This is the first post in a long series in which I plan to discuss the essential tools and supplies for any well stocked kitchen. My friend, Meg, asked me to write this series over a month ago, and I’m just now starting it. I hope it blesses you.
I’ll begin with the very basics: your pots. Without a pot, you couldn’t cook a meal. Granted, without a frying pan you couldn’t fry an egg, and without a bowl, you couldn’t mix, but there has to be a beginning. And this beginning is your pots.
There are a number of different brands, styles, and types of pots on the market. Gregg and I researched for years before we purchased my most recent set. Before then, I made do with pieces of his bachelor set and pieces of my “best I could afford” in my first marriage set. Gregg’s was a mid-line price full set of T-Fal with the non-stick teflon coating. I had a set of Faberware that I bought out of a catalog and paid $20 a month for for what seemed like forever .
When we finally settled on what we wanted to buy, it took us a while to decide to spend the money and save up the required purchase price. But, we decided that we would never have to purchase cookware again since it has a lifetime warranty, and that made the price tag easier to bear.
What we decided on was Calphalon stainless steel cookware. I have since fallen in love with cooking with stainless steel and would never go back to any other kind of standard cookware again. What I long for now is to be able to use the stainless steel on a gas stove so that I fully leverage all of its potential .
With this basic set of Calphalon, I’m able to do anything that would require a pot to cook for my family:
I have a 1½-quart covered saucepan, a 2½-quart covered saucepan, a 4½-quart covered saucepan, a 6-quart covered stockpot, and 6-quart pasta insert (which is one of the coolest things imaginable.)
Beyond frying pans (which are another whole post) I wouldn’t need anything else on a regular basis to cook for my family.
Now, to add to my standard set, I also have the following:
I have this set of stock pots that stack together for storage nicely:
This set contains an 8-quart pot, a 12-quart pot, and a 15-quart pot:
These are great for huge quantities of soups or sauces or sides for feeding large crowds.
I also have this pot:
It’s an 8-quart heavy duty stainless steel stock pot with a steamer basket and/or a pasta insert. I use it to steam everything from broccoli to tamales. It’s wonderful and I would feel lost without it.
And finally, as far as just simple pots go, I have a big 8-quart cast iron pot. I use this to make big batches of chili or beef stew.
Some things just seem to cook better in cast iron.
Next week we’ll look at pans.
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