I consulted famous cook, restauranteur and local food advocate Alice Waters on this important topic of kitchen equipment. Not in person. But in her lovely book The Art of Simple Food, pages 22-27. She and I are very sympatico on this topic. She says:
"I am a minimalist in the equipment department. I don't like a lot of gadgets and I don't like cluttering up the kitchen with things I rarely use. My friends tease me and call me a Luddite because I don't particularly like even small electrical applicances. Instead, I love to use a mortar and pestle and have hands-on contact with the food. That may be unusual these days, but I've found you don't really need that much equipment. I tend to use the same few knives and pots and pans over and over again. What matters is, they're comfortable, well-made, hard-wearing and long lasting.
.... but if you're starting from scratch and outfitting a kitchen on a limited budget, spend your money on two or three very good knives and a few pieces of good, heavy heat conductive cookware. These are truly lifetime investments. Acquire other equipment piecemeal, when you can afford it, at your own pace. Don't overlook garage sales and thrift stores for such equipment as cast iron skillets, pasta machines, baking pans and dishes and small tools."
If you don't have Alice Waters' book or don't want to buy it or find it at the library, then you could go to Jamie Oliver's web site, where I found a pretty decent PDF file on equipment that you can download from the home page. I am getting to be kind of a fan of Jamie Oliver even though I have only seen one of the episodes of his new reality TV show. I give him credit for bringing an important message to the "masses". And his equipment list is straightforward and doesn't seem to be all about selling people more than they need. So check it out. http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/get-cooking