"I think a dutch oven is a great thing to have, somewhere between five and seven quarts," Perelman says. This six-quart cast-iron pot, also from Lodge, is $59. "An eight-quart dutch oven is good if you feel like you want to cook for crowds. Five quarts is great for like everyday meals for 4-6 people, but a bigger one will cover more things on the big side. I'm not saying you have to buy a Le Creuset; you'll be fine with whatever brand is in your budget. I would say that, though, if you have loving and adorable family members, for Christmas gifts it's a great time to ask for one. They're not usually break the bank on the gift scale. If a couple of people can get together it's a great present. With a skillet and a dutch oven, you can do a whole lot. After that, for me, the next essential tool is a good wooden spoon."