Cooking equipment and utensils in a German kitchen differ slightly from an American one. Germans cook more meals at home than we do and generally don't eat or drink in their cars. Slightly different kitchen utensils and vegetables are found in their homes, which gives a markedly different cooking and taste experience.
A Typical German Kitchen Will Have
Shopping basket (Einkaufskorb). This is a literal "basket," often made of wicker with a cloth lining to be used for shopping trips, along with your own cloth bags. The store sells plastic and cloth bags if you do not have any. Other baskets, for storing and serving bread, beer bottles, fruit, etc., are also common.
Cloth napkins and napkin rings which are often used for several meals and then washed. It is popular to have your own napkin ring with your initial to distinguish it from the rest of the family's.
Breakfast boards (Früstücksbrett) are small cutting boards instead of plates for breakfast or snack. They are very practical because they do not break, are easy to clean, have no lip and are the right shape for a piece of bread.
Potato masher and/or ricer for creating mashed potatoes and puréed potatoes, respectively. Yes, the answer to your question is, there is a difference between the two, the first has lumps on purpose.
Pots and pans for various daily cooking. I suggest a minimum:
- Small pot for cooking potatoes in their jackets and boiling eggs.
- Frying pans, 2 sizes
- Saucepans with lids, 2 sizes
- Pressure cooker, but NO slow cooker
- Loaf pan, or Königskuchen pan, which is longer and narrower than our loaf pan.
- Springform pans, of one or more sizes, for baking cheesecake and other cakes.
- Gugelhupf pan, a type of Bundt pan, for baking, what else, Gugelhupf cake.
- Lasagna pan, for casseroles.
- Sheet pan, for sheet cakes and Christmas cookies.
Egg timer, egg cups and egg spoons for the daily soft-cooked breakfast egg.
Scale for weighing ingredients. Ingredients are weighed using the metric scale, 1 gram being the usual increment.
To continue with utensils you find in a German Kitchen:
Electric tea kettle for boiling water. I do not know why Americans still insist on that silly tea kettle on the back of the stove when electric kettles are so much more efficient. They even turn themselves off!
Teapot, tea light stove (a small warming stove), tea net or ball, and tea cozy. Even if you do not drink tea, you will have a set up like this for your guests.
Coffee pot or coffee press for breakfast and tea-time, which Germans call “Kaffee”. If you have ever seen the movie, “Bagdad Café”, with Marianne Sägebrecht playing the German housewife/tourist, you will know what I mean when I say that the Germans like their coffee strong.
Wine glasses and champagne flutes for the occasional celebratory toast, and absolutely indispensable for New Year’s Eve.
Beer glasses, not mugs, are slightly tapered towards the bottom, to let a good head of foam develop when pouring. They have no handle. You will find beer steins in Southern Germany and if you go to a beer garden.
Cheese knives or slicer and
Cheese plate with cover and wurst plate with cover. Since two meals per day consist of open faced sandwiches, keeping a variety of cheese and sausage ready for quick service is important in many households.
Fruit knives are small, curved knives for use at the table to prepare the fruit you eat for dessert.
Spaetzle press or board and knife for making home-made noodles.
Large salad bowl with salad spoon and fork servers. These are used on a regular basis as the dressing is often made in the bottom of the salad bowl, the lettuce and other ingredients placed on top and the salad mixed shortly before serving. Just think, everyone has the same dressing!
- Cups and saucers (not mugs).
- Round soup spoons and deep "soup" plates for soup (not bowls).
- Bread box or bag to keep bread fresh (it never goes in the refrigerator).
- Serrated knife for slicing hard rolls and bread.
- Electric slicer for bread and meats (not an electric knife).