I thought since we started this blog last week talking about skillets, frying and saute pans, it might be good to discuss equipping your kitchen with these pieces. The following is my opinion on how to go about stocking your kitchen with what you need and/or want for equipment. This is not the only way to think about it but it is a way to get started.
The first thing you have to do is determine what the minimum pieces of equipment needed to just get by with for your cooking. I'd make the minimum at least 3 pieces. I believe you need a skillet, fry or saute pan. If I was going to go with just one, it would be a covered saute pan of 4 or 5 quart size. The second item you would need is a covered sauce pan. If you only have the one, I would make it at least 2 and possibly a 3 quart pan. Lastly, you will need a stock pot or dutch oven with a capacity of 6 to 8 quarts. If you are only going to have the minimum, it is best to go big when it comes to size. It is easier to make a small amount in a large piece than it is to do a large amount in small equipment.
The above is the minimum number of pieces required. the desired amount should be a complete set of pots and pans. A set of pots and pans usually include 2 sizes of skillets, 2 sizes of covered sauce pans, a covered saute pan and a stock pot or dutch oven. This would be a 10 piece set. You will normally find sets that range from 10 to 13 pieces. It is possible to find them with fewer and with more pieces. You just need to determine which set meets your personal needs, style and price.
I'm going to recommend the set that I own and use every day. I looked for some time before I bought this set. I believe the sizes of all the pieces best met my personal needs. The only thing that I would change on the set is a the small skillet. It is a 9 1/4 inch skillet and I believe that a smaller one of 8 inches would be more helpful to me. That is the thing about every set of pots and pans that are out there for your consideration. There always seems to be one piece that you would like to be bigger or smaller in the set.
My set is from Kohl's. It is the Food Network 11-piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set. The set includes the following pieces; 1 1/2 qt. covered sauce pan, 3 qt. covered sauce pan w/steamer insert, 9 1/4 inch skillet, 12 inch skillet/saute pan, 8 qt. covered stock pot and a 5 qt. covered sauteuse pan. I really like and use my set all the time. I have a few other pots and pans; their use has diminished greatly since I bought this set.
Let's talk about acquiring the pots and pans needed in your kitchen. The first place to start is your mom and dad's kitchen. Do they have any pots and pans that don't get used? Do they need new pots and pans? It would probably be easier to get them to buy a new set for themselves then a new set for you. But you may be able to get started from their unneeded equipment. It would certainly help your budget.
If that doesn't work, let's try area Thrift Stores and see if they have any good pieces for a reasonable price. They may not be new but most will fit your budget and may give you a little extra money for other needs.
If you have to end up buying new pots and pans, there are many options out there for you. I'm going to push one of my favorites, kohls.com. I love this store because they have very good product with good pricing. But the clincher for me is their credit card and some of the benefits that come with it. Now you MUST be careful with your use of credit cards. I believe that you can do a lot to help yourself with credit cards. Just remember, don't buy anything with a credit card unless you can pay the FULL balance each statement. If you do that each time you use a credit card, you're helping build a very good credit score. In this day and age, your credit score means more than it probably should but that is the world we live in today. Remember to work hard at keeping your credit score as high as possible. The main reason I like the Kohl's credit card is the extras. At least once a month I receive an envelope from Kohl's that gives me the opportunity to take an extra 15, 20 or 30% off everything I buy on the credit card during a limited number of days. That is on top of their sale prices. This pot and pan set above is normally $299.99 but is on sale often for $199.99. I bought mine when I had a 30% card and only paid $139.99. This is the kind of deals you need to be looking for when you really need something. I try to look for deals on the things I need or want. However, I only buy when I get the deal and have the money to pay for it. Be wise in your shopping.
Back to the equipment you need and/or want for your kitchen. It is best to buy the best if you can. It is especially true if you are only starting with the minimum pieces needed. Remember, if you buy the best, they need to be treated the best. Even if they say they are dishwasher safe, wash them by hand. They will last you much longer and perform much better for you if you take good care of them.
Tomorrow we will talk about sauce pans and electric stove top dials and temperatures.
PS I don't get anything from Kohl's for what I said above, although I wouldn't mind. I just believe in some
things and believe you should pass that information on to others if it might help them.