It is often said that it is a poor carpenter who complains of his tools - but then, we are not doing carpentry work here, are we?
Then again, is was our dearly departed Scotty who often said, "The rrright tool for the rrright job!". He was a practical man after my own heart.
I will assume that you already know about a good collection of heavy bottomed stainless steel pots of a variety of sizes, with pot lids that actually fit properly, as well as a similar set of wider sauce pans that may or may not have properly fitting covers. At least one slotted spoon, an array of wooden spoons and a collection of various kinds of spatulas, knives, spoons and forks, at least one pair of tongs, colanders, strainers, can opener and "church key", a baster and roasting pan, at least one.
What you do already have in your kitchen will undoubtedly already fill a good number of pages if listed, surprising even yourself.
EVERY kitchen has small "junk drawer", so list the contents of that also. This is all the stuff your mom, and probably your grandmother had, and used regularly. Let us not forget the collection of well seasoned cast iron skillets of all sizes, and the little butter pots, at least one "double boiler" (to the French, a Baine Marie), an assortment of whisks. Spring form baking pans. Old style Corning Ware, actually made from pyroceram (you can't hardly get this no more, since for some inexplicable reason they are not made no more: what is called "Corning ware" is now simply stoneware). Any "Le Creuset" fry pans you can lay your hands on; these are wonderful, but rather expensive. Amazingly, they still exist!
Avoid ANYTHING that is "Made in China". This crap is so bad, that you most often have to open the box and look at some hidden microscopic adhesive tag to know that it is true. Do not make the mistake (if you are even old enough to do so) that the once resplendant Chinese culture is anything like it is now, nor that it has anything to do with current Japanese culture. China, as the US, is now a land of criminals; that will be its ultimate economic downfall.
Unless you have just landed from some other planet, you already have a good basis of tools for any good kitchen, some of which which remind you of your grandma, because she used it - including that four sided grater that grated hard cheeses for pasta, and grated potatoes down to her old knuckles for your potato pancakes, sliced them for scalloped potatoes.
The list is amazingly long, and I am not going to recreate what you youself can easily itemize yourself.
The appropriate babblings, hommages, and obeisences to the obvious having been done, we can move on to more ancient, modern and esoteric items for our modern US International Kitchen, where TSC has a number of opinions based on experience with some of these items. Some of TSC's opinions are less than gracious.
Esoteric/Mundane Cordless Stuff A large copper bowl and ballon whisk for merangues when you need the very best wine bottle opener garlic press ricer small nutmeg grater egg slicer cheese server cheese "garrot" food mill mezzaluna with matching wooden bowl small mortar and pestle for spices, herbs, salts and sugars large mortar and pestle for pestos and Thai curry pastes molcajete and tejolote (Basalt!) a comal, or good sized iron griddle fender mallet mister needle nose pliers awl or ice pick poultry shears meat/poultry "hack saw" propane torch zesters, one or twp from Microplane spabhetti claw heavy, sharp cleaver pizza cutter mandoline (Bron) good spätzle maker good pasta maker bamboo green tea whisk bamboo skewers collection of bamboo chopsticks (Chinese, Japanese and Korean styles) small number of large "cooking chopsticks" at least one bamboo steamer, better, 3-4 of them an oven thermometer thermometers for your refrigerators (36°F) and freezers () modern meat thermometer candy thermometer one double boiler, at least, if one, a quart+ size set of good sharp knives set of strainers set of funnels set of whisks set of measuring spoons and cups, at least one foot ruler with English and metric good kitchen scale measuring up to 5-10 pounds hand citrus juicer large wooden salad bowl - go for teak wood kitchen twine kitchen parchment aluminum foil plastic wrap waxed paper
Not so cordless devices good electric knife sharpener (EdgeCraft) K-5 mixer, with all the attachments you need rotary beater hand held mixer large food proccessor small food proccessor good blender good immersion blender (more labor serving than you might imagine) microwave oven, at least one convection oven, dessicator spice grinder (Sumeet) food grinder rice maker (magnetic induction, Zojirushi, made in Japan, not China) good bread maker (Zojurushi) slow cooker, at least one deep fryer, with thermostat electric fry pan (at least one)
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