How To Set Up Your First Kitchen So You Can Finally Feed Yourself Like An Adult  

Video: Don’t know how to plunge a toilet? Still taping Scarface posters to your wall? Not sure whether that shirt really needs to be washed or if it can last another few days? We’ve been there, and we’re here for you. This is Lifehacker’s Adulting series, where we’ll guide you through some real-world basics to help you take charge of your life. Now clear away those beer pong cups — we have work to do.

In this episode, we cover how to equip your first kitchen.

Cooking essentials

  • Chef’s knife (10 or 25cm)
  • Cutting board
  • Pan (something in the 30cm range)
  • Sheet pan
  • Spatulas
  • Can opener
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Colander

Non-cooking tools

  • Silverware for four
  • Sponge and dishwashing liquid
  • Garbage bags
  • Fire extinguisher (make sure to check the expiration date!)

Some grocery shopping tips

  • A rotisserie chicken can give you a variety of meals throughout the week.
  • Foods that can get you out of an energy slump include oatmeal, bananas, yoghurt, cereal and almonds.
  • You can spruce up a jar of plain tomato sauce with your own fresh herbs, chilli flakes or red wine.
  • Don’t forget about spices. Some that are always worth having around: Salt, pepper, cinnamon, cayenne and dried oregano.

In the next episode, we’ll talk about basic home decorating.


  • One thing I would suggest in hindsight. Buy as good a frying pan as you can afford. Its worth the extra cost to get one that isn’t a cheap Woolies job. Saucepans, can get away with the $10 junk they sell and replace em if you break/burn em, but a frying pan is a different matter.

    A good cast iron pan will repay itself over and over, and is something you really cant break. If your family wants to get you a housewarming present, get them to pitch in and spend $100 on one.

    Apart from that, a good set of knives really helps as well, though just the chefs knife is enough to start. Again, get as good as you can afford, along with a sharpener.

    Some grocery tips. Pasta, potato, and rice are effectively interchangeable, so use the fact they’re all carbs to mix meals up. Bolognaise on mashed potato for example is a far different dish to serving with spaghetti. And delicious.

    Many cheaper tins of products like tomato or baked beans are great to add to dishes to flesh them out (I put a tin of beans into my bolognaise for example) so they last an extra meal or two. Finally, a $4 soup starter pack, with a diced up steak or chicken breast, can feed you for 3 or 4 days for not much cost.

    Oh, and grow a chili bush for a near never ending supply of chili’s. They spice up many a meal, and are always nice to have on hand. Every place should have one.

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