What Is A Well Equipped Kitchen?
A Well Equipped Kitchen
What is a well equipped kitchen? A well equipped kitchen has the necessary items that are needed for the preparation and serving of the foods you and your family enjoy. Having these necessary tools makes this whole process an easier, more enjoyable one. Having what you need in the kitchen can make cooking or baking a pleasure rather than a chore. When you can flow from one task to another with ease, it is like a listening to a beautiful melody. There is a satisfaction in not only beginning and completing your meal, but doing it well. When you have a well equipped kitchen, the number of steps you take in food preparation will be fewer, you'll use less energy, and your clean up will be easier.
Let's start with the basics: utensils. If you use a lot of non-stick pans, it is important to have a good number of wood or silicone utensils. Using these will extend the life of your pans. Make sure that when you purchase them, choose heat resistant options, if available.
The utensils I consider "a must" are as follows: A pancake turner (we call them spatulas) as well as a rubber scraper; a slotted spoon; a long sturdy wooden spoon for things like spaghetti
sauce, or soup; kitchen shears; a peeler; a box grater and a microplane.
For measuring ingredients, it is important to have measuring spoons, dry measuring cups, and a liquid measuring cup. I have several sets of each so I don't have to wash one out if measuring something sticky or gooey.
Knives are one of the most important items you choose for your well equipped kitchen. So much of our food preparation involves using a knife of one type or another. Whether it be a chef's knife for chopping, or a paring knife for peeling, a quality knife will make your job more comfortable and more efficient, especially if you have a large family like I do! Choose the best quality knife you can afford. Research the characteristics of different brands. See what fits most comfortably in your hands. You will need, at minimum, a decent sized chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. Also, a boning knife will come in quite handy. My favorite knife, though, is the Santoku knife, made popular by Rachel Ray of Food Network fame. This knife's design requires less motion, making it a wonderfully efficient knife for chopping and dicing.
If you have invested in a quality knife set, please consider investing in a knife sharpener and a sharpening steel. These will help keep your blade sharp and in good condition, which is extremely important.
Pots and Pans
Pots and pans are very personal choices. One person may love his non-stick skillet, while another may love her cast iron skillet. My choice? One of each, of course! Truthfully, I love my cast iron skillets, and use them daily. I love that fact that they are healthier to use than non-stick, and if well taken care of, will last forever. That being said, it is difficult to not grab that non-stick pan when making eggs, for example. Some things are just easier that way.
For my family of 8, I find that several 12 inch skillets are necessary, along with a 10 inch and even a small 6.5 inch. I would not be without a good sized stock pot for homemade soups, or large pots of pasta. A saucepan is definitely a useful pan, as well as a Dutch Oven, which I use frequently. A small saucier comes in handy, even just for making garlic butter.
How about a roaster? Yes! I use mine quite often. There is nothing quite like a roasted chicken full of garlic and herbs. A few casseroles are quite useful. You will find that these are great for casseroles (hence the name), lasagnas, or brownies. And you can use these for serving as well.
I do quite a bit of baking for my family. I have loaf pans, muffin tins, pie pans and cake pans, and cookie sheets. You can determine which of these you may need depending on what you like to bake!
Small appliances, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.... Really. Small appliances may not be considered a necessity. Let's take my food processor. Honestly, I could chop everything by hand. But wow, what a time saver. I make fresh salsa in minutes, thanks to this handy gadget! I use different blades with my processor to do things like slice or grate. Want to make au gratin potatoes? Use your slicing blade and slice pounds of potatoes- nice and thin- in minutes.
How about a blender? Yep, gotta have it! I actually have a Bosch Universal, probably my favorite small appliance. It has a large bowl for mixing and kneading, and an attached blender. All you could want in one unit!
This appliance is so often overlooked, but definitely a go-to for me What is it? A hand held mixer. For some reason, I grab this little one more often than you would think. Hand held mixers can be quite reasonably priced too.
Crockpot? You'll be glad you did. Another time saver, a crockpot can help you put on a healthy, homemade dinner even if you are gone all day! Forget the drive thru, get a crock pot!
Again, these small appliances may seem like a luxury, but believe me, they will pay for themselves in short order. You will wonder how you ever did without these wonderful helpers!
It is important to mention the significance of organization for your well equipped kitchen. You may already have a full kitchen, with all kinds of utensils, gadgets, and appliances. You may have tons of storage, and more rubber spatulas that you know what to do with. But unless your kitchen is organized in a way that flows seamlessly, you will still be hunting around for things in the middle of food preparation, or while your guests sit at your table waiting to be served.
In order to keep myself organized, I classify sections of my kitchen according to the job that needs to be done. One long counter is called my baking section. On the counter rests my Bosch Universal, Grain Mill, and a small food chopper. Underneath the counter stores all my baking pans and tins, and mixing bowls. My drawer holds my measuring cups and spoons. This keeps everything in one area, making these things easy to find.
Between the stove and the sink is my food prep area. This counter holds my cooking utensils and knives. My skillets, pans, and cutting boards are right underneath this counter. This makes food prep easy and quick. I can open my drawer, pull out my favorite knife, chop up some onions and peppers, and have them sauteing in minutes.
Use cabinets that are high up to house things you don't need often, such as your Christmas platter, or waffle maker.
The most important ingredient to your well equipped kitchen, though, is you! Make sure your space reflects your priorities, and your personality, and you'll be sure to enjoy your time there!