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I agree with shawn and allfiredup, and the only thing I would add is PLENTY of hot pads, trivets, and pot holders. No matter how many you have, it never seems to be enough, especially when entertaining and hosting large get-togethers such as Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. Also of great use to me is a roll of good old-fashioned wax paper. You will find a million uses for it. Use it to line bottoms of cake pans, rub along sticky drawer tracks, oh so many things it can be useful for!
An egg timer...though I don't know of anyone who uses it to time eggs.
A good set of knives is definitely the first, then the whisk and spatula that you mention are also very, very hard to do without.
Here is a list I'd find it hard to do without in a kitchen.
1. Good knives ( you only really need 1 good 8-10" chef's knife and 1 paring knife )2. Whisk3. Spatula4. Cutting board5. Mixing bowl6. Measuring cups/spoons7. 2 cup+ clear liquid measuring cup8. Colander9. 13x9 casserole dish10. Kitchen tongs11. Vegetable/potato peeler12. Can opener13. Good meat thermometer14. Grater15. Silicone hot mitt