So when my husband and I had been married, like, 2 years or something, we had some friends who were celebrating their sixth or seventh wedding anniversary and they were going to lunch. And we swore that we would never be those people who went to lunch for their wedding anniversary.
Next week, we’re celebrating our 13th anniversary. 13 big ones. And we have no immediate plans. We will probably go to lunch or get take-out or something and watch a DVRed episode of Suburgatory or something between dance recitals and third grade graduations. Kidding. Kind of.
All lack of pomp and circumstance aside, it’s fun to reminisce about our wedding day and it’s also fun to imagine that for 13th wedding anniversaries, you get all new stuff because everything you’ve been using for the last 13 years has been destroyed.
Since we’re in the middle of wedding season (or at least getting there), I put together a list of the things that I absolutely cannot live without in the kitchen, things that if you’re setting up your first kitchen or you know someone who is, you’ll definitely want. These are not the sexiest kitchen items out there–there are no ice cream makers or Silpat mats or KitchenAid mixers or adorable measuring cups. But if the zombie apocalpyse were to strike, these are the things that would get me through. Pretty much all of these are under $30, so you don’t even have to break the bank!
1. French Rolling Pin. Everybody needs a rolling pin. I like French rolling pins because they have tapered edges that are great for helping you shape doughs, they’re easy to clean, they’re lightweight, they fit in just about any moving box if you try hard enough, and they’re impossible to break. Well, maybe not impossible, but you’d have to try really hard. $11.97 at Amazon.
2. Ikea Cheese Grater. My husband and I got this cheese grater at Ikea right after we got married and we still have it. Same one. We even have a big ol’ OXO box grater and I have a microplane and we have one of those rotary graters for Parmesan cheese, but this is the one I go back to 9 times out of 10. The sad news is that it’s only available in Ikea stores (or Amazon for, like, 3 times the price), so you either need to pay for it with your sanity and a meatball lunch, or you need to find someone to go and get one for you. And you know you can’t just go into Ikea for a single cheese grater–that, like, defies all the laws of Ikea. But your cheese grater portion of your bill will be $4.99.
3. 5-Quart Non-Stick Skillet. This single piece of equipment gets more use in my kitchen than anything else. I’m on my third or fourth one in 13 years. I don’t even really have a place to store it because I pretty much use it every day, so I wash it by hand, let it dry, and then I use it again. I use it for sauces, stir-fries, eggs, grilled cheese, even rice. The funny thing is that when we got married, we got a cookware set as well as one of these pans and I almost returned it because I thought it was too big and that I’d never use it, but I was so wrong and I’m so glad we kept it! This one is $19.99 from Amazon.
4. Nested Mixing Bowls. I also use these just about every day–they come in a variety of sizes and they’re virtually indestructible, plus they’re adorable. This set is $12.99 from Target.
5. Pyrex 2-Cup Glass Measuring Cup. I have a 1-cup. I have an 8-cup. I have a set of nesting silicone cups. But the 2 cup glass measuring cup is the one I keep coming back to–the silicone discolors and I’m not totally comfortable using it to boil liquids in the microwave (especially since things take on a funky taste.) I had a cheap knock-off for awhile, but it seemed to be made for lefties and the paint faded after not too long. It’s such a simple thing, but it gets a crazy amount of use in my kitchen! This is $4.23 from Amazon.
6. NordicWare Half Sheet Baking Sheet. I’ve mentioned these before, but I got 3 as a wedding gift and I can’t use anything else! They bake evenly and they’re perfect for sheet cakes or cookies or bacon. These ones are $10.97 from Amazon.
7. 6-Quart Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. This is my workhorse–I use it a few times a week and it’s still going strong after 5-6 years. I’ve found anything smaller than a 6 quart is too small for everyday use (for me) and anything bigger is too big. This is like the baby bear of slow cookers and is $29.98 from Amazon.
8. Chef’n Vegetable Peeler. I’ve mentioned this one before, too, but I love it too much and it’s too essential to leave it out! After hacking the heck out of my hands, fingers, and nails, this has saved me a few trips to the ER and it’s $6.99 on Amazon.
9. OXO 8″ Chef Knife. A knife set is great, but everyone needs a good, solid chef knife–you can get by with just one if you need to, and really, one good knife is better than 8 mediocre ones. This one isn’t super spendy, but it’s a good knife and a great bang for the buck at $19.99.
10. Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen & Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites. Everybody needs a good cookbook or two to get started. We might be a tiny bit biased, but our books are kind of a labor of love that started with our own newlywed days (to our husbands, not to each other). We’re not going to send you to the store for weird ingredients you’ll never use again and many of them are budget-friendly.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas for wedding gifts (or for yourself!) Happy Thursday!!
I’m coming up on 30 years of being married. Love the list. When our oldest daughter got married she knew what she wanted in her kitchen because mom had one in hers. Love your cookbooks too.
What food processor or blender do you use? I read about it once but can’t find it again. Thanks Peggy
A crock pot is a must have. They really are useful when you start having kids and both are working.
This is a great post about what everyone really needs! I wish I had put some of these things on my wedding registry.
I love the list! I must get one of those cheese graters, since I am sure that there are several reasons I need to go to Ikea, like, today. And that vegetable peeler has been on my amazon wish list since you mentioned it last time.
My absolute favorite favorite measuring cup is one I have from my grandfather’s dairy (from the 1940’s maybe?). It’s a clear glass, 2-cup one that has raised lines for the quarters on one side and the thirds on the other. I am terrified I am going to break it, but use it anyway since it’s the best one ever. 🙂
Love this post! 7 years here ( on June 23), and many of these are things I’ve bought lately for shower gifts due to them being my own personal must haves. I laugh that when I first got married, I got 4 slow cookers and returned them all ” I’ll NEVER use one if those), it might as well stay on my counter all the time for how much I use it! In winter for all the comforting soups etc and in summer so I don’t hear up my whole house!!!! Awesome post!!!
Most of all, I love giving out your cookbook! People joke that I should get a wholesale price on them haha
I’ve never seen that cheese grater before. I heart Ikea!
We got good knives when we got married and we still use them daily, almost 16 years later! And my cookie sheets get used almost as much.
I was just chatting with some friends today saying that I could use another bridal shower. You’d think after a decade of marriage we would have the money to replace everything but those student loans we were living off of when we first got married now have to be paid back! Maybe at 25 years…
I just got married in March but we didn’t have a registry because we didn’t need anything. This list is similar to what I initially bought when I moved out on my own (minus the cookbook because it wasn’t available yet.) 😉 Include a hand mixer in there for baking and you’ll be all set!
Great post. I think you convinced me to get the skillet and the baking sheets. I would LOVE to know your input on two things. One, a great set of kitchen knives and two, a set of pots and pans. We are in dire need of both! It’s been 11 years! Also, they have to be dishwasher safe. 😉 Thank you!!
Congratulations on your 13 years! Our 13th anniversary is this Saturday and the only thing we have planned is my son’s T-ball game in the afternoon. I love your list, those are all wonderfully useful things…especially #10. We love us some amazing OBB food. 🙂
Thank you for sharing, I love kitchen gadgets and dishes. Many of those I want to add to my kitchen. Pyrex is the only way, all of my other glass measuring cups have faded also.
Great timing. My desk is already covered in wedding announcements. Thanks for sharing 🙂
My 13th wedding anniversary is next week, too! As I got out my crockpot this morning, I had the thought, “After 13 years of use, it might be time to upgrade this bad boy.” The last couple of times I’ve used it, it hasn’t cooked very evenly and I think it only has one temperature setting now: high. Thanks for the suggestions!
I have 2 glass 2-cup measuring cups that have faded badly. A while ago I held them up to the light and made my own marks with a Sharpie, but those are fading now, too. I’ve bought a couple of plastic ones that break before the marks disappear. Does anyone make, say, etched glass cups, or use markings that don’t wash off?
Yes! I got so excited when I discovered the Pampered Chef mixing bowls. They have a smaller one and a larger one (though I think the small one is 4 cups, but still used ALL the time at my house!) and they are heavy duty glass that have the markings etched in the glass so they never fade! My favorite part is that they have lids. We use them all the time (and no, I don’t sell pampered chef, but their batter bowls are fabulous!). Shipping is overpriced in my opinion, but if you order with a friend it helps!
Great list! I have a 4-qt skillet that came with my cookwear set 17 years ago that I thought I would never use and it’s the most-used pan in my kitchen.
I went into IKEA for just that cheese grater and got just that. Can you even believe it? It happened, I swear.
My anchor 2 cup measuring cup is completely clear now. Seriously? What happened to the paint? so annoying. Must be time for a new one.
Did you hear Suburgatory got canceled? Lame.
This came at a perfect time!! Thanks!
Lol, Just celebrated our 13th in pretty much the exact same way. Happy Anniversary!!!
I have a whole bunch of friends getting married this summer….seeing as it has been 7 years since my own, this is a great budget-friendly list!
Happy Anniversary! I got married about a year and a half after you did. I have to look into those cute bowls.
Definitely not a newlywed, but still like your suggestions! Do you know how much the cheese grater holds?
I’m not Kate, but holds about 2 cups or 8 ounces of cheese. 🙂
I’m getting married next spring and already people have asked me about our registry! This will definitely help me get started 🙂 Thanks!
I love the cheese grater! It kind of matches my Caribbean Le Creuset habit, I mean, cookware that I can’t seem to stop buying. 🙂 I might need to make a “little” trip to ikea…
Happy Anniversary! I’m getting my wedding registry together, so this was really helpful. 🙂
We had quite a few must-haves in common. Here’s my list: http://twoforksonelove.com/five-for-friday-kitchen-basics-you-cant-live-without/
I’m a newlywed and I’ve got a pretty well-stocked kitchen, but there’s still a few things on the list I want. The grater is going on my “Ikea list” for when we visit my husband’s family this summer – there are none in my neck of the woods!
Congrats and what a fun list! I have never seen those peelers…I will have to invest. My poor fingers have been through a lot when it comes to peeling!
Happy 13 Years Kate! These things all look so fun. Believe it or not, I have left IKEA without buying anything! Sad when I can’t find what I’m looking for. I need some of those half baking sheets. They are so cute and I love at Orson Gygi they have lids!
WOW! I’m impressed! Did you make it out in less than 2 hours?! I’ll send you next time I need to go, haha!
Bonnie I could not agree more about the LIDS! Best thing ever!