Looking for good cookware
I'm going to be finally moving out on my own and I need to get my own cookware and appliances.
I was wondering what are good yet inexpensive brands to get and if there are any appliances I should get that I may not think I need but could really come in handy.
Tramontina (available at Walmart) and Cuisinart both make great tri ply cookware at a very reasonable price.
Try a Google search or search Amazon's lists for Cook's Illustrated's list of necessary cookware.
Go to TJ Maxx. They frequently have very good cookware. I would not recommend buying a set unless you know you are going to be using all of the pans in it. The same with knives, buy what you need and will use.
You should have a medium sized nonstick skillet, it is essential, a couple of whisks, colander, mesh strainer, measuring spoons and cups. Look for the measuring items- cups&spoons that are in a set and have standard measurements and odd sized 2/3 C 3/4, 1 1/2 teaspoons etc. A can opener (manual) wooden spoons and forks for cooking with, vegetable peelers, silicone spatulas in different sizes, cutting boards, turning spatulas. An electric mixer is a good investment. Cuisinart is making a hand held mixer that is powerful enough to bread dough and cookie dough. It comes with dough hooks, beaters and a whisk. Thermometers, a probe style is pretty versatile. I use mine not only for roasting but when frying and when I am cooking something like a custard and need to keep an eye on the temp. Pot holders, potato masher-look for one with a grid instead of the wavy kind, mixing bowls.
I'm sure I can think of more, but what you need to do is buy the basics. Then make notes of what you find that are missing and need. I am sure others will chime in, enjoy your new home and get cooking!
A blender does a lot beside mix drinks. Consider a toaster oven as well. It will do double duty making toast as well as work as an oven
Invest in one decent chef's knife around 8". Probably the most important item you will buy.
Since Dear Daughter and boyfrind are outfitting a house, I have put a lot of thought into this over the last 6 months.
White cotton dishtowels. They are great at cleaning messes, drying hands, draining curds and yogurt, getting hot pans out of the oven, and you can even dry dishes with them.
3 sharp knives. 4 in paring, 6 in utility, 8 in chefs. These get at least 80% of the work done in my kitchen.
Tramontina from Brazil gives best value for the money. Cooking with quality is much more fun than the cheaper junk. But my starter set was a mix of All-Clad and cheap junk. Junk was tossed in less than two years.
Non-stick 12 in fry pan.
A huge wok with lid is remarkably versatile.
I use a 2 liter beer stien to hold a large and small whisk, spatulas, cooking chop sticks, short and long tongs, etc.
Measuring ladles and spoons.
A wood and solid plastic cutting boards. Get them larger than you think.
The highest wattage hand mixer, blender, and microwave you can afford. The blender should crush ice without a problem.
Where you live and what you cook will influence what is a requirement for your kitchen. A potato ricer, pasta maker, or rice cooker could be essential based on which starch is a regular on your plate. Since I eat lots of fish, a filet knife and Kyoto style sushi knife is a must.
Take your time and have fun.
I agree with others that a cookware set is generally not the best option. For what I cook, I mostly use 3 skillets (2 carbon steel, one stainless-clad aluminum), a stockpot, a pasta pentola, a 3 qt saucepan (mostly for rice and pasta sauce). Once in while I use my small saucier (1.5 qt) and my crepe pan and my other copious pans. Your needs are almost certainly different.
If you shop carefully, the de Buyer "Carbone Plus" pans can be had for very reasonable, and are IMO the best choices for skillet, crepe pan, and high-sided skillet. Search this forum for "Carbone Plus" and "Force Blue" for good sources (and maintenance instructions). I'd suggest one high sided "country fry pan" and one low sided skillet.
For a steamer / pasta pentola, we are pretty happy with our cheap Ikea. It can double as a small stockpot in a pinch.
I use my crock pot all the time...meat braises, slow cooked beans, winter soups. I have a friend who makes all her stock in one.
I also love my Cuisinart spice grinder. Lets me buy whole spices (which stay much fresher than ground), and is good for pureeing small amounts of food. Disassembles and all the pieces go right in the dishwasher.
Go to some of the Salvation Army thrift stores and see what they have. Don't spend much money until you are sure of what you want and what works and doesn't work for you.
If you don't think you need something, you probably don't.
I would encourage you to get a few really good pieces, rather than cheaping out with a big mediocre set. Look for used if you need to save money. Here are basics: A big knife. A paring knife (rec Victorinox for both).A big pot (rec enameled cast iron). A saucepan, 3 or 4 qt. A frying pan (rec plain cast iron). If you like eggs, a dedicated egg pan (rec cheap non-stick from a restaurant supply house---it will wear out, so you want it cheap enough to replace without much pain). A cutting board. A microplane is nice, so is a colander if you like pasta. You don't really *need* any electrical appliances.
+1 mwhitmore. I've seen a lot of nice recommendations here, but for a single starting from scratch, I prefer your scaled-back bare basics. Other items can be added as needed.
One thing no one recommended yet is a coffee pot. If OP is a coffee drinker, that's a must. Otherwise, not needed at all.
It really depends on what you mean by "good" cookware. There are definitely bad cookware, but good cookware depends on your priority.
A safe inexpensive set is probably the Tramontina stainless steel cladded cookare from Walmart.
I also agree with others that you may want to buy cookware one piece at a time.