What Do You Need In Your Kitchen?
Every cook imagines having a cooking area like those you see on TV, a great open work space and shining pots and pans in every sizes and shape. While this vision most likely isn’t completely reasonable, it is possible to have actually a well equipped kitchen area that will fit your every cooking desire. It can be tempting to head for the closest cooking superstore and start grabbing items, but you need to step back and think about your budget, the space you actually have and what type of cooking and baking you plan on doing.
Step one for creating your wish list is to list the cookware and bake ware pieces that you already have and can still use. There is no need to duplicate kitchen tools, it’s expensive and wasteful. After you have that list done you need to start making your kitchen wish list. Here are some kitchen utensils that most cooks and bakers want to have in their kitchens:
Often called a frying pan, a skillet is a low sided pan with a long handle. It is one of the most useful tools in any kitchen and most cooks will have many skillets in many sizes in their cupboards. Skillets are usually found in four different sizes. Small skillets are 6” in diameter, medium is usually around 8”, large is 10” and extra-large or oversized skillets are 12” in diameter.
When you are choosing skillets you will want to keep a few things in mind. Always buy skillets that have covers, without a cover a skillet is pretty useless. At least one of your skillets should be oven safe, there are lots of recipes that call for frying or browning something on the stove top and then popping the dish into the oven to finish cooking. If your skillet isn’t ovenproof you and you mistakenly put it a hot oven, you will end up with a horrible mess.
Make sure that the skillet isn’t too heavy for you to comfortably use, and check the handle for the type of grip. Many oxidized aluminum skillets have metal handles and these can get hot. If this is an issue you can buy silicon handle grips at most cooking stores.
An omelet pan is a smaller skillet that has sloped sides and is designed to easily flip on slide an omelet out of the pan. This pan is treated with a non-stick surface coating and is usually small, around 5 inches in diameter.
Pots, or sauce pans, are another basic for any cook. Usually found in three sizes, a sauce pan will come with a cover and has a handle that is silicone or rubber coated to keep you from burning your hand. The three sizes most often found are 1 quart, 2 quart and 3 quart. There are other specialty sizes but these three are the most commonly used. Very large versions of a pot are generally called a Dutch oven or a casserole dish. These pieces are used for soups, stews, braising meats and other larger dishes.
Some of the larger sauce pans will have handles on both sides of the pan and are a bit heavier in their construction. Sauce pans are usually made from aluminum or stainless steel and have a non-stick surface on the bottom and sides.
Stand Up Mixer:
There are three styles of mixers found in most kitchens, a manual mixer, a small electric hand mixer and a stand mixer. The hand mixer is powered by you and is fine for whisking eggs or light sauces. A small electric mixer is great for sauces, some thinner cake batters and whipped cream. Both are inexpensive and useful.
A stand mixer is the workhorse counter top appliance. Most will have strong motors of 400 watts or higher and will be able to mix everything from eggs to bread dough. Bakers will take better care of their stand mixers than they will of their car and a good stand mixer will handle every kitchen requirement for years.
There are two types of griddles available for most kitchens. One is a griddle top that goes on top of the burners of a stove. It will cover two burners, has a raised edge all around it and offers a smooth cooking surface.
More convenient is an electric griddle. This inexpensive but extremely handy appliance can be stored in a cabinet until needed, is very easy to clean and will give you a cooking surface that won’t have cold spots like a stove top griddle. An electric griddle is perfect for pancakes, eggs, French toast, grilled sandwiches and hundreds of other dishes.
These are just some of the useful kitchen tools that experienced cooks and bakers keep handy in their kitchens. You will also want to check out utensils like spatulas, measuring cups, wooden spoons, baking sheets and cooling racks as you start to equip your kitchen.