Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A first kitchen: Part 3 - Pots and Pans

So if you were buying a brand new set of pots and pans for someone who was setting up their first kitchen, what would you include?

First of all, it's important to recognize that many manufacturers sell their pots and pans in sets that include, usually, a set of frying pans (2 or 3 of varying sizes), a large stock pot, and a variety of other pots of different sizes.  These sets will meet the needs of most, though naturally, some pieces will get used more than others.  I would always recommend checking out Costco for these kinds of kits, where the prices are usually a small fraction of those found in department or kitchen specialty stores.

But let's say you were hand-picking the pieces to custom stock the kitchen.  What would you look for?

Here are my choices:

1 small frying pan, for cooking meat or small quantities of vegetables for one or two people.
1 medium sized frying pan, though you can probably get away just with the small and the large, or with the medium and large
1 large, deep frying pan with straight sides, good for one-pot cooking, or cooking for leftovers
1 medium cast-iron frying pan, for meals that you start on the stove and finish in the oven
1 small pot, for small quantities of soup, rice, vegetables, sauce etc.
1 medium pot, for larger quantities of the above or for pasta
1 large stock pot, depending on how much cooking of large quantities of soup, pasta or stock you intend to make.  I make considerably more use of my stock pot now than I did when I was living on my own, but in retrospect, I might have made better use of it then if I'd had a better idea what to do with it!!

I would add to those basics some system for steaming fresh vegetables, either a basket that fits inside an existing pot, or a specialty pot for the purpose. 

I go back and forth on a double boiler... Great for melting things (especially chocolate) or warming delicate things like milk, but these things can be achieved in other ways. 

So that's my list. But I'm curious to know what you would include!!  Use the comments to share your expertise!

Part 1: Introductions
Part 2: Basic Equipment

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