By Lori Trepasso
When you’re registering for wedding gifts or sharing “wish lists” with friends and family before the wedding, it’s tempting to want everything a kitchen can hold, and then some!
But what items will you really need and use after the I do’s are said?
“I always encourage (couples-to-be) to focus on the real “work-horses” of their kitchen such as knives, cutting boards, and cookware,” says Gina Gramarosso, a team leader in Naperville, Ill., for The Pampered Chef.
“There are very few meals that are prepared without cutting or chopping!”
Investing in high-quality knives makes kitchen work more time efficient and safe.
“A high-quality knife makes meal preparation go so much faster, and a sharp knife is actually safer than a dull one,” says Gramarosso.
When choosing a cutting board, size and material can make a difference.
“Avoid glass or wooden cutting boards and (instead) use ones made of materials such as poly-urethane,” says Gramarosso.
“Glass boards can dull and damage your knife blades, and wooden boards can absorb liquids and food particles.”
Gramarosso recommends investing in a large, grooved cutting board that can hold a lot of liquid for large jobs like cutting a watermelon or slicing a large roast.
Color coded cutting boards (i.e., green for vegetables, yellow for fruit, red for meats) are also popular choices.
Cookware is the most important choice when stocking a new kitchen.
“Quality cookware (pots and pans) makes all of your dishes turn out better because it cooks the food evenly and makes clean up much quicker,” says Gramarosso.
Some other “must haves” for the newlywed kitchen include:
measuring cups and spoons
prep bowls with lids
scrapers in all shapes and sizes
specialty cutting tools such as a vegetable peeler, zester, and food chopper
New trends for the kitchen are items that are both functional and attractive such as glass containers, bamboo serving pieces and towels, and ‘cool and serve trays’ complete with ice inserts to keep veggies and dips cold.
So, once you accumulate a fabulous array of kitchen items and gadgets, how do you store them and keep them organized?
“If you use the item every day, keep it close at hand such as on the counter or in a nearby cabinet,” says Cathy Dietl, a professional organizer. “If you only use the item periodically, store it in an out of the way place like the top of your pantry or in a nearby closet.
Dietl also recommends purging your collection of kitchen gadgets periodically.
“Get rid of things that you really don’t use or that you have duplicates of as that’s what can really add to the clutter,” says Dietl.
A counter-top caddy can help keep a kitchen organized and minimize clutter as well.
“Register for, or invest in, a nice counter-top caddy for kitchen gadgets and tools,” says Gramarosso. “Ten years down the road, you can turn that old kitchen caddy into an art supply caddy for your kids! 0They are great for holding pencils, rulers, scissors, and markers.”
The kitchen pantry often becomes a ‘catch-all’ for all types of items and can easily become disorganized.
“I recommend using storage bins in the pantry, and storing like items together,” says Dietl.
Like the gadget drawer, the pantry needs to be cleaned out frequently.
“I recommend that people scan through their pantry about every three months and throw out old or expired items,” says Dietl. “Then, about every six months, go through and give it a thorough cleaning.”
Saving original containers for larger items can help with storage issues as well.
“Keep the original boxes for larger serving pieces and appliances because it keeps them dust free and makes them easier to stack in extra closets,” says Gramarosso.