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What is a reasonable amount to spend on equipping a kitchen?

Fanta Cook Aug 28, 2007 12:14 AM

I only plan to cook for myself so I don't need hug equipment or anything but I'm confused as how much should I spend...

I'm just starting to learn cooking, well I barely can but I want to learn. However, looking at Amazon, I could easily spend anywhere from ~100 for a cooking set to 500 dollars or more. I can go up to 500 but I don't want to unless I know I need to, I don't want to buy everything then regret that I wasted money.

Thanks a lot for any help. :)

  1. m
    mpalmer6c Sep 18, 2007 09:51 PM

    The Mark Bittman article referred to by Ccbweb, once available onl ywith a fee, is free as of Sept. 19. IMO, it's excellent.

    1. f
      Fanta Cook Sep 4, 2007 02:19 AM

      One last thing - pasta. it was recommended to me in a thread here to get a 4/5 quart sauce pan for pasta but is this big enough? I asked somewhere else and was told that pasta needs a lot of water and that I need a big pot, just googling this provides more results supporting this.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fanta Cook
        cecilia Sep 4, 2007 06:07 AM

        I use an 8-quart stock pot. I put in about 6 quarts of water. There's enough for 4 - 6 portions of pasta. If you are only cooking for 1 or 2 people, then you should be able to get away with just a 5 quart sauce pan. The key is to make sure the water is boiling the whole time, and to make sure you stir.

        1. re: Fanta Cook
          MakingSense Sep 12, 2007 09:56 PM

          Get a stock pot, whether you use it for pasta or not. Good to have for making soup, boiling a chicken, lots of other things. An 8-qt should do just fine.
          And a colander that you can drain things in as well as using to wash produce. A metal one is better than plastic because you can place it over a pot of boiling water to steam something or keep something warm.
          When I cook pasta for 1 or 2 people (2 oz serving per person), I use a 2 1/2 qt saucepan and it works just fine. For more than that, you'll have the stockpot.

        2. m
          mpalmer6c Sep 4, 2007 12:36 AM

          Unfortunately, the Bittman article mentioned below is available only to TimeSelect subscribers. In summary, he pointed out that restaurant basics are much less expensive than high-end retail stuff (for instance, a plastic-handled Dexter-Russell chef's knife for $10;, 3 stainless-stee bowls, $5 total; small, medium andl arge aluminum saucepans, $30 for all 3). He priced the stuff at a restaurant supply store; some stores also have Web sites.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mpalmer6c
            EastBayMike Sep 10, 2007 08:21 AM

            Through iTunes, you can get the podcast video (without TimesSelect). Everything you need to know.

            It was impressive, I sent the article to two nephews -- one just graduated from college and one just became a freshman. Good info.

          2. f
            Fanta Cook Sep 3, 2007 05:40 PM

            Thanks for the replies, I've just got one more question - I read that you need to replace nonstick skillets every once in a while - would buying an expensive one mean I won't have to worry about that for at least 2-3 years? And thanks again for all the help. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fanta Cook
              ccbweb Sep 3, 2007 05:48 PM

              A high quality non-stick (calphalon's higher end stuff or all-clad or other similarly well made) properly cared for will last for years and years, more than 2 or 3.

            2. c
              cecilia Aug 28, 2007 07:36 AM

              I agree with ccbweb. There is absolutely no need to buy any sets. I find that I always end up using the following: 10-inch skillet, sauce pan, 4 quart pot, baking dish, baking sheet. You can find all those at Marshalls or TJMaxx. I also have a tiny nonstick pan to cook eggs (6-inch?).

              As you cook more, you can start upgrading. I started keeping a list of what I want to upgrade and I ask for them at Christmas time.

              1. ccbweb Aug 28, 2007 07:12 AM

                The thread on the Bittman piece has some good ideas, as does the recent "first thing to purchase" thread on this board: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43402...

                Basically, stay away from sets and buy individual pans. For one person, a 12 inch skillet, a 4 quart pot and a dutch oven would get you started for just about anything. At a kitchen supply store, you could probably do the first two for $50 or $60. The dutch oven is worth spending some money on, but hunting around at Marshall's ot TJMaxx or similar discount stores is a great way to save on pieces like that. You'll also need two or three, maybe four knives (chef's or santoku, paring knife and a utility knife, I'd recommend serrated for that....and a bread knife if you eat enough bread from its whole state to warrant that). Beyond that, a cutting board, some mixing bowls, a whisk, tongs and wooden spoons and you should be about good to start. Shouldn't cost more than $200-$300 depending on where you shop and how carefully.

                Since you're learning, it might be best to buy really few things and see what you end up needing.

                1. weinstein5 Aug 28, 2007 03:51 AM

                  Mark Bittman did an article on equiping a kitchen for $200 - here is alink to discussion about it - the srticle is archived on the NY Times site - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/399810

                  If you are just looking for a set I would recommend the annodized set from Costco - http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.... - recommended by COnsumer Reports - I bought and just love it -

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