Kitchen Cure Week 2: Pots, Pans & Utensils
For the last couple of weeks, I have been participating in the Kitchen Cure – a 6 week process of streamlining, decluttering and organizing the kitchen. Each week, participants are given an assignment to complete towards this goal. We are currently in week 2. Read about Week 1, here.
Over the past week, I’ve weeded out my pots, pans, bakeware and utensils. I know I’m really lucky – I have a big kitchen with lots of space. But there are two downsides: 1) because there’s a lot of room, organization falls by the wayside and things really get jumbled, and 2) although it’s large, it’s not very efficient. The cabinets are 30 years old, desperately need to be replaced and while sturdy, are definitely not built for today’s cook. Going through the cabinets and drawers really reminds me of #2, quite painfully. I pine for new cabinets! (he he, get it? pine? …. never mind)
I neglected to get a before picture of my cookware cabinet, but the most dramatic change anyway is the bakeware cabinet. You can see how much better it is now!
And of course, anytime you leave cabinet doors open at my house, this is what happens:
After just having gone through my pots and pans, I ran across an article on Cook’s Illustrated called The Ideal Cookware Set, A La Carte. They list the 7 pots and pans all cooks should have and the specific brands they recommend. That got me to thinking about how their list would compare with other lists out there on the Internet – I know they’re everywhere. So I did a little research. Here are some articles on this topic that I found:
- Basic Kitchen Equipment at About.com
- Essential Kitchen Tools: A Roundup of Basics at TheKitchn.com
- Shopping for Pots & Pans at BHG.com
- A No Frills Kitchen Still Cooks by Mark Bittman at NYTimes.com
There were tons more, but these seemed to sum it up. Some said you need less, some more and Mark Bittman recommended saving money by buying inexpensive cookware at a restaurant supply store rather than buying big name products. By contrast, Cook’s Illustrated and Fine Cooking both recommended various top brands ranging from $50 – $200+ per pan.
I don’t think the most expensive pan I own was even $50, but I have to admit that I am really curious about All-Clad. Everyone raves about how good they are, but they are so expensive. Can they really be worth it?
What’s your setup? Inexpensive or top of the line? Are you willing to fork over the cash for a high quality brand or do you think the cheap stuff works just as well?