What Is the Best Cookware to Purchase?

What is the best cookware is a BIG question. It depends on what you are going to cook and the dollar amount you can afford to spend.

good-cookwareWhen choosing you cookware, you must understand what materials are used to manufacture the cookware. It is important to really think about what you are going to cook. The most common choices for cookware are Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Copper, or Cast Iron. Picking out the best cookware depends on your skill level in the kitchen and your budget.

Stainless Steel pots and pans are made of an alloy of metals which includes carbon, chromium and steel. Stainless Steel pots and pans are one of the best cookware choice. They provide great conductivity of heat, durability, and are reasonably priced. Of course there is high end priced and lower end priced Stainless Steel cookware out there. Most Stainless Steel cookware sets are reasonably priced and can be used every day and typically seen in most homes. With quality Stainless Steel pans, you will not have to worry about scratching, or your food tasting like metal. Lesser expensive Stainless Steel cookware can leave a metal taste.

Aluminum Cookware is famous for its excellent heat conductivity. Aluminum is a great choice if you are looking for even cooking heat. If cost is an issue, then consider Aluminum Cookware. It is inexpensive and is a soft metal, so it won’t last forever, and it can scratch and dent easily. Anodized Aluminum Cookware is an excellent cookware choice because it is chemically treated, to reduce reactivity. Aluminum is a reactive metal, like Copper.

Copper Cookware is useful when you need even distribution of heat but is not useful for daily cooking. Copper Cookware looks fabulous in the beginning but scratches and loses its luster after lots of cooking. It must be maintained by regular polishing and who has time for that! Copper cookware is expensive and is not usually seen in many homes.

Cast Iron Pans offer great value for little money and has been around for hundreds of years. They work for very high temperature cooking. Once cast iron pans heat up they stay hot. Proper care of cleaning and seasoning will ensure your cast iron pans will last forever. Never soak cast iron in water. Bottom line is; if you are an experienced cook you must make the investment in high end; quality cookware, and it will cost a lot more. OR start cooking by buying yourself a 12 inch skillet and an 8 inch fry pan. Practice cooking and enjoy.

Five Important Kitchen Knives

Unless you’re some sort of Ginsu master, capable of slicing, dicing, and jullienning an entire meal together with a single blade, food prep is a whole lot easier when you use the right knife. Here are the five most essential, versatile cutting implements in a cook’s arsenal.

five knives
Cleaver

Meat cleavers are large, broad-faced knives employed to speed the dismemberment of carcasses. Its hatchet-like blade is thicker than other kitchen knives and typically constructed from softer steel. This prevents the blade from shattering or buckling—as harder, thinner blades would—under the stresses of butchering.

And like a hatchet, the blade itself is relatively blunt and doesn’t even need to be particularly sharp. Instead, its cutting force is derived from the weight of the knife head combined with the momentum of the chef’s overhand swing. There are limits to what a cleaver can do, however. While it may be great for separating baby-back ribs and chicken thighs, it probably isn’t getting through beef bones. Or, you know, doing any fine-tuning.

Best Use: Chopping through thick chunks of muscle, sinew, and bone when butchering large cuts, and and chopping force is preferred over precision.

Chef’s Knife

Originally developed to dismantle cattle carcasses without cutting through the bone, the chef’s knife has since grown into the go-to piece of all-purpose cutlery. With a roughly eight-inch blade and slightly curved edge, the chef’s knife can just as easily slice, dice, and mince vegetables as it can trim steaks and carve turkeys.

Chef’s knives typically come in either the French or German style. German chef knives (second from top, above) have a more continuous curve to their blades, while the French style has a flatter edge and more pronounced curve right at the tip. That curve helps you rock the blade back and forth when mincing; neither design is inherently superior, so which one you use is just a matter of taste.

Best Use: Just about everything.

Serrated Utility Knife

Cutting bread with an ordinary, smooth blade doesn’t work all that well. The force you have to apply to get through the tough crust tends to crush the softer bread inside and you end up tearing, rather than slicing, the piece off. Same goes for tomatoes and sandwiches on rolls. But serrated utility knives act like in-home wood saws to shear off delicate slices without mangling the innards.

The serrations of these knives act like hacksaw teeth, providing downward cutting action without needing much downward force. And since the serrations are dug into the blade, rather than stick out of it like a wood saw, the amount of horizontal force needed to rake through the food’s tough outer covering is reduced as well.

Best Use: Slicing bread, fatty meat, tomatoes, sandwiches, peaches, and anything else that has a hard crust or firm skin and squishy soft insides.

Filet Knife

You wouldn’t swat a fly with a sledgehammer, so why are you trying to de-bone a trout with a chef’s knife? For delicate meats such as fish and small poultry, a high degree of precision is needed in their preparation that only a filet knife can provide.

These knives tend to be quite long—between 6 and 11 inches—and exceedingly narrow with a flexible blade. This allows the knife to easily curve under salmon skin, or remove the silver skin on beef tenderloins.

Best Use: Trimming fat from cuts of meat, de-boning small animals.

Paring Knife

Just as the filet knife is used for delicate meat work, a paring knife does the same for fruit and vegetables. While they may look like miniature chef’s knives, they perform very different functions. The paring knife’s light and compact blade makes it ideal for precision work—peeling apples, slicing vegetables for salad, de-seeding bell peppers, de-veining shrimp, to name a few.

Best Use: Detail work, preparing fruit, vegetables, and seafood.

With these five blades in your knife block (or, in the cleaver’s case, near it), you should be able to tackle just about any recipe regardless of its exotic ingredients. Just make sure to keep your knives properly sharpened.

Read more at gizmodo.com