotted spoon to basting brush to egg whisk, is the perfect purchase to harness your culinary, artistic expressions.

On the Chopping Block | Organic Bamboo Cutting Board

Don’t do irreparable damage to your kitchen counters by cutting or chopping food on them. These three boards of different dimension provide a perfect cutting surface for everything from soft fruit to fresh meat. The smooth bamboo surface—organically constructed to eliminate any chemical treatment—is ideal because it will not dull your blades and contains deep grooves that inhibit excessive runoff and reduce significant cleanup afterwards.

Let’s Mix Things Up a Bit | Aucma Stand Mixer

Perhaps the most important machine for any aspiring baker, this colorful and powerful electric mixer offers 6 optimized speeds to aid in the preparation of just about any dish. Its tilt-head design maximizes access, and the splash guard features an entry hatch to streamline the process of adding ingredients as you go. Additionally, the accompanying whisk, dough hook, and beater suggest there’s not a job this mixer can’t handle.

How Would You Like That Done? | Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Often, the greatest concern the person at the grill has is being assured that the meat they’ve cooked is “done.” Obviously, no one wants to cause someone else to get sick. But it’s also a common courtesy to deliver a steak or a pork chop to a guest at their preferred temperature. This ergonomically designed thermometer is designed to take the temperature of your meat in just 2-3 seconds with the accuracy of +/-1 degrees.

Calling a Pot an Oven | KUTIME Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Not everyone is familiar with them, but Dutch ovens should be a mainstay in all kitchens. Sturdy and thick, these cylindrical cooking pots with a tight lid hold heat and allow for a perfect slow-cooking process. More importantly, they can be used in a variety of ways: a stew on the stovetop, a casserole in the oven, or even a round loaf of bread. This six-quart, gradient blue pot will not only render the perfect chili, but it will look marvelous doing it.