You’re starting out and you need new cookware. Pots and pans can cost a pretty penny, unless you know what you are looking for. Let’s look at the basics and the best choices.
What You NEED
The average kitchen really doesn’t need much when it comes down to brass tacks. Six pots or pans will cover all your needs, if you purchase good quality equipment. This is one time where spending more will cost you less in the long run, as a good pan can last a lifetime.
1. Omelet Pans – one or two nonstick lined pans are essential if you cook omelets. Used primarily for high heat situations and those recipes that contain sticky ingredients: grilled cheese, omelets, etc. These pans should be heavy with well-constructed handles. Pick a 6-inch and an 8- or 10-inch pan, as well.
2. Stock Pot – 8 to 12 quarts, heavy, unlined, and preferably stainless steel construction with a layered bottom, a stock pot should be taller than it is wide. Used for making soup, stock, or boiling pasta, this is a piece of equipment that, if bought right, will last forever.
3. Saucepan – This pot should be well-constructed from solid materials. You will make smaller batches of soup, heat gravies, make mashed potatoes and veggies, all in this pot. Make sure you have a matching lid that fits on tightly.
4. Wide, Heavy Skillet – Don’t forget a matching lid as well. 12 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep are your minimum measurements. Bigger is better. Skip plastic handles and knobs since you want to be able to stick this pan in the oven for braising and finishing. If you can find a domed, glass lid to go along with the skillet, you have hit pay dirt.
5. Dutch Oven – Smaller than your stock pot, it will fulfill many of the same missions. Built to retain heat well, you can cook stews and chili in here as well.
6. Iron Skillet – Don’t spend good money on getting a new skillet when thrift shops seem to have an endless supply of these. Perfect for taking steaks from a good sear on the stove to a quick grill in the oven, as well as a million other uses, an iron skillet is a joy to have.
Paying for It
Because good quality cookware will cost you a bit, plan for the expense. Take time to find exactly the right item and get only one or two items a year. This is a perfect item to put on that holiday wish list too.
Some towns have restaurant supply stores. These stores cater to professional chefs, and you can pick up some great bargains here. While prices are high you will get exactly what you want, good quality, and an understanding, well-educated staff.
Your next choice can be to search out one of the chain stores which specializes in house goods, and utilize their frequent coupon mailings to drop prices into a range that is almost reasonable. Remember, this is a life long investment, so purchase the best you can afford.
While there isn’t much you can do about the industry’s pricing, you can invest in things that won’t need to be replaced any time soon.
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