The right equipment makes cooking easier and pleasurable. You do not need an expensive set of cookware or high-tech utensils to prepare excellent meals. However, it helps to have good-quality pieces. Purchase the best that you can afford and you will discover more satisfaction in cooking.
The Bare Necessities
COOKWARE: Pots and pans are available in a variety of materials. To take advantage of the superior heat-conducting abilities of copper with easy-care stainless steel, choose ones that are layered with a stainless steel cooking surface, a thick core of copper/aluminum and a stainless steel exterior. Look for riveted stainless steel handles and tight-fitting lids. Thick-bottomed, heavy- gauge and nonreactive cookware heat evenly, cook thoroughly and will not transfer “off” flavors to food.
BAKEWARE: Whether it’s a well-used cookie sheet or a simple muffin pan, certain pieces will become your favorite baking partners. Heavy-duty cookie sheets and cake pans provide even heating for baked goods. Silicone liners are non-stick and reusable. Non-reactive glass or ceramic bakers are good choices for dishes such as lasagna, vegetable gratins and casseroles.
ELECTRICS: Small appliances are great helpers in the kitchen – saving time by speeding up food preparation. Blenders, food processors and mixers help create delicious creamed soups and sauces, fresh breads, fantastic cookies and delectable cakes in half the time and without the upper arm workout. KNIVES: Good knives are indispensable in the kitchen. High-quality knives should feel balanced and have sufficient weight to facilitate chopping. Choose ones made from high-carbon stainless steel with blades that extend the full length and width of the handle.
TOOLS: Whisks, spoons and spatulas are tools that we just can’t live without – playing the starring role in everyday cooking tasks. Other seldom-used gadgets hide in the back of a kitchen drawer waiting to be used a few times a year for special-occasion cooking. Keep your favorite tools organized and within reach.