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Oct 4, 2013 06:27 PM

Kitchenware Suggestions for a College Student, Plus Extra Question


I am a college student in the Alhambra area. Right now, I got some money that can go toward kitchenware, but I'm having a hard time choosing what would be the best investment.

I am torn between a pizza stone, because I occasionally bake my own bread and pizzas (still working on making them good, but people say they like it).

A stockpot, because winter is coming and sometimes I want soup, the homemade kind instead of the canned kind. Also, I really want to be able to make my own pho ga (chicken pho) and some pastas like ravioli (my frying pan is big but not that good for boiling things).

A food processor, although this is solely because I have taken an interest in cooking Indian food at home, and many recipes I have seen usually need a tarka, the base of the meal which is blended vegetables like onions, ginger and garlic, sometimes tomatoes in order to create a sauce. Also, while I have tried the recipes that say to use a food processor to chop them into tiny pieces or a sauce, I always get too impatient throughout the chopping and just settle for the slightly small bite-sized pieces (it kinda works but it is not a sauce).

I am, at this point, leaning towards the stockpot (it seems whichever I leaning towards changes through time...I mostly alternate from really wanting a pizza stone or stockpot)

Also, what is a good sized, but affordable stockpot to invest in? From what I've seen, if I want to make pho ga, I need to be able to fit the corpse of a chicken and their neck into the pot. Also, is a clear lid really a plus? While I do like to be able to check on things without lifting the lid, making the heat escape, I do notice that the steam and condensation will block the view of the food anyway.

Also a slight question on roommates: Is it alright, even though you mostly just met, to ask a roommate to occasionally be a test-taster of sorts? I like to keep the recipes that more than one person likes, and to do that, I need a person or two other than me.

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  1. I'm sure this will get moved to another board, but i would nix the pizza stone for sure. Get a pizza screen or 2 instead, which will be cheap, easier to store, and works better. Pizza stones are completely overrated and unnecessary, not to mention expensive to purchase and to use because they require a long pre-heat period. You can just put the pizza dough directly on a pizza screen, top to your heart's content and pop the whole thing in the oven - no worrying about the big TRANSFER from peel to stone which spells disaster or at the very least unnecessary stress for the casual home cook.

    1. I bought a nice pizza stone at Tuesday Morning (years ago) for about $15 I think. Stockpots are more useful and versatile for making multi dishes and enough for freezing leftovers. Check the discount stores or even Marshalls. There's also a restaurant supply store just down the road from you in Monterey Park

      Action Sales
      415 S Atlantic Blvd
      Monterey Park, CA 91754

      As to your roommates. If you're a cook who likes to experiment, you'll easily have some victims, I mean tasters, who will appreciate someone who can cook something other than popping open a can or turning on the microwave.

      Clear lids are useless. Get one of those multi sized lids that can fit any pot. If you're steaming and lift the lid, the steam will escape, but the heat will quickly rise back up when you place the lid back on.

      1 Reply
      1. re: granadafan

        Thanks for the suggestions all, I am going to take a look at that Action Sales store, as Target and Amazon seem to be the only alternatives. Do you know if they have spice grinders? Or something to powder whole spices like peppercorns?

        And lol on the victims, when I was home for the summer, my 'victims' were my family, but they seemed to like some of the stuff I made.

        Also another question, what is a good beer to drink and cook with? I'll be 21 soon so I can finally get some and I want to try some fish n' chips from home. I've noticed that 7-11 seems to stock them by single bottles so they will be cheaper than getting a whole box (not sure what one does if they get a box of beer they only intend to use half of, but then find out they don't like the beer...who do you give that too?)

        Also, where can I get, close to the Alhambra area (although I can take Metro) some affordable fish for fish n' chips (hopefully the same kind the British use)...I think I've read that they use fish like cod, haddock, etc.

      2. Hey Rinchan20,
        That's quite a list! For Indian food, we use a small nonstick skillet for tarka and a cuisinart mini prep for sauces.

        I think Hot Red Bus is in Alhambra and the reviews of their fish & chips have been good. I haven't been able to make the trek out there yet.

        For pans, I would check out what's available at Homegoods/ Marshall's/TJ Maxx. You should be able to find a stock pot & a pan you can use to make Indian food.

        Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kalivs

          YEah, I agree. Get some semi cheapo pots. When you make your money later, you can get the good stuff. You'll burn a few dishes along the way experimenting, so it's better to do it in the non-expensive gear.

          We could have a whole discussion on beer and cooking with it. It depends on what kind of beer you prefer. I love beer, but not so much cooking with it. Wine makes better sauces.