The Pink-Briefcase Stove-top Essentials


Here is what I need in my kitchen to make the delicious food using only the four burners on the top of my stove:

  • A big pot for soup and stew and chili
  • One or two heavy skillets – one larger one for cooking multiple hamburgers, and one about the size of an omelet.  (Some would say a cast iron skillet is essential, but I think that you can make it pretty well without one. When you are ready to take that step you will know. Kind of like having children. Seriously, y’all, back off of that for one hot minute. I get to choose!)  I use these, even though I know you aren’t supposed to use nonstick anymore, and I love them.
  • Two pots. I’ve never really understood why they sell pots in sets of two where one is normal sized and the other is incredibly tiny.  Who needs a pot that small? Two medium-sized pots is far superior, in my opinion.
  • You’ll do better if you have a lid for your soup pot, one of your skillets, and one of your pots. I hate lids, they are a pain to store and they are always falling over in the cabinet or getting lost or falling into some kind of trouble, but they matter. Ideally, the lid for your soup pot will [sort-of] fit your large skillet and the lid for your medium-sized pot will [sort-of] fit your small skillet. Then, you have maximum coverage with minimum lids. Because they are seriously the worst.
  • Oh, and I nearly forgot: a tea kettle. I cannot live without my tea kettle. You could, of course, boil water for tea in one of your two pots. But, why? Why would you do that when you could have a beautiful, colorful, dedicated tea kettle? Seriously, that is crazy.

With these items, you can make delicious meals on a stove-top. You have the foundational cookware for making puddings, dump cakes, pot roast, bacon, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, soup (one of my top 4 food groups), etc. We’ll talk about bakeware tomorrow (a.k.a. things that go in the oven), but first: is anything missing here? What stove-top essentials are on your list that didn’t make mine?

And, most essential question of life: What color is your tea kettle? (I wanted this yellow one, but ended up with this red one instead. And while I love my red one, it has a burn mark on one side so I can’t promise that in another year or two that yellow one or maybe a Le Creuset!! won’t be hanging out on my cook-top.)


This post is number 7 of my #write31days project 31 Days in the Pink-Briefcase Kitchen.  You can read yesterday’s post here, and follow along with the series each day in October.  An archive of posts is available here, or just click on that big button on the right sidebar. 



  1. coffeesnob318

    I agree on the items. I just know at least one of my skillets needs to be non-stick, because I am not trying to scramble in an egg in anything that takes any effort whatsoever to clean. Specifically, I use my Pampered Chef Executive Skillet. It’s a gem. If it were possible to make love to an appliance…

    My tea kettle is so boring. It’s just silver. I want a red one. Or an orange one.

    • Mary Beth

      Non-stick is awesome! And — not that I want to encourage vanity or wastefulness, but I’m sure if you wanted a colorful tea kettle the goodwill would take your stainless steel one in a heart beat. You could make two homes happy. ;)

  2. Jamie Wright Bagley

    I used to have a cherry red tea kettle (and tea pot,) but they are no more. My current tea kettle is made of glass and has proven more durable than previous kettles.

    Essentials: Large-r skillet, single serve skillet, both cast iron which can be a pain to clean, but my mother always used them so I’m kind of used to it. Of my two medium pots, one has a removable steamer tray; a steamer is essential for me. I do have one very small pot for melting butter or warming up tea. And I think that’s it.

  3. sarahkerner

    My tea kettle is silver. Nothing fancy but it does the job! We got steel pans and they are hella heavy but now that they’re seasoned, they do a pretty good job of being nonstick without the chemicals.

  4. Gay B

    My essential stovetop tool is a dutch oven. I cannot believe how much I use it since I got it.

    My tea kettle is red. Although I have to admit that I don’t use it all that often. My husband had a Hot Shot Hot Water dispenser when I moved in and we use that. It’s easy.

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