One question I’m often asked by home cooks centers around equipment. ‘What do I need in my kitchen?’ The answer is actually very simple. Certainly, you can go to XYZ Kitchen store and buy every gadget under the sun(also investing in some storage space would be smart!). If you are one of those ‘buy every gadget’ folks, I’m happy for you. If you are someone who is just looking to build a solid array of kitchen equipment, this post is for you.
For a lot of people, cooking is more than just putting food on the table, it’s a hobby, it’s a stress release, it’s a way to share family time. You can also think of cooking and the tools used to cook as family heirlooms. If you buy the right equipment, you will be able to pass it down from generation to generation. Pots, pans, knives, whisks….all of these things, when purchased properly, are very durable and will stand the test of time.
Recently, I was at a local antique store and noticed a huge amount of cast iron pans and voila….that’s the inspiration for this post. A good cast iron pan or two is worth its weight in gold.(and I saw some great pans for under $20 which is significantly cheaper than gold) In fact, any kitchen equipment you can find that is cast iron is a great find.(Lodge is a great current manufacturer) I like cast iron because it is very versatile. It heats evenly and when properly treated can act as the best non-stick pan you’ll own.
The biggest key is to stop buying ‘disposable’ cooking equipment simply for the sake of ‘having it’. You can do as much with one great pan and one great knife as you can with a box full of crappy, flimsy pans and a knife that goes dull when faced with a tomato.
As for cleaning, it is imperative that cast iron not get wet. I wipe my pans out with a damp rag after cooking with them and then put them back on the stove on low heat until they are dry. Then I film the pan with a light amount of oil and gently rub the oil over the entire pan. Then they are ready to store!