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Colin's Kitchen Quandry

Colin is starting to cook at school, though he doesn't have regular access to a kitchen, or own much of any cooking equipment.  (He recently bought some saucepans, a skillet and a baking sheet at a tag sale, and is starting to acquire staples like olive oil, salt and flour as he cooks.  Intrepid guy!)  What are the five basic elements you think he needs in order to cook a wide variety of dishes?  These should be reasonably inexpensive, since he's a college student and strapped for cash, they must be portable, and ideally should not take up much space, as he's limited to one dorm room at the moment, and must store all his household goods in a few boxes over the summer.
Please post comments on this page, or e-mail us at with your suggested shopping list.  The best list will be featured on this page—and so will the oddest one.  And we'll add your items to Colin's kitchen wish list.
Of course if you want to make Colin a better cook right away, you can buy him one or more of the items on his list...


  1. 5 basic elements? How about 5 more more abstract ones too. Here we go: my suggestion for basic elements would be a cutting board, measuring cup and spoons, chef's knife,pot, frying pan. Guess that's 5 already....

    And 5 more for the abstract realm I would say I know Colin and he's well supplied with: love of good food, joy of cooking, fast thinker, creative, and
    can cope with all the attention heaped on the cook! Bravo for any and all college cooking achievements.

  2. Here's what I think is essential that he doesn't have alread:

    garlic press
    measuring cups and
    measuring spoons
    dish soap

    All small, all fairly essential, and especially the dish soap. Could probably buy all of it for under $20, under $10 if you go the tag sale route

    Don't forget the cleaning up part (this is your mother talking after all)

  3. I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. .
    Kitchen Equipment


Let us know what you think, add your own recipes, etc.