The Basics Of Pots And Pans

Author: Mike Yates

The basics of pots and pans

Cooking can be an anxiety-ridden affair for many. Gathering satisfying recipes, learning culinary techniques and finding the proper equipment are enough to dissuade any new cook from the whole enterprise. It is the last of these that typically receives the least attention, but can also have the largest impact on food preparation. Rather than going in blindly, a little research and a few tips can make starting a cookware collection easy.

Perhaps the most basic elements of necessary cookware are pots and pans. Used in nearly every recipe, these pieces of equipment are crucial. Knowing what to look for can help you get on your way to excellent cooking.

The basics
There are a few pots and pans that every aspiring chef needs. Real Simple narrows it down to three: stockpot, saucepan and saute pan. When considering each, it is important to consider what you will be using it for and what material and features suit your use best.

For cooking pasta, blanching vegetables and making soups, a stockpot is crucial. This won't necessarily incur the same damage as the other, so it doesn't need to be as sturdy. Aluminum with a protective coating works well and isn't too expensive. Because you'll be lifting it frequently, solid, large handles are a must.

A saucepan is good for smaller meals and components of a dish such as sauce and rice. If you're looking to splurge, copper offers you the best heat conduction and is quite attractive. However, it is somewhat hard to maintain and can react with acidic foods. Durable, unreactive and warp-resistant, stainless steel is a good alternative.

Saute pan
Perhaps the most versatile piece of equipment in the kitchen, a saute pan is great for everything from eggs and meat to sandwiches and stirfrys. If you only splurge on one piece of cookware, make it this. Find one with nonstick coating and a heat proof handle. If you're a traditionalist, using a cast iron version will add flavor to your dishes and last pretty much forever.

In Brief

  • Perhaps the most basic elements of necessary cookware are pots and pans.

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