Cookware For Your Kitchen

Eating can be one of life’s pleasures as well as a necessity.  In order to enjoy our food most of us first need to cook the meal.

It’s easier to prepare a meal if your kitchen is fairly well equipped with the proper cooking vessels.  Just as every kitchen should include a good sharp knife it should also include some basic pots and pans.

Cookware is made of different materials.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  Each needs to be cared for properly and each needs a different type of care.  Generally pans come in cast iron, stainless steel, enamel, aluminum or copper.  They are available in a variety of price ranges and can be purchased either in a set or each pan individually.  Since  you will be using your cookware for many years you should purchase the best pans you can afford.  Cheap cookware can lead to unhappy results when you are cooking food.  It may cook unevenly or burn.

For general frying you will want a frying pan or skillet.  The most popular sizes are  8”, 10” and 12”.  Skillets are available in other sizes as well.  The skillets have flat bottoms and slightly flared rims.  The skillet should conduct uniform heat across the bottom.  Since you often turn the food  you are frying you want a handle that stays cool enough to touch.  A lid to fit your frying pan or skillet will come in handy while you are simmering some foods.

For making large amounts of soups or stews consider a stockpot.  Stockpots are usually larger straight sided pots with lids.  You want the stockpot lid to be flat and not vaulted.  Stockpots have handles on either side.  Be sure your stockpot handles are securely attached to the pot.  You need to be able to lift a heavy filled pot by its handles and be able to pour out the contents.  Stockpots can be used for boiling pasta or potatoes or cooking rice or corn on the cob.

Saucepans are similar to stockpots, but they are smaller and generally have just the one long handle.  They too can be used for smaller amounts of soup or stews, rice, pasta or potatoes.  They can be used for vegetables, boiling eggs or simmering liquids. Saucepans are available in a number of different sizes to meet every individual need.

Woks are pans shaped like a basin with two looped handles on either side.  These can be used for steaming and are usually used for stir-fry meals.

Dutch ovens are very heavy pots with tight fitting lids.  You can use these for slow cooking either on the stovetop or in the oven.  Dutch ovens make flavorful stews and soups as well as cooking delicious tender meat recipes.

If you are just starting to furnish a kitchen and have a limited budget you might want to start with a skillet and a fair size saucepan and then add more pans as you are able to afford them.