Just as in wood working, there are a near infinite number of tools you can purchase to make your life easier and your work more precise. Also, like wood working, these tools are not all strictly necessary. A tall smooth water glass can substitute for a rolling pin just as a screw driver and a hammer can, on occasion, substitute for a drill. The average tea cup holds exactly eight ounces, and can be substituted for a marked measuring cup.
Yet there are items that you are certain to need. A pan, fork and spoon are all handy items. A spatula is also a good thing to have and not just for spanking wayward children. Aluminum foil is useful for a variety of applications. Probably the most important tool in cooking is the knife. I am not talking about your regular old namby-pamby butter knife. You will need something sharp that will go easily through animal or vegetable matter. Knives are kind of the screw driver of the culinary technician's world. You can never have too many knives; they are useful for everything; and they get mislaid very easily.
The best investment you will ever make is a set of sharp knives. They come in a variety of forms from paring knives to big ol' butcher knives. I find the fiercer looking knives tend to be unwieldy and not useful for much other than cutting off tree limbs and carving an occasional turkey. Paring knives are best in accomplishing most tasks. You will find yourself cutting carrots, slicing pork and peeling potatoes.
There are power tools in cooking too. Nearly every repetitive task has been automated. There are mixers and blenders and slicers and dicers, can openers and popcorn makers. It is amazing how quickly you may peel an apple with an apple peeler, or grind up carrots with a juicer. Yet unlike a power drill, a kitchen appliance cannot necessarily be set aside and ignored until the next time it is needed. It must be CLEANED, and the consequences of not cleaning them can be disastrous. Anyone who has left the crud to dry at the bottom of a blender knows what I mean.
No man that I have ever met enjoys meticulously wiping food particles from the underside of a blender blade. Unless you are making mass quantities of a particular item the savings in time provided in food processing by an electric appliance may be far outweighed by the time spent in cleaning the apparatus.
Women and Cooking
Tools of the Trade
Aprons n' Other Gear
Baking vs. Cooking
Alcohol at Mealtime
Preheating the Oven