Pots and Pans
The first things you need are a minimum number of pots and pans. You don’t need to buy an expensive set, and they don’t have to match each other if you find good deals here and there. It is a good idea to get non-stick pans, though, because we don’t want the clean-up chores to take away from the fun of cooking. Also, if they can be put in the oven, it makes them more useful. Shop around; in this case the kitchen stores might not be the best deal. We’ve seen (and purchased) steals from places like Home Goods and SteinMart.
Here’s the list:
Skillet, approx. 12″
Sauce pan with cover, approx. 2 qt.
Soup pot with cover, approx. 8 qt.
Pyrex (microwaveable) bowl w/ cover
When you can, add:
Oven-ready 15″ skillet, with cover
Sauce pan, 1 qt.
Pasta pot, approx. 12 qt.
Stainless mixing bowl set
Pyrex casserole dish, w/ cover
One of the most fun parts of a kitchen store to browse in is the gadget department. There you’ll find hundreds of things you need (and don’t need). But you will need to start with the basics:
Meat thermometer, preferably digital instant-read, or at least the dial-type shown in the photo
Cooking utensil set (usually containing a spatula or two, slotted and solid spoons, soup ladle, pasta server
Cooking knife set (at least one paring knife, one chef’s knife, one serrated knife, one large two-pronged fork
Cutting board, plastic or wood
Strainer or colander
Salt and pepper shakers for the stove top
When you can afford more, you can fill up all the drawers in the kitchen, if you’re not careful…
Digital instant-read thermometer, if you don’t already have one
Candy thermometer (also used to measure frying oil temperature)
Mandolin (for slicing, not playing)
French fry cutter
Which items you choose, how many, and their size will depend on how many people you are cooking for, what kind of food you like to prepare, and how much storage (and money) you have. This list will let you make most of the recipes on this site, but sometimes you will have two dishes that require the same pot, and you will have to let them take turns. Just keep track of the times you run into problems, and you’ll know what to buy next.