As we have already discussed this, even if your budget doesn’t allow you to equip yourself just like a professional caterer, you will have to invest a minimum to cook in good condition, otherwise, you can take the risk to be discouraged before you even start anything.
The necessary equipment to start cooking seriously
Without engaging yourself in reckless spending, you should equip yourself with at least:
- 2 or 3 cooking pots of different sizes, with lids if possible
- A sieve
- 1 or 2 bowls
- A cast iron casserole: check this article to learn more about the benefit of cooking with cast iron cookware
- A stainless steel pan with a thick bottom
- 1 or 2 wooden spoons
- A pressure cooker (If you are reluctant to invest, you should borrow one from a friend for a try)
- A rectangular baking dish
- 1 or 2 anto-slip pot holders so you can safely manipulate warm pots and baking dish straight out of the oven
- A chopping board
About electrical utensils, you should equip yourself with at least an electric blender. No need to invest in major equipment for this, a first price blender is more than enough.
The same goes for the mixer. Just make sure it is equipped with two whips (to beat) and 2 hooks (for the preparation of pastry dough).
In any case, if you’re at the stage where you don’t know if you really like cooking (you should!), we recommend that you don’t ruin yourself with equipment and appliances. Don’t pay for utensils if you hesitate about the more expensive, just like the pressure cooker or cast iron casserole, which can represent a large investment.
Essential Ingredients and spices you should always have in the kitchen
About the essential ingredients and spices to have in your kitchen, have a check in your drawers and complete if applicable:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Garlic (also available in powder)
- Grey Pepper, and your seasoning from the pepper mill, the 5 pepper bay mix is divine
- Herbs of Provence
- Bay leaves (usually sold in bags at the spices corner in all grocery stores)
- Fennel branches (in the spice corner too). Or just pick some fresh branches and let them dry.
A good cook has a good knife
After that, depending on what you cook, you will need a good kitchen knife with its effective and superior cutting edge which doesn’t requires superhuman efforts to cut ingredients properly. A good chef knife is much more convenient to cut raw meat or shellfish than an ordinary knife with a knife. We remind you that a knife that cuts badly is more dangerous than very well sharpened one. Always work on a cutting board which is perfectly stable.
Get serious about handling and quality of utensils
Indeed, some low-end utensils encounter handles mounting problems after a while and can cause serious accidents.
The materials used for the manufacture of certain utensils resent heat and deform quickly or take the game handles burn rapidlyif the flame passes from the bottom and disintegrate with heat. Think about it while shopping.
Remember that you will have to handle a pan of boiling water from your stove to another point of your kitchen. I let you imagine if the handle breaks off at that time.
In any case, remember to secure your children or to ensure that the cat is not in your legs during such maneuvers. Remember that cooking is an art, and all art depends on what one is willing to invest in it.
About cooking durations
Now a little word about cooking times that are indicated on recipes. They are generally given as accurate as possible, but they may vary slightly depending on your hand, the adjustment and the quality of your stove or oven. However, be careful, when “simmer over low heat for x minutes” is specified in a recipe, don’t try to save time by heating with full power, the flavor of the dish could be significantly impaired, with the added risk of burn or catch in the bottom of the pan.
Where to find good and cheap vegetables
To develop recipes, depending of your ability, try to find the best vegetables possible. Here’s a small guide on how to find good fruit and vegetable for cheap.
In small markets of villages or neighborhoods, you can easily find one or more products vendors that will sell you much better vegetables which are often cheaper than supermarkets.
It’s up to you to try and compare. In practice, you will quickly make the difference. Depending of the location you can find open markets every day of the week from Monday to Sunday. If you never have visited small markets, you will discover an atmosphere that you will definitely like, as it’s part of the kitchen pleasures.
Also think about local organic farms that practice some retailing: they often sell directly to the consumer. They offer you a full basket of fruits and vegetables for a fixed price every week. It’s a surprise every time so you will plan your meals according to what they brought you! So you’ll be encouraged to vary your meal regularly and that’s a good point!
Photography by Kruder396