It's always a bit disconcerting to cook in someone else's kitchen. It's like reading another town's newspaper. The font is different, the local news is irrelevant, if it's a small town it just feels insubstantial compared ot the Post.
When you cook a lot, you're used to having all the right appliances. And by right, I only mean right for YOU. I use the test of - will it take more time to clean it up than it saves you in prep? For example, I don't have a zester. I find that just using a vegatable peeler and then chopping the zest finely does an equally good job. I don't have a George Foreman Grill. As a baker, I do have some completely essential tools that a large majority of the population does not have.
1. A Rolling pin. Neither my parents nor my friends Joan and brian have one. Try making pie crust with an empty wine bottle. It's not fun and it takes twice as long.
Uses: Pie crust, sugar cookies, biscuits.
2. A food processor. Dear good am I dependent on a food processor. That's all there is to say.
Uses: Pie crust, won ton filling, dips, Caeser salad dressing, hummus (which i guess counts as a dip)
3. Standing mixer. Do you know how much time this saves? Rather than a handheld, where you actually have to stay there holding the mixer, with a standing mixer you can go grad other ingredients to dump in as it happily mixes.
Uses: Cookies, dips, meatballs, batters of any kind, bread dough, whipped cream or egg whites
4. Whisk. Even if I have a standing mixer to whip eggs white, I still need a whisk for the small time jobs like salad dressings. Referring back to the "how much time will it take?" principle, for some things, it's a pain in the ass to drag out the mixer.
Uses: Sauces, gravies (subset of sauces), melted chocolate, salad dressings