Four or Five Necessities

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Chief Longwind Of The North

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For all of you who have yet to create the perfect kitchen, I believe there are five or six necessities, not including a quality sink. I invite all seasoned cooks on this site to give their views on this topic as well.

Now don't get me wrong. There are many items that are very handy, and that a kitchen should have. But when you are puting together your first kitchen, and you have very little money, these are what you buy first.

1. One great multi-purpose knife, like a chef's knife
2. One ten inch cast-iron fry pan, Lodge/Wagner/Griswold quality
3. One 2 quart sauce pan, preferably high quality stainless try-ply steel
4. One high quality cooktop with an accurate oven
5. One stock-pot
6. One 6 quart stainless try-ply steel covered pot for soups and stews, or a similar sized dutch oven.

This, of course, does not include stiring spoons, spatulas, cake turners, tongs, whisks, etc.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
 

JRsTXDeb

Senior Cook
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Sep 27, 2004
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108
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So. Texas
Agree with all the above. I need a good stock pot (??? size is best) and a quality dutch oven [hoping for a LeCrueset, since they are about $50 cheaper at the BX!] Only thing I would add is that if there is a history of iron overload in family - either side - forget about the cast iron....no need to tempt fate. [my soapbox!] Am currently shopping for an alternative - hoping to find a good 14" skillet at restuarant supply - anodized, riveted etc....
 

Claire

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remember that you can usually do something small in a large pot, but there is no way you can fit a gallon into a quart container. I would personally add a nonstick skillet, and this can be very cheap. You just throw it away when it displeases you, they are so inexpensive. Mom used to buy very cheap ones, then when summer came around and we went camping, they went along with us and she just threw them away at the end of the season (they'd cooked over open fires and were totally blackened). Yes, I know the cast iron skillet supposedly can do everything and more than the teflon skillet, but I haven't had a lot of luck with cast iron (in humid areas they can rust, and every one I've owned has, no matter how I season, oil, etc) and they aren't real great on some electric stoves. That teflon will see you through thick and thin, and when you toss it (I just did toss two after a bad cuban sandwich experience), you aren't going to shed any tears.
 

Andy M.

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Goodweed:

This is hard to do!

I guess if you list a knife, you had better list a cutting board! Then what do you take off the list to make room for it?

I would replace the cast iron skillet with a tri-ply stainless. That's my preference.

BTW, you listed 6 items. See, I told you this was hard! :D :D :D
 

subfuscpersona

Sous Chef
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I would add stainless steel mixing bowls. One of them should fit comfortably in the 2 quart sauce pan so then you get a double boiler.
 

Claire

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Now that we're mentioning mixing bowls, rather than that I'd vote for a quart (actually two quart is better) pyrex measuring "cup". It works for everything from mixing bowl to heating soups and stews.

I lived in a very small travel trailer for 3 years, going from place to place, and had to pare my kitchen down to as little as possible. People we'd run into were amazed that I continued to turn out good, mostly-from-scratch meals from my miniscule kitchen. My staples for mixing/storing bowls were a 1, 2, 4, and 8 cup pyrex measuring cups. I've mixed up pancake batter and made and baked casseroles in them, and they're great for nuking leftovers. They pulled yeoman's duties, and are still in my kitchen today.
 

Claire

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If we're talking cutting boards, if you can only have one, go for a white plastic one (don't remember the name of the plastic, but you know what I mean), about a foot square. The white is good (because it lets you know when something is wrong), but the plastic is what works in this case. On a weekly basis I'd take the board and my coffee cups, and sanitize by soaking in a bleach solution. Took care of the sink, any stained china or plastic products, and the cutting board in one fell swoop.
 

Claire

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If space is at a minimum, and cost is important, buy a set of very plain white corelle dinner ware. It stood up to three years in a trailer, and with a nice set of napkins and such, look great. You can buy lids for the bowls at outlet stores, and you have one more bonus. Even now I love them for the fact that when my guest list outstraps my china, I can put these simple, thin, white plates on the table and they work (use one simple plate at every other place setting, or at strategically placed places among the china). They are sturdy and thin (ironstone and other clay based settings are lovely, but take up a lot of space and are very fragile). My baby sister bought this for me when I moved into the trailer, and I thank her for it on a regular basis. It's still our "every day" dishes, and mixes with the good china very well.
 

Claire

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Oh, on the stockpot subject, do NOT buy aluminum. I made that mistake the first time around and did not realize that it discolors and isn't good for anything with tomatoes in it. It was a good quality, too; think I bought it at a restaurant supply store. Ironically, when I sold everything I owned to go live on the road, all of my kitchen ware, even the cheap "mistake" knives and aluminum stock pot, were snatched up by a local restaurant owner! Once we resettled, I bought a good quality stainless steel stock pot (not as big as the aluminum one, though), and am happier with it.
 

masteraznchefjr

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Sep 2, 2004
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UCLA
hmmm my kitchen stuff i have been using for a long time.

1. 2 qt pot
2. cast iron pan that is 12 inches wide 6 inches deep.
3. Flat non stick pan that is about 10 inches wide
4. Chinese stove top. - big flame 8 inch high flames.
5. 1 large knife - my multi purpose knife about balde 4 inches high 6 1/2 inches long
6. stock pot

instead of buying a spatula, whisks, etc, get use to using chopsticks to cook everything
 

choclatechef

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No, no chopsticks. If I had to eat with them I would starve to death, and if I had to cook with them......well, it would not be pretty

Cast iron chicken fryer
Chef knife
Paring Knife
8 qt Enameled cast iron dutch oven
Stainless steel 2 or 3 qt saucepan
 

Claire

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Once upon a time, many years ago, as teenagers, one of my sisters and I decided to go on a chop sticks diet. We could eat whatever we wanted, as long as we ate it with chop sticks. I don't remember what the results were for sis, but in my case ... I became GREAT at eating with chop sticks. So good that while eating in Honolulu's china town with two Chinese friends (who were sisters), one observed me eating oxtail soup (I was eating the meat off of the bone using chopsticks), and said something to her sister. They giggled, and of course I asked my friend what her sister said. She thought for a few minutes and translated that I ate more elegantly than anyone she'd ever seen (she and her sister needed the assistance of their fingers to nibble off the bone). Quite often when living there I got comments on my skill. When I tell people how I learned, they crack up. A real foodie can get around any obstacle to get to good food!
 

Chopstix

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Alton Brown's Basic Culinary Toolbox consists of the following (from this book 'I'm Just Here for the Food':) Too bad I can't type in his many invaluable comments about each of these items...)

Knives (8-inch Asian style cleaver, a semi-flexible boning knife, a French-style paring knife, a serrated electric knife, and a 12-in cimeter)
12-inch Cast-Iron Skillet
5-Quart Casserole
8-inch Teflon-Coated Fry Pan ($12)
3-Quart Saucier with lid
12-inch Saute Pan with lid
Dutch Oven
10-inch Stainless-Steel Fry Pan
8 to 12 Quart Stock Pot
Electric Skillet
Tongs
Cooling Rack
Heat-Resistant Rubber Spatulas
Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel Bowl with a Nearly round bottom
Digital Scale
Thermometers
Salad Spinner
Cutting Boards
Spray Bottles
Side Towels
 

pdswife

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Nov 4, 2004
Messages
20,334
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Mazatlan
Kitchen needs

Your lists are all great!

I have a few knifes I couldn't live with out
and a few large bowls and fry pans of good quality...

but, the most important thing I have is a husband that
cleans up after me! hehehhe
 

subfuscpersona

Sous Chef
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Aug 31, 2004
Messages
561
re Alton Brown's Basic Culinary Toolbox

The list is good except
- electric skillet (why? there are already skillets for the stove)
- salad spinner (I haven't used mine in years)

I personally don't like electric knives.
 

Lifter

Washing Up
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Jun 26, 2004
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Lots of great "last minute gifts" here for Christmas!

And ones that will "count" as they are all so useful!

Lifter
 

Chopstix

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subfuscpersona said:
re Alton Brown's Basic Culinary Toolbox

The list is good except
- electric skillet (why? there are already skillets for the stove)
- salad spinner (I haven't used mine in years)

I personally don't like electric knives.

Let me quote from AB --

"An electric skillet is a must-have because of its versatility. It's got a vast, open, non-stick plain just begging for pancakes, fried eggs, bacon, free-form crepes, pan-seared steak, and more. The thermostat keeps the oil at just the right temp for frying too. And best of all, even top of the line models rarely cost more than thirty dollars. When shopping, look for a 12-inch model with a calibrated thermostat, sturdy design, and a tall tight-fitting lid with an adjustable steam vent.

If I want a steak and it's too hot in the kitchen already and I don't have time to fire up the grill, I'll take my eletric skillet out on the screened-in porch and sear away from the comfort of my lounge chair. Not all out-of-kitchen cooking experiences have to involve a grill. I'm a big fan of electricity. The skillet comes with a stove-top model. What I like about the electrical angle is control and convenience. All these devices come with thermostats, so I don't have to fiddle around too much with heat maintenance."

On the Salad Spinner

"Moisture on your salad greens is good, but moisture on the greens is bad." Usine centrifgal force, a good salad spinner is the best way to dry greens fast..."
 

buckytom

Chef Extraordinaire
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chopstix, i love the signature line. to me that's the definition of perception... and life is nothing but a perception...
 

Psiguyy

Sous Chef
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
843
Goodweed of the North said:
1. One great multi-purpose knife, like a chef's knife
2. One ten inch cast-iron fry pan, Lodge/Wagner/Griswold quality
3. One 2 quart sauce pan, preferably high quality stainless try-ply steel
4. One high quality cooktop with an accurate oven
5. One stock-pot
6. One 6 quart stainless try-ply steel covered pot for soups and stews, or a similar sized dutch oven.

This, of course, does not include stiring spoons, spatulas, cake turners, tongs, whisks, etc.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Goodweed, I like your list, but I don't think I can do without at least one non-stick frying pan. Sometimes, I just don't want to fry with so much oil or I'm frying a thin piece of fish that just won't release from a stainless steel pan until it's over cooked.

As for the cast iron frying pan, I like my 12" pan the most. I generally use my 8" and 12" the most.

The stock pot, I'd get one with a basket insert so it can serve triple duty not only as a stock pot, but as a pasta pot and a steamer.
 

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