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Shower young couples with kitchen basics
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Friends and family can help young newlyweds begin their lives together by stocking their kitchens with quality basics.
Marlana Walters, owner of The Everyday Gourmet on County Line Road in Jackson, said when the economy is hurting, quality becomes increasingly important, even if it costs more.
“Brides are becoming more selective and value-conscious. Quality items will last forever, and couples will be less likely to need to replace them,” Walters said. “Just remember that you do not have to have everything at once. Get the basics first.”
Consider the cook's personality when selecting wedding gifts. Walters said knowing the couple's tastes and storage situation also can impact gift decisions.
“Cookbooks are always popular. Most recipes call for 9-by-13 casserole dishes, so that is a popular, basic size for gifts,” she said. “All cooks need three basic, high-quality knives: a chef's knife, a paring knife and a boning knife.”
The store owner said slow cookers remain popular, especially for two-income families, and are available in many price ranges.
Brent Fountain, assistant professor and human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said new cooks need to establish a good foundation of kitchen accessories and equipment.
“When people have the right tools, they are more likely to cook at home. Home-cooked meals are usually less expensive and more nutritious than eating out,” he said.
Some of the basics Fountain recommended include measuring cups for dry and liquid needs, measuring spoons, mixing bowls, baking sheets, cooling racks and ceramic or glass baking dishes. Additionally, skillets and sauce pans for cooktops are helpful for beginners.
“A bimetallic stemmed thermometer is an ideal gift that can help ensure food is properly heated,” Fountain said. “Other small items that are must-haves include hand mixers, whisks and spatulas.”
Ideal cookbooks include a section for substitution ideas that new cooks may not have learned. A gift subscription to a cooking magazine is another good way to provide cooking ideas.
Fountain said friends and family may want to consider purchasing some food staples to help couples set up housekeeping.
“Baking basics include salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and both self-rising and all purpose flour,” he said. “Spices will keep a long time, and a spice rack also is a good gift idea.”