Cooking in Your Apartment: A Beginner’s Guide to CookwareApril 13th, 2010 by Staff Writer
Regardless of skill level, every cook needs certain piece of cookware. Whether you have recently moved into your first apartment or have just learned to cook, you must properly stock your kitchen to ensure your cooking adventures will be a success. The following are essential elements for any kitchen.
Sauce Pan and Skillet
The two different sized pans will enable you to make almost any creation you choose. The smaller saucepan is great for sandwiches, vegetables, eggs and, of course, sauces. The larger-sized skillet is great for stir-fry, steaks and potatoes. While there are certainly larger and smaller sized pans offered, you will use these two the most. For your first pans, choose ones with a non-stick surface for easier cleaning and turning. Stainless steel pans without non-stick coating are more difficult to use for cooking and clean.
2.5 and 3.5 Quart Pots
Just as most of your cooking can be done with the two different pan sizes, most of your cooking can be accomplished with two different sized pots. The 2.5 quart pot is great for soups and macaroni and cheese. The 3.5 quart pot is great for noodles and tomato sauces. Unless you have a large family, it is unlikely you will need a pot larger than 3.5 quarts. Should you want a third pot, go smaller rather than larger. Again, choose ones with a non-stick surface.
Even if you don’t bake, you will still need jelly roll pans to use in your oven. You will be surprised at the amount of things you can do with jelly roll pans, including using them to cook a chicken, bake french fries or roast potatoes. If you plan on cooking large cuts of meat, you may also need a roasting pan. Roasting pans, however, are less versatile than jellyroll pans and so should be purchased second.
Not all knives are created equal. The quality of knife you purchase directly relates to the ease and success of your dish. For those on a limited income, spend the majority of your money on good knives rather than pots and pans. Every kitchen needs three knives: a chef’s knife, a serrated slicer and a paring knife. Your chef’s knife will be used for almost everything except for those more delicate or smaller items, for which you will use the slicer or paring knife. Only purchase stainless steel knives and do not put them in the dishwasher.
Despite the many gadgets on the market nowadays, you need very few of them. At the very least, you need two spatulas, a slotted and a non-slotted spoon, tongs and a wisk. You do not need to purchase the most expensive of these items for them to work well, but you also should steer clear of the cheapest ones, which will fall apart after only a few uses. Often, these utensils are combined into a package and sold together, making your purchase easier.
Cooking is a fun and delicious way to show off your skills. However, prior to beginning your endeavors, make sure your kitchen is properly stocked with the necessary tools. Also, if a tool is not working the way you expect, take it back to the store for a refund or, at the very least, suggestions for a better replacement.