We talk a lot about food here– recipes, ingredients, regional cuisine– but one thing that’s as important to your cooking as any ingredient is your kitchenware. High quality cookware, appliances, knives and utensils can make or break your food! So without further ado, here are Five Tips for Buying Kitchenware, from knives to appliances:
- Don’t Cheap Out: Many people are inclined to buy cheap cookware when they are first getting started with cooking for themselves. This is a BIG mistake! Why? Well, if you buy good cookware or knives, they will last forever and you may even pass them on to your kids. Knives in particular are a great example of this–even cheap ones will last a long time, but you’ll have to deal with constantly resharpening and they’ll never be as good as a set of good knives. Rather than spending $100 on a full set of cheap knives, invest in one or two quality blades like Wusthof. Can’t beat the Germans for quality!
- Buy Brands with a Rep: For example, Kitchenaid mixers are a kitchen staple– your mom probably has one. They’re awesome, and if you follow directive #1, you will get a mixer that you may not replace for decades.
- Heavy is Good: I’ve found that all the best things in my kitchen are heavy: cast iron pans, ceramic baking dishes, solid wood cutting boards, quality knives. Light stuff doesn’t last, and it tends to transmit heat unevenly when you’re talking about cookware. For bowls and cutting boards, heavy ones stay where you put them, while light ones slide around.
- No Gimmicks: Alton Brown has a fabulous cooking show, and one of the things he does regularly is talk about “uni-tasker” appliances and how useless they are. Avoid buying things that do only one thing, and avoid buying things with a silly gimmick. If you buy good basics, you won’t need the gimmicks! They’re typically overpriced and break easily, too.
- Think About the Sink: No matter what you buy, you ARE going to have to wash it. It’s always good to consider how hard things are to wash when you’re making a purchase. Fold-flat whisks are not only easy to store, they’re also easy to wash– a great combination. Non-stick can be great, but when you really make a mess of them, you can’t use harsh scrubbers to clean them up (if you’re going to buy non-stick, follow directive #1 and buy the metal-coated ones. It’s worth it). My cast iron pans, when properly oiled after washing, are nearly as non-stick as actual non-stick items. I just run hot water into them until the pan itself is warm, then wipe off with a scrubby sponge.
I hope these tips for buying better kitchenware, knives, cookware, etc. have inspired you to invest in a few top-notch items for your kitchen. If you have any other tips for buying good knives and kitchenware, please share them in the comments!