“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”
– Craig Claiborne
Kitchen gear for men
Chefs are like golfers. They’ll buy any product, no matter how ridiculous, in hopes that it makes them slightly better at their craft. Being in the cooking niche is like having a license to print money.
Looking around my apartment, which came fully stocked with all kinds of appliances, I’ve found more gadgets than I know what to do with. There’s a juicer, blender, coffee maker, coffee press, tea kettle, two crock pots, half a dozen mixing bowls, a cheese grader, a wine aerator, five different pans, six special pots, one hamburger press, a heavy meat tenderizer, and all kinds of knives and peelers that I will never use.
That’s too much for most people. If you’re a man who lives on his own and isn’t cooking for others you don’t need ten thousand different tools. In fact, you don’t even need super high-end equipment to prepare anything. I did a little research on what appliances I use and found that there were really only three main items. The wine aerator wasn’t one of them.
Three essential kitchen tools
Here are the three pieces of equipment that I use almost daily:
1. Frying pan
2. Crock pot
3. Microwave safe bowl
That’s it. No fancy whiskey rocks, laser guided pizza cutter (that’s a real thing by the way), or cutesy vintage popcorn maker. Buying all that stuff gets expensive. Additionally, gadgets like those are fairly impractical. How many pizzas do you have to slice before your $20 laser guided pizza cutter pays for itself?
Lastly, any man who plans on moving is going to have a really hard time boxing up all his worthless kitchen tools. A handful of quality items are better than hundreds of useless gizmos.
My three basic tools are all pretty nice. While none of them are super expensive, they’ve all held up really well. And none of them, from my Internet investigations, cost more than $50.
I use a fairly standard cast-iron frying pan. While I’m not sure what the exact model is, it looks similar to this one by Lodge. If you’re making eggs, cooking steak, or preparing some ground beef this the perfect tool. You could probably make the vast majority of your meals with this alone.
Crock pot cooking is something that I’m still pretty new to. I’ve used it to make some meatballs and a big thing of chicken with carrots and wild rice. The thing that makes this appliance really cool is the fact that you can cook something without having to be home. Unlike your oven, a crock pot is safe to leave on while you’re out of the house. Before I went to the Palomino Islands I threw chicken and vegetables into my crock pot. When I got back, all sunburned and smelling like dead fish, I was able to sit down and eat a hearty meal. This saved me from having to cook something while I was tired, or clean up to go out and order food.
While my current crock pot is pretty small, I’ve got a 6-quart programmable slow cooker waiting for me in the states. For the sake of convince I’d recommend picking one of these up.
Somehow all of the bowls in my apartment explode when you put them in the microwave. As a result I had to run out and buy a microwave safe bowl. I basically just use this for heating up frozen vegetables. Most cookware in the United States should be microwavable, but make sure before you buy anything. There’s nothing worse than having to clean up peas and porcelain.
The big market for men is bar utensils. Advertisers usually play up the old “you’ve got a girl at your place and need to make her a dink” routine. This leads to all kinds of impractical items like collar stays that turn into bottle openers, mini-fridges for mixers, and fancy cocktail shakers.
If you like drinking that stuff might not be a bad investment, but it won’t help you to get girls. But I’ve never not hooked up with some chick because of my lack of sophisticated barware. Unless you absolutely love mixing cocktails your money is better spent elsewhere.
I love coffee and tea. One of my favorite beverages is Vietnamese iced coffee. In America I have a traditional Vietnamese coffee filter. It cost like five bucks and works great. In Peru I use a French Press to make my coffee. Every cup turns out incredibly strong and the whole process requires nothing more than some grounds and hot water. I’ll probably buy a Bodum Brazil French Press when I get home.
Other than some coffee stuff, I really don’t have a lot of luxury cooking items. If I want something elaborate I’ll hit up a nice restaurant.
Cooking utensils are fairly cheap. As long as you don’t get bogged down with worthless gadgets you can have everything you’d need for under $100. I’ve bought pizza that was more expensive than a giant crock pot. Kitchenware is inexpensive and will save both your wallet and waistline. Making steak and eggs, or chicken and rice is an easy way to get more protein too. There’s no reason that a man shouldn’t own some basic appliances and know how to use them.