Living Solo: Building Up Your Own Kitchen

Notes on Bachelor Living and Living Solo by Renzie Baluyut.

One of the most pressing concerns when you’ve started living on your own is resolving the issue of food.  Your best option would be to cook your own food, as much as you possibly can, though you can just as easily just go out for dinner, or call in some home delivery.

But in most days, cooking your own food will definitely be the way to go.  Cooking is still your best option to make the most out of your food allowance, and it allows you to build up some mad cooking skills.  With that comes the initiative of slowly building up your kitchen to the point of self-sufficiency: you can eventually make some nourishing and fulfilling meals and treats right in the comfort of your own home.

Getting there, however might take some time for the start-up bachelor.  So here’s a guide for those of you living solo to help you prioritize which kitchen implements to get as you build up your own kitchen.

The “Spartan Special” Scenario:

This scenario assumes that you don’t have an actual kitchen set-up.  It could mean you’ve just moved in to a new place, or that your current income level can’t allow you the luxury of having your own kitchen just yet, or maybe you’re in-between homes, or perhaps even staying in a dormitory for college.

This scenario entails virtually no kitchen to speak of.  No counters, no food preparation areas, and no heavy-duty kitchen appliances.  Just a few free spaces where you can put the most basic, but still very important, implements for putting food on your table.

Still, these are the basics for anyone living solo.  Simply put, if all your best kitchen equipment break down, at least you got these babies around to come through for you.

The trusty toaster oven isnt only for warming up your bread and pastries.  In the hands of a truly competent bachelor, you can even roast and bake stuff.
The trusty toaster oven isn’t only for warming up your bread and pastries. In the hands of a truly competent bachelor, you can even roast and bake stuff.

The Essentials

  • The Can Opener.  Not all cans come with easy-open lids.  Every sensible bachelor should have a good can opener.  You should pick a sturdy can opener for yourself- so next time you’re staring down a can of tuna or Chef Boyardee for dinner, you can actually break the damned tin open.
  • The Electric Kettle.  You’d want to have some hot water handy.  Particularly so if your diet consists mainly of instant noodles and instant oatmeal.
  • The Toaster/ Toaster Oven.  Another kitchen essential for bachelors.  At the very least, you’ll be using it to warm up your bread, thus enabling you to make slightly better sandwiches.  Or toast, if that’s just your thing.  You can also roast and bake on this thing, just make sure you don’t make a big mess– cleaning up a toaster oven can be quite a challenge.
The rice cooker is an important piece in just about every Asian household.  Cooks rice, steams dimsum, and can even make some great stews if youre good.
The rice cooker is an important piece in just about every Asian household. Cooks rice, steams dimsum, and can even make some great stews if you’re good.
  • The Rice Cooker.  Truly an important piece of kitchen equipment for the Asian bachelor.  With this you can now have hot meals, with a serving of steaming rice that works great even with a can of sardines, or some meat dish you brought home after work.  Many new rice cooker models now come with accessories that can let you steam food– whether meats, dumplings, veggies or dimsum.
  • The Coffee Maker.  While the electric kettle will allow you to have hot water for your instant coffee packs or your Swiss Miss drinks, some people might prefer an actual coffee maker.  This allows you to get better varieties of beans and therefore come up with better quality coffee.  If coffee indeed is your thing.
  • The Personal Fridge.  We’re talking about small-sized 3.5 cubic feet models that’s probably great if you’re just cooling your own drinks and some chillables like deli products, or white wine or ice cream.  Great if you’re just starting out, but you’ll eventually want a bigger one as you get a better kitchen (or even a bigger family).  Still, it’s handy to have one of these around in the comfort of your own bedroom or entertainment den if you can afford to do so later on.

Building Up the Basic Kitchen.

With greater fridge space comes greater responsibility.  Keep the contents of your fridge organized as well.
With greater fridge space comes greater responsibility. Keep the contents of your fridge organized as well.  Throw out stuff you don’t need anymore so you can make room for more- uh- stuff.

Later on as you move out of your college dormitory and find a better place for yourself, you’ll probably want to seriously consider investing in a kitchen.  A good enough kitchen not only makes you fresh home-cooked meals, but it also provides a channel for you to get creative and build up your cooking and food preparation skills.

Make sure you have lots of counters for food preparation areas, access to clean running water, and adequate space for these things:

  • The Stove.  You can start out with a one- or even a two-burner stove: just enough to handle a couple of pots working at the same time.  Having a stove finally enables you to do some real cooking– whether you’re frying an egg or making some Chicken Parmigiana or kickass Beef Stew.  Of course, you’ll need some access to gas, or at least more electricity, depending on your pad.
  • The Fridge.  Having a fridge enables you to keep food fresh longer.  Which means you can now take trips to the groceries and buy ingredients for a whole several days’ worth of cooking.  You can also keep your beverages cold, have better treats at home, and even store leftovers.
  • The Microwave Oven.  This works best with your stove and fridge in that it maximizes your cooking efforts.  You can now prepare larger batches of food, store them, and just reheat for future dinners– a real time-saver if you ask me.  More skilled bachelors can also cook with microwaves, almost just as well as an actual stove.
Microwave ovens are great time-savers.  Be careful what you put in it though.
Microwave ovens are great time-savers. Be careful what you put in it though.
  • The Blender/ Food Processor.  You’ll probably want to invest in one of these later on, and it’s great for making anything from soups, to fruit-shakes.  Great if you’re also baking as it helps fold in ingredients and saves you a lot of time.
  • The Oven.  Having one around helps build up your baking skills.  Now you can make some pie, all kinds of cakes and pastries, and even roasts and better meat & poultry dishes.
  • The Grill.  Whether it’s an indoor- or an outdoor-type of grill, having one around makes for great variety, also allowing you to host cookouts and barbecues.  You can also use this baby to help perfect cooking your steaks and ribs.

Beefing Up the Basic Kitchen.

You really don’t need much beyond what I’ve already mentioned above.  Beefing up a bachelor’s kitchen only means larger, more specialized equipment: like the freezer that can hold three weeks’ worth of meat products, a larger oven to roast even larger dishes of food, or an espresso machine for some really good coffee.

Beyond the basic kitchen, all you need really is more room to move around, more food preparation counters, better implements (like knives and baking equipment), and improved food storage.  Usually this all makes sense when you have more people living with you (like a wife and kids), which also usually means you’re not living solo anymore by this point.

Hope this post helps.

Cheers, everyone!

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2 thoughts on “Living Solo: Building Up Your Own Kitchen

  1. a great appliance to have would be those induction stove with free stainless pot. it takes the place of a burner and a pot. You can stew, make rice, saute, boil, and warm your left overs. We bought one for 1,800 pesos and we make shabu shabu in it. Its great fun.

  2. yeah I believe that living solo has a lot of things to be consider. Specially bachelors who want life outside their moms care hehehe.. nway this blog has been informative especially to those bachelors who is planning to live by themselves. Men dont usually like to cook and living solo makes them cool even for themself only. Besides fastfood is not as good as foor from Home. 🙂

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