One of the greatest joys of life is to start something For those among us that are shifting accommodations, or entering into a phase of life that warrants the setting up of a new dwelling unit, the joys are sometimes encountered with the concerns. These days with increasing costs and mind boggling choices across products from chewing gum to sewing machines, it becomes a necessity somewhat to look for advice in selecting a few bare products to set up a household and then think about the rest later.
Among the areas in the home that needs to be set up, the first and the most important, by far is the kitchen. Not for nothing, the kitchen is called the “soul of the house”. To put life into this soul, however, one needs to create a space that is functional, creative as well as aesthetically pleasing and practical. Although the kitchen design itself is up to individual perception and tastes, there indeed are some products that all kitchens need. In this post we will discuss the various cookware that is essential to start a kitchen, whether you live alone and have moved into a new accommodation, have recently got married and have found a place of your own, or have just recently started to live independently and need to set up a space to cook and explore.
- First, the pots and the pans, literally and figuratively. To begin with one must invest in a good quality 1.5-3 QT Saucepan, preferably with a transparent lid.If you can imagine a car without gas, well that is how useful a kitchen is without a good saucepan. The saucepan can be used for virtually anything. Saucepans can be used for boiling, shallow frying, reheating, storing, and sauteing. On a bad day, people have been known to toss salads in saucepans too. The veritable saucepan is the gun in armor, the most trusted and wanted piece of cooking utensil without which any meaningful cookery will be a distant dream.
- Second, a 5-7 QT pot, covered casserole or dutch oven. This is another important piece of equipment, definitely required to make those soups, broths and for boiling pasta etc. This pot can also be invaluable for making larger quantities of food and freeze, such as soups or broths to be quickly reheated when you’ve had a bad hair day, or may be a bad apron day. A large casserole is important and the reason is simple. It saves time and effort of having a separate cooking and serving dish. If you like anything that requires cooking and baking or baking and cooking in a single recipe, a casserole is a must. Think all those robust stews and soups and well, casseroles that take forever to cook but make it well worth or that glistening golden baked dish out of a searing hot oven, and you know why a casserole is a worthy entrant to this coveted list. The Dutch oven, another name with which the casserole is called, these days should also be induction stove top compatible since induction cooking is healthier and fuss free specially for dishes that require slower cooking.
- Third, a sauté pan of 10 -12 inches diameter for searing, sauteing, deep frying or reducing sauces. Basically think of it as a utensil from where the food will go to the plate. There is no getting away from the fact that pots are for heavy duty cooking, boiling and preparing whereas a pan is for inducing love into the food, think basting your favorite cut of meat with delicate french butter or indeed tossing those beautiful fresh vegetables with that extra virgin olive oil. A sauté pan is chic, its interactive , you don’t really forget the food that you put in a sauté pan for hours , even minutes can be a push sometimes, and it’s something all kitchens must have.
- Fourth, a 8-12 inch non stick coated pan, preferably of aluminum or aluminum alloy. Let’s face it; there are times, well, most times when you need food in a jiffy, a quickly grilled fish, a reheated sauce or a main dish, leftovers and the like. In many of these cases a stainless steel or a cast iron skillet may prove to be a little challenging and cumbersome. In these cases a non stick pan is a boon. In any case seasoning a cast iron or a steel pan can take a while and a non stick aluminum pan is quick to heat, quick to use and entirely predictable, unlike the others discussed. And yes, omelettes and pancakes. Let the purists cringe, but there really isn’t a substitute to a non stick pan as far as a great turned omelette goes, not by far.
- Fifth, a decent sized Wok. So you want to know how come this Oriental utensil made the cut in the list of the essentials, well it did because we all love fried food. And there is nothing better than a wok for deep frying. Except a deep fat fryer. And it’s not a utensil, so... Woks are also great for stir frying, a lot of which is happening these days due to the perception of stir fried foods being better for health and even taste, since a wok can transfer a much larger amount of heat owing to its larger hot area and that makes food , specially vegetables more crunchy and retains the moisture. So wok it is. The wok can also be non stick or enamel coated depending on the preference and the budget.
Apart from the pots, pans and utensils described above, there are obviously many others that will warrant inclusion into a well laid out kitchen such as a fine piece of grilling-pan for your BBQ crave or a crepepan for the pizza and pancake lover in you, still, these are the ones that will really not make you feel a pressing concern about the lack of cooking utensils. Cooking is an art and a science, it is love and affection and it is only proper that some amount of research, understanding and planning should go into starting a kitchen. Remember what we said about it being the soul of the house? Let us know what you think in the comments below or if we have missed something essential as well.
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