Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Food Preps

Outfitting the Kitchen

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David in MN:
This is a thread I have meant to start for a while. It will be my method to outfitting your kitchen to be able to cook like a professional at home. I'll break it into a few segments:

1) Cookware

2) Hand Tools

3) Bake ware

4) MACHINES (my favorite)

5) Extras

The goal is to fit a kitchen with the ultimate tools and no waste. I won't forgive a tool that does only one thing. We want the ultimate in utility with little waste. Without further ado...

David in MN:
1) Cookware

You need:

2 Cast iron pans. A 10" and a 12" (more on this later)

1 large stainless steel pan

1 Dutch oven

1 Stock pot

2 Sauce pans, One small one medium.

That's it. That's all you need. No non-stick, the cast iron works better. Nothing fancy like a panini press because we can smush 2 hot cast iron pans together and achieve the same result. You do need one stainless steel pan to cook acidic sauces that will break down the cast iron.

Recommendations:

All cast iron works. Buy cheap. My Lodge is heavier and slower to heat than my Griswold but both do about the same thing. Some corn bread recipes fit better in one than the other and sometimes it's nice to have the option to crowd a pan or have room to breathe. I do heat both and use them as a panini press. I do flip the Lodge (larger) and use it as a pizza stone. These 2 pans will do 75% of your cooking and rightly so.

For a large stainless steel pan I've never fallen in love. I have a Le Creuset but it's mighty soft (needs polymer tools) and is a pain to get all the stains out. I beat it up but I'm not particularly in love with it. All the cooks I know struggle here.

For the Dutch oven, it's Le Creuset all the way. This machine gun covered in enamel will power through any task. Make soup, stew, sauces, deep fry, roast, bake bread, etc. It's another necessary powerhouse. You won't regret it. Buy once cry once.

As to stock pots and sauce pots... I buy stainless steel on sale. I believe mine are Calphalon. These are tools that don't really get abused so going cheap here actually makes sense. These are mostly for making sauces or for boiling stock or pasta. Not heavy use. Anything that would be abusive here belongs in the Dutch oven.

That's it. 7 pieces of cookware to make a semi-pro kitchen. I have left out specialty things you might love like a crepe pan or Moroccan tagine. Well, the specialty stuff is on you. But if you've got a cupboard full of pots and non-stick pans you haven't used this decade, dump them. I did and it felt great. Besides, we need the space for the toys to come.

Next up, hand tools. I welcome feedback!

Morning Sunshine:
I have to say that I mostly agree with you, David, but I need twice as many cast iron pans cuz I have 7 people in my house.  And we LOVE LOVE LOVE our 6" griswold (we have 3 and they are dirty most days!)

I have been wondering about getting a Le Creuset, but am unsure if I actually need it...

fritz_monroe:
Le Creuset are really nice, but wow they are expensive.

David in MN:

--- Quote from: Morning Sunshine on January 10, 2018, 08:20:26 PM ---I have to say that I mostly agree with you, David, but I need twice as many cast iron pans cuz I have 7 people in my house.  And we LOVE LOVE LOVE our 6" griswold (we have 3 and they are dirty most days!)

I have been wondering about getting a Le Creuset, but am unsure if I actually need it...

--- End quote ---

Yup, larger households will have to multiply. I could see some fun uses for smaller cast iron with a big family. What jumps to my mind is a potato bar dinner (I love but my wife hates) where each kid gets a cast iron pan and potato. Fill it up and put it under the broiler. Awesome melty cheese with bacon and burnt broccoli on a potato... sooo good.

I can't tell you if a Le Creuset is right for you (though they do make some large sizes). But it is the weapon of choice for keeping something at a simmer without watching due to its high mass and it will handle the toughest traditional Italian ragu. It's a workhorse for a reason. I'm a big fan of old school stuff like pot roast and corned beef. The Le Creuset was made for it. Monday I made red beans and rice. Again, a sticky dish with lots of scraping after a long simmer. Ideal. I *think* my wife bought me mine for a birthday maybe 9 years ago and it's still pristine. There's not many pots you heat up, fry a sausage on, and then dump tomatoes in without ruining. This does it. I'd give it a long look.

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