Hours can be spent in cooking stores looking at all of the beautiful equipment on offer. Thousands of products are available, but what do you really need for most cooking applications?

This list reflects the essentials; equipment that will be frequently used and should be kept close at hand.  Of course, the more you cook the more equipment you will accumulate, but if you start by stocking your kitchen with these items you'll be well on your way to making just about any dish.

All of these items and more can be found in the foodell.com Kitchen Store.  The inventory was hand-picked by me and includes good quality tools that will help make cooking easier and more fun for you.  Happy cooking, happy shopping.

Next to your hands, your knives are your most important tools in the kitchen.  The three knives shown above are what I recommend as a starter set; most of your cutting needs will be met with these three knives.  Buy as good a quality as you can, take care of them, and they'll last a long, long time.

These measuring tools are likely all you'll ever need for cooking.  The digital scale seems like a splurge, but it comes in very handy when you are considering portion sizes, dividing ingredients, measuring in metric, multiplying recipe quantites, etc.

As I said above, these are what I consider essentials. There are many, many more choices for kitchen utensils, and chances are you'll end up with drawers full of spoons, spatulas and the like. It is often tempting to buy the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets as well, but if you have the above items on hand, you'll find that almost any job in the kitchen can be handled with ease.

A couple of items are worthy of mention.  First, I include the Pastry Scraper because it is indespensible in keeping your work area clean.  Use it to scrape up chopped ingredients to add to a pan, and then swoop up the trimmed bits that need to go in the trash.

Also, I included both plastic cutting boards and a wooden cutting board.  I use a large wooden cutting board for all vegetables and cooked meat.  It is easy on the knives and is the preferred cutting surface for most cooks.  The plastic cutting boards are perfect for raw meats and seafood.  You avoid cross contamination with other foods and then pop them in the dishwaser to make sure they are well sanitized for next time.

Cookware runs the gamut from low priced to very expensive.  Truth be told, some manufacturers have such excellent quality cookware, the high price is worth it since the pieces have the ability to last for generations.  In the foodell.com Kitchen Store we have selected cookware products in a range of prices to accommodate different budgets.  None of the pans are truly cheap; they are good value items that, if properly cared for, will last and last.

Baking pans come in a vareity of shapes, materials and sizes, but many of the pans can be used for multiple purposes.  The stoneware casserole dish, for example, can be used for crumbles and cobblers, as well as potatoes au gratin and roasted pork tenderloin.  Having a few sizes on hand ensures you'll have the right bakeware for the number of people you're cooking for.

If I were to prioritize the order in which to purchase the above applicances, I would suggest the mixer first (either model, depending on your budget), the blender second, and lastly the food processor.  This is because the first two items perform functions that just can't always be done by hand.  Having all three appliances will make your cooking more efficient, but the food processor can definitely wait.