From graduation and Father’s Day celebrations to weekend barbecues and patriotic potlucks, summer is chock full of family, friends, fun, and, of course, food! Which is why having the proper tools and equipment to prepare and serve food during this time of the year is necessary.
To help you kick start a great summer gathering, here is a list of my top ten recommended must have kitchen essentials.
- Sharp knives. In my opinion, a set of well-constructed, very sharp knives is the most important kitchen essential for summer and beyond. Without high quality knives, food prep and presentation would be very difficult!
- Stainless steel cookware. As a former informally trained chef, I am very partial to stainless steel cookware! It cooks food evenly and thoroughly, making it perfectly delicious. For this reason, I believe that a great set of stainless steel cookware is a must in every kitchen.
- Barbecue grill. What’s summer without moist, luscious steaks and burgers cooked up on the grill? Opt for a high-quality grill that combines the convenience of gas if you’d like, but also offers the option of using charcoal to ensure your meat has that familiar outdoorsy flavor.
- Grilling utensils. Opt for a set of handy grilling utensils with long handles. The long handles make it easier to reach across the grill to flip or remove food without getting your arms burned. Plus, having a set of utensils that are used specifically for grilling prevents your regular kitchen utensils from being misplaced.
- Cutting boards. Purchase sturdy, easy-to-sterilize cutting boards. I’d suggest buying at least five that you can easily tell apart (for example, five different colors). Use one solely for cutting raw beef, one for cutting up raw chicken or pork, a third for cutting up raw seafood, another for cutting up cooked meat, and the last for chopping up veggies and fruits. Using a different cutting board for each of these purposes significantly reduces the risk of cross contamination (which is important especially when feeding a crowd).
- Pizza stone. Pizza is an easy, inexpensive item to serve to a crowd. And most people love pizza–especially if it’s homemade! So having a high-quality pizza stone to create a masterful pizza pie for your summer gatherings is a definite necessity.
- Ice cream maker. What’s better than homemade pizza? Homemade ice cream of course! An old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker is a favorite for many large gatherings because those attending take turns to churn the creamy treat. But if you’d rather just let your guests relax, an electric ice cream maker can be purchased for a very reasonable prize.
- Beverage cooler. Get a big, spacious beverage cooler that has ample room for lots of ice and lots of drinks. On a hot summer’s day, you want to ensure there are plenty of beverage options for your guests so they remain sufficiently hydrated.
- Roasting sticks. Whether for toasting marshmallows or roasting hot dogs, extra long roasting sticks come in very handy during summer parties when socializing around the fire pit.
- Serving supplies. From platters and bowls to serving utensils and napkins, having visually appealing, not-too-expensive serving supplies is helpful for setting the atmosphere of the gathering as well as contributing to the convenience.