Some Basic Cooking Tools

By: Maria Gray

I am moving, and in doing so need to construct a temporary kitchen at the new house, while maintaining one at the old house, so I started thinking - what does one really need for a functional kitchen?

One of the cooking tools I couldn't live without is my set of pans. OK - whats in a pan?? well, first of all the weight - you need a heavy gauge anything for it to be realistic. A really great pan is heavy, it has weight in your hand, that weight, or substance is usually stainless steel or cast iron. I hate nonstick pans, my feeling is if you cook properly and season a cast iron pan well you'll be fine without the nonstick surface. So, what does a basic kitchen need?? I love cast iron, well seasoned it is a wonderful heavy cooking surface for just about anything. I keep several skillets in my kitchen. I dedicate one to seafood, one to omlettes and one to regular dishes. I have small, medium and large cast iron pans. I have cast iron that was my great grandmothers, and so well seasoned you never need to oil it. I have brand new cast iron from some cook shop in berkeley ca that my husband carried for miles to get to the car, he complained, but it was worth it - heavy and wonderful in every size my cast iron skillets are the pans i reach for most!

Pots & pans

* 2 10 inch skillets (you'll use this pan most frequently so you should invest in two - a stainless steel skillet with sloping sides and a cast iron with steeper ones

* a 4 quart soup pot, including a lid. Make sure to get a heavy bottom (copper encased is great) to allow for high heat and prevent scorching

* 1 8 quart pot with a lid for boiling pasta, this is essential!! Pasta needs room to cook plus you can always use it as a stock pot

* two 2 1/2 quart pans for sauces, vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice etc

* 9x13 inch baking dish - for yorkshire pudding, lasagna, ziti etc (pyrex is best)

* 8x8 inch pyrex dish (for brownies, etc)

* 11x17 inch baking pan

* a pie plate

* a bundt pan ( for fancy deserts that can make you look like an incredible cook, with so little effort)

Kitchen Tools

* Colander
* Rack or pan for cooling
* cutting board (butcher block if possible)
* cups to measure
* grater
* spoons to measure
* mixing spoons, metal and wood
* rubber spatula
* kitchen shears
* whisk
* wooden spoons
* tongs
* peeler
* meat pounder
* stainless steel mixing bowls in many sizes

A ridiculously basic pantry

* anchovies
* artichoke hearts
* baking powder
* baking soda
* balsamic vinegar ( aged)
* barbecue sauce
* bread crumbs (italian seasoned)
* brown rice
* beef stock
* chicken stock
* canned crushed or petite diced tomatoes
* couscous
* dried mushrooms
* hot sauce
* extra virgin olive oil
* dried pasta of many sizes and shapes
* roasted red bell peppers
* prepared salsa
* soy sauce
* sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
* terriyaki sauce
* oyster sauce
* tuna fish
* sesame oil
* cannola oil
* cooking spray
* white wine vinegar
* white rice
* wild rice


the best tool of all, keep em clean and keep em active - reach for that salt and that pepper, season, season and season and mix and mix and mix and ALWAYS taste!!

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