The Right Cooking Equipment You Need

For those who wish to be the best cook they can be, having the right kitchen equipment is crucial to cooking success and minimal frustration.
If you begin with the following equipment, you will be well on your way to having what you need to cook. As you continue cooking, buy additional tools as you need them.

1.KNIVES: The importance of high quality knives can't be stressed enough! Buy the best you can and expect to spend some serious money. It is better to buy a few excellent knives rather than buying an entire set of low quality knives. Start with a chef knife and paring knife.

2.COOKING PANS: The best pans combine different metals like aluminum or copper on the outside and stainless steel on the inside. Aluminum and copper are valued for their ability to spread heat evenly over the entire pan, and stainless steel is valued for its non-reactive qualities. Buy pans which are heavy and thick with solid handles that are well fastened to the pot. Buy the highest quality cooking pans you can afford, starting with a saut? pan and a 3 qt. sauce pan. They will last forever.

3.NON-STICK PANS: You have to get at least 1 high quality non-stick saute pan. It makes cooking eggs and delicate items like fish easy. It also cuts down on the amount of fat needed to effectively saute.

4.CUTTING BOARDS: Buy large cutting boards - wood or plastic. Don't bother with these little boards that everyone seems to have. Once you get down to serious cutting and chopping, the small boards are always too small.

5.WHIP/WHISK: This is as essential tool that should be in everyone's kitchen. Nothing works better for mixing different preparations or for making sauces or gravy. Buy a solid stainless steel whip with moderately stiff wires. Very thin wires are for mixing delicate things like egg whites or whipped cream. Very thick, solid wires are for mixing stiff dough.

6.SPOONS: Buy stainless spoons which are solid and won't bend no matter how tough the job. Also, buy several high quality wooden spoons for stirring dishes (the sharp edge of a metal spoon would cut or bruise the delicate foods).

7.LADLES: The best are made of one piece of stainless steel. With use, spot welded ladles tend to come apart. Buy several different sizes.

8.SPATULAS: Buy a sturdy stainless spatula for general uses and a Teflon spatula for your non-stick pan. Also, buy a silicon baking spatula for scraping bowls.

9.FOOD PROCESSOR: This is a quit expensive item, but worth its price. It will save so much time when it comes to simple chopping or more advanced preparations. As with most things, buy quality-- it will last longer, be capable of tougher jobs, and give you less problems. To make the food processor easiest to use, leave it on the counter top instead of storing it in a cabinet.

10.MIXER: Pretty much the same as the food processor. Every kitchen should have one. Be sure that any mixer has all three attachments: paddle, dough hook, and whip. Also, find a spot on the counter where it can be easily accessed at a moment's notice.

11.STRAINERS: I recommend 2 strainers for every kitchen. The first is a solid stainless steel colander (one big enough to wash a lot of lettuce at once). The second strainer is a fine mesh conical strainer (called a chinois) which is a must for sauce or stock making.

12.STAINLESS STEEL BOWLS: These are the best all purpose bowls for a variety of applications. Choose a wide range of sizes (be sure to get a large bowl for whipping egg whites and whipped cream). Note that the heavier the bowl, the higher quality.

13.BAKING SHEETS: Essential for any functional kitchen. Buy the heaviest pans possible. Also, consider buying a non-stick silicon sheet: they make baking very easy!

14.GRATER: The old fashioned box graters work the best since it is sturdy and offers several different grating sizes.

15.PLASTIC WRAP: An absolute must with a million and a half uses.
With all that said, don't forget the main point -- equipment is important. Still, experience is crucial to being a great cook.
Get equipped with the right equipment but also gather knowledge and experience.
You can get it all offline (the better cook books) and online.

Rita Barzilay is a "Better Living" personal and group coach, lecturer and writer.
If you like cooking -- check out: -- for tips, recipes and cooking know-how.

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About The Author, Eyal Barzilay
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