another code blog

A college student's kitchen survival kit

Since moving out on my own there have been a few pieces of kitchenware that have become indispensable to me. From making coffee in the morning to cooking dinner, these are the things that I would buy again in a heartbeat if I were starting over.

Cast-iron pan

I picked mine up at Target for around $25. Cheaper versions abound, and should be relatively easy to find at a garage sale or similar. It's been a fantastic investment, and I use it for almost every bit of cooking I do. It's easy to clean and easy to cook with, partly due to the predictable heating cycle.

Rice cooker

I'd never used a rice cooker before moving out, but one of my first roommates used his all the time. When I moved to my current apartment it was one of the first things I bought. Mine cost $40, and I don't recommend paying much more than that unless you know why you're doing so.

A $20 bag of rice lasts me close to 4 months, and it's one of the easiest parts of a meal to make. The cooker can keep it warm for ~12 hours (there's technically no upper limit as far as I'm aware, but my ex-roommate cautioned me against keeping it warm for longer than that), and you can always put it in the fridge for lunch the next day.

French press (or an aeropress)

I own and use a French press for making coffee. It's just about the easiest way of making coffee, and it's infinitely more sustainable (both economically and environmentally) than the Keurig pods.

Many coffee fanatics will claim that an AeroPress produces a better cup, but the fiddliness associated with it is not worth it to me. If getting the best brew matters to you, you can invest in both an AeroPress and a decent grinder.

Electric kettle

I've got a nondescript red electric kettle that I use for boiling water for coffee, tea, and pasta. It's not a huge part of my day, but I can't imagine living without one.

Food storage containers

I have these containers for food storage. They're glass, which means they don't bend or morph in the dishwasher. The lids have a satisfying click when attached and the base can be put in the microwave with no worries about chemicals leaking into the foods.

I don't have any real preference for a specific brand. Anything that offers tempered glass and snap lids is probably going to do a great job.

As a baseline, I only end up using about 4 or 5 of these on a regular basis. If you can find someone to split a full set with it becomes a lot more financially reasonable.


I use this almost every time I cook. If I don't, it's because it's in the dishwasher. In fact, I'm ordering a second right now.


This is one of the few cookbooks I own. It's absolutely fantastic as it contains not just a set of recipes, but a set of cooking guidelines. It includes gems like making your own pesto, essentials like how to make hardboiled eggs, and important ones like how to sear a steak. This is my go-to gift for people moving out for the first time.


This really is my core setup. Almost all of these things get used every day, and if I had to start my kitchen over I'd buy every one of these first.