Even in ancient times, family life revolved around the warmth of the kitchen. It is usually the first room that is set up by newlyweds and new college kids. If you are setting up house for the first time, you do not have to feel intimidated. Hopefully, your family and friends will present you with some new or heirloom kitchen equipment, restaurant dinnerware and a few time-honored recipes to get you going. Having a fantastic kitchen does not happen overnight. Your collection will build as you get more cooking experience and more money in your budget. However, there are a few things that you will need in the beginning that will quickly have you prepared to cook in your new place.
Unless you plan on doing all your cooking in the microwave, you are going to need cookware. Quality cookware can last a lifetime of use if you take good care of it. You do not have to go bankrupt buying your pots and pans. You simply buy the best quality that you can afford. As your budget allows, you can add to your collection.
Cookware comes in a variety of materials, such as stainless-steel, aluminum, enamel ware or lined copper. There is a renewed interest in cast-iron cookery, which is an excellent conductor of heat. Most good pieces can be had for $20-$30 dollars, depending on the material and quality. Most cooks like to find pots and pans with a non-stick coating. Other professional pots and pans are pricey and can cost you hundreds of dollars. For the average home cook, most department stores sell nice sets of cookware for affordable prices.
The pans that you will probably get the most use out of is a good 8-10 inch skillet and a 12-14 inch frying pan. These are handy for pan frying meats, eggs, or poultry. For making soups, stews, or anything that is boiled, you need a large and small sauce pan. Be sure that all your pans have tight-fitting lids for proper cooking techniques. Tempered glass lids allow you to check on your dish’s progress without lifting the lid.
As your collection expands, you might consider buying a saute’ pan, Dutch oven, and a steamer. If you are into Oriental cuisine, a wok would be great to have. You can store your cookware in a cabinet or display them on a pot rack in your kitchen.
As with any job, having the right tool makes the difference in the outcome of your project. In this case, cooking utensils make your tasks easier and provide for the right techniques. Cooking utensils also are available in different price ranges to fit about every budget. If you have cookware that was made with a non-stick coating, metal utensils will ruin them. You will need either silicone or wooden utensils. The utensils that you will use the most will be an egg-turner, spatulas, a ladle, some slotted and regular serving spoons, a wok strainer, and some tongs. If you have heavy-duty cookware such as cast-iron, feel free to buy these utensils in stainless-steel.