Selecting a Basic Set of Cookware

It doesn't take a huge set of cookware to be able to make most recipes. You can cook up a storm with just a few basic pots and pans.

Tips for Selecting Cookware:

  • Nonstick surfaces such as Teflon or Silverstone work well but are usually necessary only in sauté pans. Use only wooden or coated utensils when using nonstick surfaces and never place these pans in the dishwasher.
  • Here's a tip: Look for basic cookware from restaurant-supply sources. Restaurants use inexpensive but solidly made cookware.

Selecting your Cookware:

  1. Assess your needs. Basic cookware is fine for those who mostly cook for themselves and don't go gourmet too often.
  2. Choose a 9- or 10-inch skillet or sauté pan, a 4- or 5-quart pot and a baking or roasting pan to start. You can cook most recipes with these three items.
  3. Add to your basic set with an extra sauté pan, a 1- or 2-quart saucepan and a larger 8- or 10-quart stockpot.
  4. Avoid plastic handles if possible - some brands are made to withstand lower oven temperatures, but many others can't be put in the oven.
  5. Choose cookware with riveted or welded handles. You don't want a handle coming off in your hands as you attempt to remove a pot from the stove.
  6. Choose stainless steel or thick aluminum cookware if possible. Heavier pans conduct heat more evenly.
  7. Start out with a spatula, tongs, a vegetable peeler and a few wooden spoons as your basic cooking utensils.
  8. Be sure to get at least one good, sharp knife.

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