Until you leave home and start fending for yourself--not in dorms, but really go off on your own--you don't realize how many little things you take for granted. I don't mean little things like having mom do your laundry or make you dinner. I've been washing my own clothes since grade 7 and cooking for myself since I went vego in 2003. The little things I mean are peelers, graters, juicers, potato mashers... kitchen stuff! Our kitchen at home was by no means well-equipped, but we had enough stuff that you could improvise for whatever you needed. I never really had to think too critically about how to do something in the kitchen, or analyze a recipe for it's doable-ness with my supplies.
When I moved to Oz, however, I realized quickly how many things you miss. Andy and I realized ahead of time that we would need to buy plates, cups, cutlery, and pots and pans. But we didn't anticipate veggie peelers, can openers, rolling pins, baking dishes, etc. When we moved into our house (we had it to ourselves for the first two weeks), we bought a few of those supplies, enough to get by. And the owner of the house had put a few things in, like pots, a chopping board, plastic spoons and spatulas, and a microwave. Then other housemates moved in and brought a few things of their own, like wooden spoons, a blender (and about 12 bajillion other gadgets that never get used, like veggie steamers, 3 rice cookers--3!--sandwich grillers.....), and a mixing bowl.
We were still lacking a few things, so although we're broke (I can't work and Andy is a full-time student) we've been slowly stocking up. We saw a sale on Pyrex baking dishes, so we have two rectangle pans and a pie plate. We have plans to buy other things, but since we're leaving so soon it doesn't make much sense to buy them and promptly pack them up. So a good wok, a food processor... they'll all have to wait. We still improvise quite a bit, for example I use a tea cup as my measuring cup, and dinner spoons for tablespoons. Measurements are never exactly precise; luckily this hasn't been a problem so far.
Unfortunately, the best stocked housemates started hating everyone else, and no longer want to share. They get the shits anytime we use their good non-stick frying pan, or their mortar and pestle, and they've hidden their wooden spoons and a few other things. I can still get by quite well, but I noticed it yesterday when I was making pierogies. They took away the rolling pin. How do you roll out dough to 1/8" without a rolling pin??! I had to use my measuring cup/tea cup, which was annoying because you can only roll halfway before the stupid handle gets in the way. I ended up rolling it, cutting it, and then rolling each little piece again. What a freaking hassle. Then I had to boil them in a pot that doesn't heat evenly, and fry them in a pan that sticks like you wouldn't believe.
The pierogies ended up tasting delicious (some were filled with sweet potato, and the rest had hokkaido pumpkin with curry powder), but I really, really wish I had excessive amounts of money for good cooking supplies. Anyone want to start a fund??