Pots, Pans & Kitchen Equipment

Cooking at home requires preparation equipment. Which are your most used kitchen items? If you were equipping a kitchen, what would be the first things you’d get?

One of the most used items in our kitchen is a 7" chefs knife. I don’t think a day goes by that it isn’t taken out of the drawer and used.

Of course, the coffee maker is in daily use, although that has switched from a stainless steel French press (when we lived off grid with a fairly small photovoltaic system) to the current Cuisinart from a yard sale. We’re still using photovoltaic power, but now it’s a much bigger grid tied system so we don’t monitor electric usage as closely as before. The coffee maker has a special filter cone so it doesn’t need paper filters. Makes a great cup of coffee and can even be set to make it to be ready when we wake up.

There’s a microwave now, too, that’s useful for reheating things and even though I don’t like them as well as oven baked potatoes, it does cook potatoes with a lot less resource use than the oven. Melts cheese on toast pretty well, too. That gets probably daily use.

The pots and pans seem to pretty much be cast iron and the old copper bottom Revereware. I’ve been using some of it for over four decades, so it’s pretty durable. Saves ever so much when things only have to be bought once, saves even more when they’re from a yard sale or thrift shop. The better ones are from Griswold and other vintage cast iron which seems to be a lot smoother and doesn’t weigh as much as the modern stuff. They get used almost every day, but less in summer when sometimes we will just have cold sandwiches and salads instead of hot meals.

The Kitchenaid mixer is brilliant! I’ll probably always have one of them available. This is an old one, has ‘Hobart’ on the manufacturer’s name plate but still works great. It gets used for making bread several times a week, mayonnaise occasionally, whipped potatoest, makes noodles with the noodle maker attachment, has the meat grinder attachment as well as the sausage stuffer. There’s a food chopper attachment, but don’t use that much since we have the ‘Hollywood Salad Maker’.

The Hollywood Salad Maker is some sort of vintage twirling cones of death (although it doesn’t seem to eat fingers somehow) salad chopper. It’s grate (pun intended) for slicing wavy cucumber slices for pickles or wavy carrots for festive salads. Has five different cones for different slicing. I has pretty much the same slicing options as the Kitchen Aid food chopper, but is a lot easier to clean.

The favorite spatula is an all metal industrial-ish looking one with a long blade that is very thin and very springy. Bought it back in the eighties from a small cookware shop in Hilo which is gone now. The blade has been re-riveted onto the handle twice, probably could do it again sometime soon. That blade is perfect for a spatula and I’ve not found anything similar since then.

So what kitchen equipment do you treasure? What would be the first things you’d get for your kitchen if you were stocking a brand new kitchen?

A good cutting board is a must if you work in a kitchen a lot! And yes, you need good knives too, both serrated and straight-edged. I am on the look-out for stainless steel cookware: I’ve had several sets with nonstick finishes, and those pans never could hold up to even 6 months of normal use without scratching, pitting, and peeling.

Sometimes you can get the old copper bottomed Revere ware at thrift shops, but it’s getting harder to find. Of the new stainless steel cookware, I’ve been happy with the few Tramontina ones we’ve used. Haven’t a clue where it’s sold, we get almost everything from yard sales.