home for your
Back to basics
Real Success Stories.
Real Costco® Members.
How to equip a small kitchen
Member since 2003
By Steve Fisher
AFTER RAISING A FAMILY, and having
lived in a succession of houses, I woke up one
day to find myself in a small condo that resembled my old dorm room. This especially hit
home when I walked into my tiny kitchen. I
have “toys” and gadgets, yet I still don’t seem to
have the tools I need to exercise my inner gourmet, who has been masquerading as a short-order cook and microwaver extraordinaire.
I wondered, “What should a well-equipped
tiny kitchen really have in it?” So I turned to
an expert on the subject, Jessica Goldbogen
Harlan, a freelance food writer and trained
chef, who writes regularly as About.com’s
cooking equipment expert.
“People often don’t consider what and
how they cook, but instead buy what they
think every kitchen should have,” Harlan, a
Costco member in Atlanta, says. “Think about
how many people you usually cook for and
what type of foods you cook, and use that
knowledge as your guide to outfitting your
kitchen. If you think you might entertain
occasionally, or if there’s a chance you might
add to your family in a few years, take that into
consideration when choosing appliances and
cookware that come in different sizes.”
I ask about the most important factors
when selecting a small appliance. “When it
comes to small appliances, brand truly does
matter,” she asserts. “Certain manufacturers
are just known for certain things [e.g.,
KitchenAid is synonymous with stand mixers,
and Cuisinart pioneered the food processor].
“With small appliances such as food processors, blenders and stand mixers, power is
an important factor—you want the highest-powered item you can afford. Think about
add-on features and whether they’re worth the
extra money. Pricier slow cookers have programmable timers and automatic keep-warm
functions, or more expensive rice cookers and
bread machines have settings to make a wider
variety of foods. These types of features make
your appliance more versatile and useful, but
if you don’t think you’ll ever use them, there’s
no reason to pay extra.”
I ask Harlan, “If you could have only five
small appliances in your kitchen, what would
they be?” She replies, “I’d choose a food pro-
cessor with a small chopper bowl, a counter-
top grill with interchangeable griddle plates,
a KitchenAid stand mixer, a rice cooker that
has a slow cooker function [or just a slow
cooker], and a super-powerful blender like
I share this list with Costco small-appliance
buyer Shannon Axthelm, who asks, “What
about a coffee maker?” OK, six appliances.
Of course, not everything in a well-equipped kitchen is electric. “Every kitchen
should have well-maintained kitchen knives—
you really only need a chef’s knife or santoku
knife, a smaller paring or utility knife, a long
serrated knife and kitchen shears—and a
wooden or bamboo cutting board,” Harlan
says. “You’ll need a small set of cookware that
includes a small and large nonstick skillet, a
2- or 3-quart saucepan and a Dutch oven or
stockpot, all with lids. A rectangular casserole
dish that can serve as a roasting and baking
pan would be helpful, as would a baking sheet.
“You’ll also need a set of mixing bowls—
ones with lids can double as storage containers—measuring cups and spoons, and
utensils like a can/bottle opener, a whisk, a
wooden spoon and a turning spatula. A colander, a multi-sided grater and a stovetop
grill/griddle would nicely round out a very
basic kitchen setup.” C
The Costco Connection
You’ll find iconic brands of small appliances—
Crock-Pot, Waring, KItchenAid and Oster—
as well as non-electric items for the kitchen
at Costco warehouses and on Costco.com,
many with extra features at no extra cost.
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WAREHOUSE/ COSTCO.COM | AVAILABLE NOW
OCTOBER 2011 ;e Costco Connection 53