A FEW WORDS ABOUT KITCHEN EQUIPMENT
An excerpt from:
Boy Eats World: A Private Chef Cooks Simple Gourmet
By David Lawrence
I'm convinced that people shy away from cooking, in part, because they don't have decent kitchen equipment. It's no fun to do anything without the proper tools for the job. I'm not suggesting that you need a kitchen full of expensive, state-of-the-art equipment to make dinner. But you do need a few basics. As a private chef, I've had the opportunity to cook in many home kitchens, and I'm constantly amazed that people will spend major amounts of money remodeling their kitchens, thousands on a new stove, and months deliberating over the perfect wall color, yet they won't invest a couple of hundred dollars on decent kitchen knives. (I always travel with my own set.) Take my advice and sink a few dollars of your hard-earned fortune into a set of high-quality, full-tang kitchen knives. You don't need to buy the most expensive set on the market, but at the very least, purchase a good-quality butcher knife, a paring knife, and a good serrated bread knife. To maintain the quality of your knives, take them to a professional sharpener occasionally, or use a sharpening whetstone at home to keep them razor sharp. If you've ever tried to saw through a tomato or force a dull, flimsy blade through a piece of citrus, then you know how dangerous a dull blade can be. A good set of knives will last a lifetime if properly cared for, and they will become indispensable.
The same is true for cookware. Again, you don't need to buy the most expensive set on the market, but there is nothing worse than cooking with flimsy pots and pans. If you've ever tried it and ended up with less-than-desirable results (burned or scorched food), you see the need to outfit your kitchen with a few good-quality items. To cover the basics, you'll need a frying pan, a flat-bottom saute pan, a 2-gallon stockpot, and two saucepans (1 to 1 1/2 quarts and 3 to 4 quarts). A nonstick skillet is also a good idea; I couldn't live without mine for making omelettes and frittatas. An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven (an ovenproof pot with two handles and a tight-fitting lid) is a bit of an investment and can be added as needed, but it's practically indestructible and will last a lifetime. Look for cookware that is heavy for its size and has a good thick bottom; heat will be distributed more evenly, ensuring better cooking results.
Also, cookware with ovenproof handles is a good idea, so you can take your cooking from stovetop to oven with ease Cooking is so much easier and enjoyable when you start with the right equipment. I promise you, it is well worth the investment. Happy cooking!