Friday, April 27, 2007

Gear for your kitchen

As a passionate home cook with the opportunity to stock my kitchen with everything I have ever wanted, I struggled with what to actually put on my wedding registry. I didn't want a bunch of stuff laying around my smallish San Francisco kitchen that would get infrequent use. And of the things that did get frequent use I, perhaps naively, want them to last forever. Not surprisingly, Bloomingdales and Crate and Barrel want you to register for everything under the sun.

So for this endeavour I used three resources.

One, was a New York Times, Food section article about what to actually register for and how much of each item you will want. The how much is important as you needs now are not what they are going to be in the future. I survived with four plates in my tiny Manhattan apartment just fine. But then again, more than four people could not come over for dinner at one time. You have to look at this list and cater it to your needs. I ended up registering for 16 plates, instead of the recommended 12, as I love hosting dinner parties.

Two, I used The New Best Recipe (by the Editors of Cooks Illustrated) cookbook, which periodically recommends their favorite brands for pots, pans and knifes.

Third, I also heavily relied upon a book introduced to me by my friend's boyfriend entitled, "Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen." It is amazing. While personally, I think Alton's show on Food Network, Good Eats, is incredibly annoying and slightly childish, I like his scientific approach to cooking. Sometimes I tolerate all the nonsense just to learn. He did teach me how to make the best scrambled eggs you will ever eat. (Low heat, patience and pull them off the stove top before they are done as they keep cooking until they get on the table.) He doesn't just show you How but Why and this book is just the same.

This book explains Alton's kitchen tool essentials and their frequency of use. He also shares his favorites of each kitchen product and his favorites are definitely not the most expensive ones out there. He also explains the pros and cons of different materials. The book covers the spectrum of everything you would consider buying for your kitchen. My husband especially liked the chapter on knives. He wanted to what knives were used for what purpose and it was easier to show him the book rather than try to stumble through the tutorial myself.

For anyone who is getting married and likes to cook or for anyone at all who wants to know what kitchen gears products are the best and if they are worth buying at all, this book is an invaluable resource. I plan to use this book anytime I am considering making a kitchen gear purchase.

That's it. I must go retrieve my seasoned cast iron skillet from the oven. (I now know how to season a cast iron skillet thanks to this book!)

No comments: