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More than any other non-utensil you use in the kitchen, nothing gets more use than your cookware. Although there are many different configurations, a good set of cookware should contain two different-sized saucepans (with lids), two or three different-sized skillets, a deep saucier pan for deep frying and a Dutch oven or stock pot. Lids for these pans may be interchangeable as many of them are the same diameter as each other.
The material that makes up the cookware is just as important as how many pieces you have.
- Stainless steel is very versatile and reliable as it can take high heat, easily going from the stove to the oven, and cleans up somewhat easily, although it requires cooking with some form of fat, such as oil or butter, to prevent food from sticking.
- Nonstick pans are ideal for those who are concerned about cleanup, but some of these pans are not suitable for oven use, and you must only use wooden or silicone utensils with them to prevent damaging the nonstick coating.
- Tri-ply pans that have a copper core encased between two layers of stainless steel, known as clad, are ideal cookware as these heat food more evenly.
- Other options available include aluminum, ceramic, copper and hard-anodized.
Other cookware items you may want to have on hand include cast-iron pans or carbon steel pans. These pans, after being seasoned, have a natural nonstick ability to them. Additional items to consider include:
- Fry pans are the perfect piece for any kitchen and universal in nature.
- Grill pans are ideal for those who cook meats like steak indoors and want to have grill marks on their food.
- Double boilers makes it possible to create delicate sauces like Hollandaise sauce or temper items like chocolate without burning them.
- Large stock pots makes it easy to boil long pasta or seafood like whole lobster.
- Wok useful for cooking over flame at high temperatures, such as when stir-frying vegetables and meat.
- Roasting pans ideal for use in the oven to make large roast or fowl like a turkey.