When my husband and I got engaged, I’m pretty sure the first thing I did after saying “Yes!” was start an online wedding registry. I’m not ashamed to admit it (gift lovers, unite!). I couldn’t wait to start dreaming about the space I wanted to create for us. I probably spent hours reading reviews online on the best tools for my kitchen, in particular, and I want to share with you some of my discoveries.
For the most part, I recommend putting things on your registry that you know you'll use. That sounds obvious. But in our case, for example, we put some beautiful bar items on our registry that we really don’t use. I like to pretend that I’m the type to make a fancy cocktail at the end of the day, but in reality I drink a cup of tea or maybe a glass of red wine. So that cute copper cocktail shaker that caught my eye? It sits lonely and rejected in our cupboard.
There are long lists of items that could be considered kitchen essentials and everyone differs in their cooking needs, but these are a few that come to mind as what has been most useful in my own kitchen (besides the obvious, like dinner plates or silverware):
A set of mixing bowls: This is a must for a basic kitchen. I find it especially helpful to register for mixing bowls that can double as serving ware . Kitchen stores usually have sets in different sizes that are beautiful, yet also functional.
A slow cooker: Appliances are one of those controversial kitchen topics where people argue about which are necessary. In my opinion, however, a slow cooker is a must-have. Ours is constantly used, whether to cook a batch of shredded chicken or make a soup. It’s great during hot summer months because you don’t have to turn on the oven, and as your family grows and life gets busier, a slow cooker is perfect for life on the go. I love being able to throw in a bunch of ingredients in the morning and call it done.
Various table accessories: A small handful of beautiful items, like cloth napkins, candles, and marble serving ware, to dress up your table with is a great way to avoid needing to register for a whole set of china. We chose a set of white dinnerware at Crate & Barrel (this set, to be exact), and I use our accessories to set our table for a dinner party. It works great, and simplifies your cupboards.
Chef’s Knife: A good chef’s knife is a must, along with a paring knife and kitchen shears. I did a lot of research on knives, and found that Victorinox is an extremely high quality brand, but more economical than the popular--and pricey--Wüsthof line. This knife can’t be beat for quality and price.
Dutch oven: A Dutch oven is versatile and can transfer from stove to oven to table. It’s perfect for making stews, browning meat, and baking delicious bread. Le Creuset is the name brand winner for Dutch ovens, but the reality is that more economical options can also be great. A few years ago, my dad got me a $25 Dutch oven from Menards (the land of random finds) that gets the job done.
Baking sheets: Don’t bother registering for cookie sheets! Instead, I recommend choosing baking sheets in a variety of sizes, and you'll be good to go. Unlike aluminum cookie sheets, baking sheets are usually higher quality commercial-grade steel and will never warp on you. Also, using them to create easy one-pan dinners has become a staple in our household.
Stainless steel pans: I recommend registering for a few really nice pans. These will last you forever; typically, higher-cost brands such as All Clad have lifetime guarantees on their cooking ware. Register for at least a frying pan, 4-quart saucepan, and larger sauté pan.
I'd love to hear your kitchen registry suggestions, too. What have been the most-used or most helpful items on your registry?
About the Author: Aubry Rose Haben is sassy wife to Max, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants mama to little Pascal Jude, and general lover of all things impractical and cute. She currently lives in the Washington DC area with her filmmaker husband, awaiting the next adventure God throws their way.