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Basic Kitchen

We think of the kitchen as the heart of a home, because it often is the busiest, most constantly used space. Setting it up so it works for you is a fundamental life skill. 

Audio Only Version

EP-13 Basic KitchenLife Admin
00:00 / 47:14

Show Notes & Helpful Links

Set the table

So what are we talking about when we say Basic Kitchen?  Are we going to get mad skills like Gordon Ramsey? Or is this more like running a kitchen?

Running a kitchen.


  • Like the mad skills, needs practice to habit. 

  • Can’t really use the mad Ramsey skills if you don’t know how to run a kitchen. [Clipper story about Chef.]


Segment 1: Equipment


Ryan:  So what are the major areas that we are going to be focused on? 

  • Food storage, pre and post cooking; food prep, food cooking, and service


Ryan:  Let’s talk about must have equipment? 100% you need to have these things?




  • Food storage: pantry, fridge, assorted air tight containers for dry and bulk goods. [Houston humidity]; leftover storage. I tend to reuse takeout containers, the black with the clear lids, or I have the glass ones because totally see through, which is imperative. 

  • Food prep: Stock pot, omelet pan (non stick), —sets might be the cost effective option rather than individual pans, but get one of the smaller sets—a cast iron skillet, jelly roll sheet or two, pie or casserole dish that’s oven safe, chef’s knife, paring knife, serrated knife, couple of spoons/spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, strainer

  • Service: number in household +4 of dinner plates, salad bowls, utensil place settings, couple of serving spoons and a ladle

  • I’m an Alton Brown acolyte, only unitasker in the kitchen is a fire extinguisher.  (His show starts again in August or September.)



Ryan:  Now that you have “must haves” how about “would like to haves”?


Leslie: Highly dependent on your household and what you cook


  • Accomplished chef: so many more things, but no unitaskers. And aspiring intermediate chef’s can figure that out as they learn.

  • Cook lots of stews? Another stock pot or two or maybe one of those new pressure cookers

  • Bakers need bread pans, pie pans, muffin pans

  • Prefer eating bowl meals, then more and more variety of bowls for serving

  • Families with babies/toddlers: a stick blender



Segment 2: Shopping and scheduling


Ryan:  Is there a best way day to go shopping or is it more whatever


Leslie: Again highly dependent on household


  • Two shopping days a week ideal. One big shop and one produce, catch all, which assumes a meal plan of some sort. See mini cast.

  • Delivery is great in many circumstances. [London example] Accomplished cooks often like to pick out themselves. Can do basics for delivery. I’m tending to one big delivery of staples and one shop for pref items like meat and produce.

Ryan: How many meals should you prep at a time?  What about Make ahead Monday?  Is it worth it?


Leslie: Again, family dependent. 


  • I do think a cooking ahead day is a great idea. Still assumes a meal plan and as family grows and gets older, need more flexibility.

  • Prep ahead freezer meals, better than just plan prep and reheat. Only 3-4 days out

  • My menu planning: 5 meals a week, allowing for leftovers, eating out. Cycles, etc. 


Ryan: Shopping Tips or Best Practices? 




  • If an option to go mid morning or mid afternoon, take it. Much less crowded

  • Two days

  • Leverage delivery or staple supply runs. Can easily do those once a month. Think tp, paper towels, cleaning supplies. Can set up Amazon Subscribe and save and align with when the task needs doing but less convenient than expected. [See later episode on subscription services.]. Think air and water filters—Built in to do notification and makes your weekly runs less bulky

  • Quick hack: make your pharmacy your grocery—unless already have a relationship with current pharm or need 24 hour regularly. Two errands one place. 


Segment 3: Cleaning


Ryan:  Always the worst part for me…. It’s the main reason I don’t like to cook.  Talk to me more about one pot meals?




  • More practice, better at one pot meals. Best Receipes books I link to has a skillet book. Stews are great options. Homemade ramen, salads, egg dishes. Chopping board and a pan kind of meals.

  • Can switch off. Cook or clean. 


Ryan:  I’ve heard it said to clean as you go?  Are there any tips to help in that area


Leslie: Practice Mise en place. See it in all the cooking shows


  • Do all your measuring and prep before start cooking. Then can also put away ingredients and prep bowls and boards before starting cooking. So all that’s left at the end is the pan and the dishes.

  • Also nicer to eat in tidy kitchen. 



Ryan:  What are things in the kitchen do we need to be cleaning for daily? Weekly, Monthly?




  • AP cleaner. Can get specific for different surfaces. Preference trumped by whether it gets clean. Dish soap, DW and hand. Hand soap. 

  • Cooking surfaces need at least daily

  • Countertops need multiple times a day

  • Sink at least every night

  • Weekly: fridge 

  • Monthly: pantry, high use drawers, 

  • Couple times a year: oven, dishwasher (run on empty, a few times with descaler) 



​Helpful Links


PDFs coming soon for subscribers: Basic shopping lists; meal plan example

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