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

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. :)

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  1. 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 -

    1. 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. 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. 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

            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. 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

              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. 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

                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

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