Having the right tools for any job is a must. A carpenter has to have a hammer, a landscaper has to have a mower, a CPA has to have a pencil and a cook has to have the tools needed to cook a good meal too.
All recipes call for measuring, cutting, mixing and using some kind of tool. You can't just dump a little flour, eggs and some milk in a bowl and come up with a cake now can you. So, I'm going to try and list some of the basic things you might need to set up in your kitchen to start you off for food preparation.
It is important to have one set of dry measuring cups and one set for liquid measuring. These are not interchangeable.
For dry measure a set of graduated cups are best, 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and 1-cup. These should be filled and then leveled off with the a flat edged knife. These are the only types that will give you an accurate measure for flour and other dry ingredients.
For wet measures, a set of cups that are made of see through material so you can read the measure at eye level. You'll need, 1-cup, 2-cup and 4-cup.
A set of measuring spoons shaped so they can be leveled of with a knife. 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 teaspoon and 1-tablespoon are the standard sizes.
#3... A ruler.
A ruler is a good to have for measuring the size of pastry shapes and for measuring pans.
The most common and least expensive is the meat thermometer. Insert in meat through out the cooking process.
A candy/flying thermometer is important for measuring how hot syrup or fat may be.
A timer is an absolutely necessary in the kitchen. If your stove doesn't have a built in one get a free standing one.
You will need mixing bowls in at least 3 different sizes. Stainless, glass or plastic are all fine.
Your chopping board should be thick, solid and large. Although, for quick chopping a smaller one comes in very handy.
Whether you use stainless steel or carbon steel is up to you. Stainless will not rust, and are easy to keep shiny, but carbon steel will hold an edge better and are preferred by many cooks.
You will need an 8 or 9-inch chef knife, a paring knife, a bread knife with a serrated edge, and a craving knife.
An ordinary whetting or sharpening stone does the best job.
This is needed for peeling fruits and vegetables.
#11...Electric Mixer and Rotary egg beater.
Why a rotary, what if your electric one stops working in the middle of beating, or you just want to save power.
Both a small and large one will come in handy.
Get a four sided, standing grater. Even if you have a food processor, which grates most things well, a hand grater will come in handy often.
Good for draining many things, including pasta.
This will help cut thin strips of rind from fruits, like lemon, lime and oranges.
You may not use it often, but you'll be surprised how convenient it is to weigh rather than measure some things.
This tool helps to tenderize and thin out pieces of meat and poultry.
Not essential, but to scoop out balls of melon and other fruits you'll use it. It also can be used to make potato balls. A different shape for french fries. Kids love 'hem...
Mixing spoons, wooden or stainless.
These come in handy for cleaning batter from the bowl, as well as getting the last of the mayonnaise or peanut butter from a jar.