Kitchen Equipment and Utensils
Although it would be
wrong for me to give you specific recommendations on the best and most reliable
items of equipment to use in the kitchen, I can give you the fors and againsts, and do’s and don’t’s on some of them together with my recommendations of those that
I find helpful, and those I couldn’t possibly live without!
I will also give the sizes of some of the most commonly available basic tins, baking trays and saucepans etc. When it comes down to
it though, it really is your personal choice, dependent on how much time you
are going to spend cooking, how adventurous you want to be, and just how far
your budget can stretch, but please don’t fall into the trap of buying cheap,
flimsy equipment for every day use, it honestly won’t last long, substantial
tins and saucepans really will go on for practically a life time if you clean
and care for them properly.
Whether you choose non-stick versions or not is up to you. Many of the new non-stick
coatings are excellent, they are scratch resistant, making them suitable to use
with metal utensils, and can be cleaned with just warm soapy water, designed
for use in ovens and dishwashers too. However, you really do get what you pay
for so please choose wisely.
Make absolutely certain that if you have an induction hob, the saucepans that you buy are suitable as many of the hard core enamel and aluminium are not. Food will stick and burn on to thin aluminium
pans when frying.
I would advise that before buying any kitchenware impulsively, you visit your local hardware store
and gain as much hands-on knowledge as you can. Pick up and experience the weight and thickness of as many makes
and sizes of different manufacturers products as possible, but go with definite
ideas of what you need immediately, (right now), to get you up and running, leaving the less practical gadgets for
another time. Believe me, I have bought
so many useless things like herb mills and teabag squeezers etc., of little practical use, just taking up
cupboard space, before eventually being thrown away!
When buying saucepans, my advice, which
isn’t set in stone by any means, would be to go for professional grade
stainless steel with toughened bonded bases where layers of material are sandwiched together to give even heat
distribution. Baking sheets and roasting tins should be sturdy, have raised edges with easy grip rims, large
enough to handle safely and securely.
Cake tins and loaf tins should again be deep enough and of sturdy construction, they mostly come with nonstick
coatings, but please, whatever you do buy good quality every time or they will
simply buckle at high temperatures.
If you’re unable to visit a good store, there is no reason at all why you
shouldn’t buy directly from one of the many good online stockists, I can
particularly recommend QVC who also sell via the telephone and give very good
demonstrations of their goods on the television. Their whole “Cooks Essentials” range is well worth investigating
as their saucepans, in particular, are a good depth, which is an important factor when boiling or steaming fruit and
vegetables on top of the stove. Some of this range are oven safe and suitable for dishwashers too. They also offer a 30 day, no quibble, money
back guarantee, so you are under no obligation to keep them, if, when they arrive home, you find they are not what you expected.
Another good online and telephone company are Lakeland Limited in Cumbria. A wide range of
excellent quality items can be bought there, and, once again, you can return
the goods if they are unsuitable with no questions asked.