For some people, the love of food goes beyond sampling inviting dishes or having an ice cream binge. Some foodies take time to create their own favorite dishes and develop new culinary delights. Listed below are the essentials for any amateur chef in the kitchen.
Pots, Pans, and Bakeware
- 10” or 12” Cast iron Skillet – Grandmother always had one, and swore the best homemade fried chicken came out of a cast-iron skillet. It is versatile, study, and able to hold heavy foods. Cast iron takes some maintenance and care so be sure you can handle the required seasoning.
- 1 ½ Qt. Stainless Steel Sauce Pan (with lid) – For recipes that contain a lot of liquid like soups, this pan should have a heavy bottom and a firm handle for easy carrying.
- Non-Stick Skillet – This piece comes in handy for foods with sticky ingredients like eggs and pancakes. Make sure your skillet has a strong non-stick coating by testing it with a fingernail or toothpick. If it buckles or flakes upon contact, don’t buy it.
- Rectangular Baking Pan or Dish – Make sure the pan is able to handle high oven temperatures, has strong edges, and a heavy bottom.
- 5- or 7-Qt. Dutch Oven – Great for large batches of stew, braising meats, and deep frying, this piece should be versatile enough to handle both the stove and the refrigerator.
Bowls, Cups, and Utensils
- Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls – Usually in different sizes in a set of 3 or more, these bowls can be used for any foods and are easy to clean.
- Cutting Board – Cutting mats made of plastic, glass, or stone are good for raw meats and other contaminating foods, but a hardwood block (maple, cherry, or walnut) is more sturdy and long-lasting.
- Measuring Cups & Spoons – Plastic, steel, or glass measuring tools are needed in the following sizes: 1 quart, 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, ¼ cup, 1 tbsp, 1 tsp., ½ tsp, and ¼ tsp. Get a few different sets for complicated recipes and easy cleanup.
- Knives – A basic set of cooking knives includes a chef’s knife, a slicer, a cleaver, a serrated knife, and a paring knife. Be sure to have something to sharpen them as well.
- Spoons – Large serving, large slotted, and a ladle are all that is needed for beginners.
- Spatulas – A metal spatula for lifting and serving hot foods, and a plastic one for mixing, scooping, and blending foods prior to cooking or after cooling.
- Other Needed Items – Wire whisk, tongs, grater, can opener, cooking thermometer, colander, kitchen timer
Having these essentials on hand encourages a love for cooking, but sometimes drains the pocketbook. Most department and home goods stores have ongoing discounts and coupons for cookware and bakeware. Bealls Outlet currently has promotions on certain items with Bealls coupons and promo codes from discountrue.com, so purchasing high-quality material for years of use and long wear isn’t as expensive.