In most “learn to cookbooks” there is a MAHOOSIVE list 10 miles long explaining what equipment is essential in a kitchen. I am fully aware as they are when they write it that most people don’t have the resources to purchase everything on the list or if like us you live in a 1 bedroom box with very little storage space allowed for a kitchen then nowhere to keep it all either.
I am hoping to help you guys out over a few posts over a couple of posts to be able to put some of this to rest. I am going to do individual posts on different types of equipment, give you what they say, offer alternatives and also set you on the right path if you want to expand your kitchen equipment. I will make each post so its set as basic, average, homecook and professional, this way depending on what you might feel you are ready for you can choose, also this means that you can learn the next step and prepare yourself if you wish to purchase other items.
Ok so rules of purchasing equipment.
PURCHASE THE BEST YOU CAN
This of course doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, just shop around a bit, put a savings plan aside for bits you have on your wish list and one by one knock them off your list. Don’t be scared to purchase second hand the amount of bargains I have been able to get on cooking equipment over the years is bonkers.
STAY AWAY FROM CHEAP PLASTIC, SILICON AND CHEAP NON STICK PANS
Plastic utensils are a waste of your precious resources. They have a low melting point and not only cannot be recycled but are nearly impossible to find an extra use for them afterwards. The smoke they give off while melting is also not exactly healthy. If you shop about a bit you can find a similarly priced metal or wooden/bamboo set of the same utensils. When looked after properly wooden utensils can last a lifetime as can metal ones. Purchasing cheap plastic or silicon ones have a tendancy to be a false economic choice as you tend to end up having to replace the burnt or broken ones far more often than if you looked after a good set of metal or wooden ones.
Purchasing metal utensils at the end of the day is the best option, but only purchase the ones that are an all in one utensil. so no plastic or wooden handle, that is their weak point and if they are going to break that’ll be where it happens.
Cheap non stick pans will last you, one maybe 5 uses if you’re lucky before the sprayed on coating comes off. That stuff is nasty, you don’t want it in your food and you certainly don’t want it in you!!! If you are determained to purchase a non stick pan then purchase a good one. One that doesn’t have a spray on coating. One with a red dot in the middle and has a texture that looks like cast iron on the inside is a much safer option. (I’m not giving names of brands unless they pay me stoopid amounts of money, even then I’ll probably tell em to bog off!!!)
Every proper stainless steel pan if looked after and used correctly is non stick. If you have trouble with that then stick with me. for a bit longer and I can show you. Stainless steel catering pans which are easily purchased in a local catering equipment shop, market stall or even Asian grocery store is far better quality than most of what you will find in the local department stores or supermarkets. They are also a comparable price. Catering pans are built to put with the harshest of treatment on a daily basis, most restaurants have theirs for years and years and years and tend only to replace one every now and again, this means for home use they will last a lifetime.
The other option for pans etc are cast iron or enamelled cast iron, I used to have a cast iron pot but it was nicked, enamel is good too but you have to be gentle even though they take alot of battering.
JUST BECAUSE IT’S PRETTY DOESN’T MEAN ITS WORTH IT
You go into any shop now that has a kitchen section and you will find matching things in fashionable colours and shapes depending on the social mood. Most of them aren’t worth the money. Some of them can be but you need to do your homework first.
It is honestly a better investment to paint the cupboard doors in most cases than to purchasing matching items for the kitchen because they look cool. It took me a while to learn this one really, like everyone I’d see a kitchen item with a famous chefs name on it and thought “it must be good” then it would break in less than a week and I was lumbered with an expensive useless piece of cr@p.
I will admit a local department store had a small collection of Unicorn baking things and yes I now have them, metal unicorn cookie cutters a couple of unicorn spatulas and 2 silicon cake tins one of a rainbow and one of a unicorns head. Honestly though I will only use them for special or when I need to add a little more glitter to my life. There’s alot of that already so not often, so even I get caught sometimes.
THE BOTTOM LINE …
Don’t impulse buy, do your homework and research everything.
Do what is right for you, in your space with your pennies and be smart about it.
Just because it’s in your supermarket or expensive department store doesn’t make it worth it or truly fit for purpose.
If in doubt check with the actual experts, chefs, cooks, people who sell them their equipment, the Asian grocery stores and indoor market stalls, they may make alot of cheap cr@p for the rest of the world but their woks and equipment can be passed down through generations; it’s that good if looked after properly.
Oh wait, I’m sorry, yeah this is our kitchen and our utensil pots, the picture was taken by me at stoopid o’clock this morning when I decided that I didn’t want to use stock pics.
As you can see there is my Unicorn spatula, to be fair we didn’t have one at that point (a spatula) and it is actually pretty well made with a very heavy duty wooden handle.
I’m going to shush now, I have no need to explain my choices further… you aren’t my Mum!!! Imma human pixie dammit I have needs!!!