If I start to learn how to master the long forgotten art of cooking, what are the basic tools that I need?

I'm not sure what you mean by ‘long forgotten' there are hundreds (if not more) of active Cooks probably within 5 miles of you.

I'm going to give you a shopping list try not to spend big bucks go to thrift stores, go to yard sales.

I'm going to try and give you a basic set of items that you could probably pick up for under $150-$200. you don't need to get it all at once and definitely concentrate on the items that will facilitate the projects that you want to try first.

when you do go shopping at the thrift stores and garage sales if you can take someone with you who is an active cook they can help you make decisions on equipment you find.

So here's my basic list:

Pans and other stove ware-

  • Oven mitts - get good ones! buy these new.( Good ones are usually pretty utilitarian looking, bad ones are usually very pretty)..
  • Sauce pans, small (500mL, 1 litre, 3 litre) stainless stee, preferably with fitted Lids
  • Cast iron frying pan at least 10 in hopefully a little larger.
  • Steamer unit with lid - should fit on top of one of your saucepans
  • Cast iron Dutch oven with lid. Try camping goods store if you can't find one used. Do NOT buy new from a kitchen supply store - they massively overcharge for these sort of items.
  • 2 x 9 inch cake pans
  • One cookie sheet
  • Bread pan
  • 1 metal cooling rack

Assorted tools

  • Spatula
  • Several wooden stirring spoons
  • Slotted spoon
  • Tongs
  • Colander
  • Carving Fork
  • Wooden cutting board, the thicker and heavier the better.


  • Small paring knife
  • Long serated knife
  • Chef style knife (check out thrift stores I have found $400 knives in thrift stores for 99¢
  • Sandwich knife with spreader
  • Sharpening rod.

Handy Items

  • Parchment paper
  • Silicone baking sheets (dollar store)
  • Bamboo skewers


  • Fire extinguisher or box of baking soda especially designated for fire suppression.
  • Rubber gloves can prevent cross-contamination
  • Bleach for sanitizing surfaces
  • Burn ointment and Band-Aids. New cooks tend to give themselves a lot of minor burns and cuts

No doubt other people will add to this list and may even question some of my items.

I went for a list that would give you most of the tools that you would need to handle anything inside of a standard North American cookbook.

Good luck!

A good cooks knife, spend as much as you can afford , go to a kitchen specialty store, try a few out and see what feels good. I bought myself a Victorinox back in 1992 and paid what was an astonishing amount of money ( for me anyway) of $ 80.

Good saucepans, nice heavy ones. My mother bought me a set when I moved out of home in 1993 and 25 years later I still have them and use them every day.

A plastic cutting board and a wooden one. The plastic one is for meat , the wooden one for everthing else.

A really good, basic cookbook. I highly recommend "The Cooks Book of Everything" by Lulu Grimes. Not only is it full of great tips but there are recipes for just about everything in there!

Basic tools, I would say, include a decent chef's knife, a smaller paring / deboning knife and a couple of utility knives. one or two thick, wooden cutting blocks (preferably end grain like butcher's blocks), a couple of stainless steel pans for sauces, rice, etc., a good, heavy skillet or frying pan, and a wok. Measuring cups, etc., are perhaps needed at first, but you soon learn to eyeball quantities.

A good collection of herbs and spices helps, but start off with salt, celery-salt, pepper (black and white), rosemary, tijm, chili-powder, paprika powder, cloves, curcuma and 5-spice (adjust that list according to the direction you want your cooking to take).

As you become more familiar with cooking techniques and flavour balancing, you'll want to expand your tool-kit and your ‘flavour library'. Take it step-by-step. It's a looong, interesting, sometimes exciting learning curve, and it's fun too. (my wife wouldn't agree, which is why I do the cooking at home) ;-)

I don't know what you mean by "long forgotten art of cooking"? I personally work with two chefs whose work could definitely be called art. Not just in how it looks, but in how it tastses. It would seem to me that you are pretty unfamiliar with the culinary worls if you really think that.

Kitchen tools are pretty much common sense. Anything special you need, you will discover as you try different things.

What you will really need is to begin to learn the science behind taste, flavor profiles, and basic chemistry of cooking. This can be obtained through endless online resources as well culinary school texts.

In essence there are two types of cooks: the one who can follow directly with recipes and the one who can do whatever magic in the kitchen and makes it taste good.

These are what I would get: a frying pan, a pot (medium size), mixing bowl, a pairing knife, a cleaver, a bread knife, a whetstone, a glass pyrex dish, and a baking pan.

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